Duckpin camaraderie returns

Published 9:06 pm Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Victory Lanes Bowling Center in Portsmouth was alive on Tuesday with the clatter of falling duckpins and the chatter of familiar company.

The Suffolk Mixed Duckpin Bowling League was kicking off its 2014-15 season, and opening night was a reminder that the league is about more than just bowling.

Shane Cartner of Churchland bowls as other players in the Suffolk Mixed Duckpin Bowling League look on at the Victory Lanes Bowling Center in Portsmouth on Tuesday night.

Shane Cartner of Churchland bowls as other players in the Suffolk Mixed Duckpin Bowling League look on at the Victory Lanes Bowling Center in Portsmouth on Tuesday night.

“I think everybody is excited,” said Faye Sobel of Suffolk. “It took a while to get started this evening because we’re catching up on summer activities.”

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The league is comprised of many regulars who had not seen each other since last season concluded near the beginning of June.

“I missed it during the summer,” said Carolyn Ricks of Suffolk. “Good fellowship.”

Brenda Gregory of Deep Creek, too, was glad to get back into the Tuesday night routine.

“It just becomes a part of your life,” she said.

She also noted it serves as a bit of an escape for her, since she had been working with 80 preschoolers at Deep Creek Baptist Church earlier that day, part of her five-day-a-week responsibilities in the mornings and early afternoons.

Some players come in a little rusty because they dedicated their time to other things in June, July and August.

“I take a break in the summer because I like to spend time with my grandson when he’s not in school,” Ricks said.

Faye Askew of Suffolk has played for 46 years and keeps herself busy seven months out of the year by competing with a traveling team called the Virginia Ladies All-Stars. The group is sanctioned by the Virginia Duckpin Association, of which she is the executive secretary this year.

But even amidst all the other duckpin-related events she is involved with, she said, “I look forward to the first Tuesday night of September,” signaling the beginning of the Suffolk league.

Ronald Sobel of Suffolk noted almost all the regulars are back, but there are no new participants this year.

Ricks, the league’s secretary, said there are currently only 25 members, and the search is on for more.

“We’d like to have 30 so we can have 10 teams,” she said.

The way the league currently arrives at a total of 10 teams is by having a “blind” team, which exists only on paper, with its three “players” automatically generating scores of 90 apiece.

Ricks said the league would at the very least like to add two players to complete the nine teams populated by actual people.

Citing why potential players should come out, Ricks said, “I would say the fellowship and the exercise would be the main thing(s).”

For more information or to join the league, contact Carolyn Ricks at 646-9328.