Usually in this weekly column, I write about people who are putting up the big scores week after week on the local bowling front.
This week I decided to get off the beaten path a little bit and write about someone who is not accustomed to big scores, but she certainly knows the game of bowling.
Her name is Joan Wiczek. She bowls Monday night at Winona Bowl, Tuesday afternoon at Westgate Bowl, Wednesday night at Westgate, and Friday mornings in the Southeast Minnesota Senior Traveling League. And just to boot, she also subs on Wednesday afternoon and Friday evening at Westgate, and bowled in a summer league at Winona Bowl.
One important fact I forgot to tell you about Wiczek - she's 86 years old.
"I love to bowl and I hate to think of giving it up," Wiczek said. "So I plug along. I really don't have any aches and pains. I have a problem with one of my legs. If we're bowling 10 people on two lanes it's OK. I can sit and rest.
"I like to get out of my house. I don't work. I get tired of sitting around here. I like to get out and have someone to talk to."
Wiczek got a late start at bowling by today's standards. She didn't bowl until she was 30 years old when a neighbor asked her to join her team at Hal-Rod Lanes in the Pindusters League. She bowled in that league until Mapleleaf Lanes burned down in the early 1990s.
This year she's celebrating her 56th year in the Winona Women's Bowling Association, which inducted her into its Hall of Fame in 1986.
Wiczek has never bowled a 600 series in her career. A 597 is her career high. And she doesn't think her average has ever crept much higher than 150.
"And that was a long time ago," she said. "I never really had any instruction when I started bowling. When I started, there were wooden lanes. I don't know if they ever oiled them. The girls coming up now probably had more instruction or started when they were younger."
Monday night, while bowling next to Wiczek at Winona Bowl, a couple teammates and I marveled when she tossed a 200 game to start the evening off. We marveled because it was bigger than our first games (and second"¦and third for some of us).
A couple of times I took a peak at the computer screen and noticed the speed of her ball. It was consistently between 6.4 and 6.8 miles per hour. That's a snail's pace for some of the men who threw it 16-18 miles per hour.
But it gets the job done for Wiczek, who ended the evening with a 540 series.
"I've been bowling really crazy this year," she said. "That was just luck, but it was exciting. I haven't bowled like that in years. As long as I can still go, I'll keep bowling. I would really hate to quit."
And Wiczek has a number of friends and teammates (and fans like me) that would hate to see her leave the sport she loves.
It's been quite a three-week span for Krystal Dorman. After rolling 279 games (plus a 766 series) in back-to-back weeks, Dorman went one pin better on Wednesday night in the Lamplighter League at Winona Bowl.
Dorman tossed a 280 her second game en route to her second 700 of the season - a 720 (199-280-241). The left-hander now leads the city with eight honor counts, including four scores of 670. One of them came Monday night in the Spinners League when she rolled a 672 series.
Dorman led her Dan's Dugout team to the highest women's game ever rolled in the city with a 1,280. The old record of 1,268 was held by Winona Bowl Pro Shop on Feb. 21, 2005.
No matter what alley he's been bowling at, Geoff Schewe has been shattering the pins lately. He fired a 770 honor count Monday night in the City League at Winona Bowl and came back with a 758 series the following night in the American League at Westgate.
Seth Bonow has also found his touch in the last week with scores of 764 and 723
Other 700s in the past week came from Brad Kanz (754), Paul Jandt (739), Brian Fakler (720), Nick Heilman (720), John Glowczewski (719), Drew Krings (718), Myron Weege Sr. (716), Matt Wise (713), Todd Weege (712), Steve Hawley (709), Jeff Hubbard (708) and Scott Mlynczak (706).
Gwen Fakler turned in her fifth honor count on Wednesday night with a 636 series in the Lamplighter League. Also recording 600s for the women in the past week were Julie Moldenhauer (613), Krystal Beech (607) and Diane Marley (604).