Most people get excited for the turkey around Thanksgiving, but participants in the weekly Wilkinson Center bowling leagues get excited for turkey all year round.
In bowl-speak, three consecutive strikes equals a turkey, and if students bowl one they can buy themselves a special shirt at the bowling alley. But brag-worthy t-shirts aren’t the only things keeping students coming back week after week, semester after semester.
League bowler and junior Nick Ustach said he likes to bowl because it’s a release.
“It’s kind of relaxing,” Ustach said. “With all of the other intramurals, I feel like it’s very stressful, but bowling is just chill. It’s fun to hang out with your friends.”
Michael Goodman, the bowling league coordinator, said much the same thing.
“It’s a pride thing if you win, but it’s also a good opportunity to meet lots of people,” Goodman said. “Because only one person bowls at a time, there’s a lot of time to sit down and chat, share a cupcake or cookies or whatever. People do that a lot — socialize.”
This is Goodman’s first semester as the league coordinator, and with leagues three nights a week and tournaments to organize, one might say he lives at the bowling alley.
Goodman is no stranger to the sport. He has been bowling since high school, when he said he randomly joined the bowling team and learned to bowl a good game from his coach, who was a professional.
“I have the highest score of this bowling alley … ever — 299,” Goodman said.
The bowling alley holds league nights every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Tuesday is the most competitive day; on that night, bowlers compete in teams of four with no handicaps. Bowlers of more varied skill sets play with handicaps on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
League participants come from varied bowling backgrounds, but they are united every week by a love of the game. Kristin Edwards, a junior from Oregon majoring in finance, bowls all three nights. She started out on just one team, but after subbing enough times on other nights, she became a permanent fixture on all three nights.
She said she started out bowling with a boyfriend when they saw one-dollar bowling at an alley. From there she was hooked.
“He went on a mission, and I kept bowling,” Edwards said.
Junior advertising student Matty Gay had a similarly coincidental story for how he became a bowler. He and a friend signed up for the league their freshman year.
“We actually weren’t good at the beginning of the year at all, and then we ended up winning the championship by one pin,” he said. “It was like 569 to 570, which is lucky. So ever since then we’ve been addicted to bowling, and we’re both in a bowling class right now. It’s one of those random things that we love to do.”
So while some cook turkeys once a year in November, bowlers in the WIlk earn turkeys every week.