Clubbin’: Bowling Edition
Written by Bwog Staff
Bwog’s Clubbin’ feature is back in action to show you some of the most unique, zany, and fascinating clubs Columbia has to offer. Bwog daily editor, and resident Strong Man, Matt Schantz, known for wearing bowling shoes as actual shoes, went renegade clubbin’ and spent a day at Harlem Lanes.
Members of the Columbia Club Bowling team don’t play to win or lose; they just play to bowl. As one member explained, “We have fun more than anything. You study all weekend and then, for an hour, you bowl.”
The club has been defined its laid-back attitude since its inception. Friends Shai Silvenn and David Weltman founded the club two years ago after discovering that among the many esoteric activities represented by Columbia Club sports, bowling was absent. “David bowled in highschool but not too seriously. I had never bowled in an organized fashion,” Shai recalls. Members pay twenty dollars in dues at the beginning of the semester and bowl for free thereafter. The club currently boasts 20 dues paying members, but weekly attendance ranges. Five showed up on the Sunday afternoon I spent with the club.
We walk from the 114th street gates through Harlem as the sun sets, arriving at Harlem Lanes twenty minutes later. A large bowling pin lit from beneath by a pink light adorns the side of our destination. Harlem Lanes on late Sunday afternoon is just as unassuming as you would guess. To our left, a twelve-year-old girl celebrates her birthday. To our right, two parents watch their children bowl. Our shirts glow under the dark lights that illuminate the room. A few laser-lights pulse on the ally-way and neon decals of lightning, bowling balls, and pins wallpaper the wall behind the allies.
We bowl two and a half games over the course of our hour-long stay. Light conversation is punctuated by high-fives whenever someone bowls a strike or a spare. Nobody minds me as I roll a frame of gutter balls. Like David and Shai, the club is made up of friends who enjoy bowling but don’t feel competitive. One member mentions bowling three games a day during a semester off. “You took a semester off to bowl?” I ask. She laughs and replies, “No, I just like bowling.”
Most members bowled scores in the low 100s. Asked if anyone has ever scored a perfect game and a small debate broke out. “We had a one guy who bowled a 299.” “No he bowled a 300.” “What was his name?” “He was from Kazakstan.” “No not that guy.” Members chuckle and the mystery remains unsolved. We walk back through Harlem and return to campus two hours after we had set out.
Bowling Club meets at the Amsterdam gates at 4 pm every Sunday. Anyone interested in strapping on a pair of bowling shoes and heading up to the lanes can contact the club via their facebook page or email the group [email protected]