Profile: Bowling team enjoys sport, camaraderie
Dated haircuts and out-of-style clothes in photographs dating back through the decades only tell part of the story for a local bowling team. It’s the team camaraderie that has shaped the lives of four local men.
For the past 23 years, bowlers Gene Camilletti and Dave Silver have headed to national championships for bowling. Camilletti has participated in state championships for the past 40 years.
On Friday morning, as part of a growing tradition among the men, the Mathers’ Bar bowling team gathered for breakfast before heading off to yet another state championship tournament. The team of Camilletti, Silver, Bob Cloer, Bill Hering, Tom Mathers and Dan Severson competed during the weekend in Greeley.
Bowling, said most on the Mathers’ team, is as much about socializing as the sport itself. The team, with ages that span from 34 to 66, recently won the status of league champions in Craig.
Silver said the championship was “poetic justice.” This year may be the be last that team bowls at Craig Lanes as plans for a new bowling alley are under way in Craig, they said.
But many on the Mathers’ team remember years of fun with the popular sport and a crowd of bowlers who would keep local lanes packed. At one point, league teams would have to wait to compete until about 9 p.m. and often finished games at midnight.
In those days, they were “young and foolish,” Camilletti said of members who frequently logged a few hours of sleep before getting off to work the next morning.
“Now we’re just foolish,” he joked.
Bowling in championships throughout the years has taken the team far and wide.
“We always have fun,” Camilletti said. “We’ve had fun in Reno;Huntsville, Ala.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Baton Rogue …”
The team plays in a handicap league, which means players compete on about an 80 percent average of everyone’s score. It’s a matter of equalizing competition.
Team members wear their signature black leather jackets with colorful team logos on the back. The team members also sport dark blue bowling shirts dotted with pictures of pinup girls, which usually win the team a pride award, Mathers said.
“Everybody just raves over them,” he said of the uniforms.
During the years, the team has been known to befriend bowlers from other teams, some of whom request to bowl on lanes next to the Craig team. Or, the Mathers team has been known to get at least a couple free drinks passed their way in bouts of post-game revelry at local bars.
Once, team members like to joke, they were put up for sale on a local radio station’s “Swap Shop.” However, nobody even made a bid, they said.
Bowling for Cloer is a “break from the monotony of everyday life.”
“As long as you can lift a bowling ball, you can bowl,” Hering said.
Although team members said a certain level of dedication is needed to commit to a bowling team, a jovial attitude is more important.
“It’s a lot about socializing — especially for our team,” Camilletti said. “When we get up to the line, it’s business. When we’re behind the line, it’s monkey business.”
Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or email@example.com
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After 30 years in its current spot in the Centennial Mall, the Big O Tires in Craig is moving on up.