Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Should bowling become an official WIAA sport?

Back in the days when our girls' gym class would troop down the State Street a couple of blocks to the Plaza Alleys (above the Plaza Tavern on Henry Street) to go bowling, it never occured to me that bowling might become an official WIAA (Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletics Association) sport. After all, how many schools had a bowling alley right in their neighborhood?

But times have changed. Yesterday, Dennis Semrau reported in The Capital Times on the efforts of some Madison high school students to make bowling a WIAA sponsored sport, joining 18 other states that already have interscholastic bowling teams for boys and girls. The students have been unsuccessful thus far. Already facing budget cuts that may force the elimination of extracurricular activities, school officials aren't eager to consider a new sport.

Semrau quotes WIAA executive director Doug Chickering's challenge to the students: "As a staff, as a board, we're ready to begin that kind of sponsorship if the schools ask for it. Bowling is in your hands."

But wait! There's an interesting coda to this story -- a Central connection. While searching for some links, I discovered that, in 1930, history was made in the Plaza bowling alley. On February 12, 1930 Jennie Hoverson Kelleher became the first women to bowl 300 in sanctioned competition. According to a 2002 Doug Moe column about this historic first, Kelleher's daughter, Beverly Kelleher Fortune, graduated from Madison Central High School in 1951. Moe's column may have been prompted by a 2002 Wisconsin Public Television "Wisconsin Stories" episode titled "Let's Go Bowl!" which featured a segment about Kelleher's accomplishment. You can watch that segment on your computer if you have RealPlayer (which can be downloaded from the WPT site).

7 comments:

Marlene said...

I remember our Jr. year and how I hated gym class. I was pretty excited to start the bowling segment. Wouldn't you know... I ended up having my appendix out and had to miss the WHOLE unit.I still had to walk down to the alley, which just about killed me, but could not bowl. I was so ticked off....

nancy ellis said...

Not bowling BUT GYM CLASS @ the YSWIMMING
i was petrified of the water
Joann Walker aka Miss Walker told me "Ellis, you've had your period longer than any woman in captivity. Now get in the water and SWIM!!"
Still afraid...she threw me in..she had to pullout the stick and I couldn't hold on...
Miss Walker had to jump in and save me!

D Strand said...

Miss Walker must have been taking lessons from The Boomer, but even The Boomer wouldn't throw you in the water!

Marlene said...

God Nancy...I totally blocked out the swimming at the "Y". That was torture. I too was scared to death. She didn't throw me in, but made me try to swim and I never moved. They had to give me the pole as well. I wish you would have been in my swim class and maybe I wouldn't have felt so inadequate. I can't swim to this day. She probably scarred us for life :)

D Strand said...

Nancy and Marlene,
Growing up in Madison and not being able to swim is sad. I think my fondest memories of Madison are going from beach to beach in the summer on my metallic green Schwinn Corvette. BB Clarke, Tenney Park, Conklin (now James Madison Park), Olbrich, and Brearly were awsome!
The beachware was interesting, too. When I lived in Boston (for ten years) you had drive 80 miles through the worst traffic in the country on Cape Cod to go swimming and in Baltimore (the last ten years) you have to drive 90 miles to Olcean City. No, we didn't appreciate how good we had it!!

Marlene said...

Not being able to swim didn't stop me from going to the beach. I spent hours and hours at Vilas, walking the beach and lying in the sun. We would even go down their during exam week. I totally blistered my Jr. year. I remember Paul Olson calling me "Bubbles" because of it!! Good times...Good times :)

D Strand said...

Yes, I forgot about Vilas in my comment, but being an Eastsider, I never really swam there. I did play baseball there though in the Junior League in the summer of 61, I belive, for WISM. We all thought that we had the coolest sponsor!