published December 7 2016 1:00 AM
ALTON - Bowling is one of those sports that can last a lifetime.
For millions of bowlers who hit the lanes every year, the sport is a source of exercise, socialization, enjoyment and fun.
The Illinois High School Association has sponsored a girls bowling state tournament series since 1973 and a boys bowling state tournament series since 2003. The growth of the game in the state, at the high school level, has been a source of pride among bowlers for some time.
“Some of the students came to Jack Holmes, the AD (at Marquette) and started talking about bowling; Jack started checking into it at Bowl Haven (Alton's bowling house) about it and it accelerated from there.”
The Marquette students and administration have been big supporters of the program, Jones felt. “It's been real good,” Jones said of the school's support of the bowling program. “We've had a lot of good support out of the school; we've got a lot of good support out of Bowl Haven.
“In the program, there's a lot of teaching going on here to get these guys t do it in the correct way.”
Bowling has come a long way in recent years. “The game's grown a ton,” Jones said. “It has fallen off a little bit as a sport, but that's what brought me into this to try to help get the kids involved in it.”
Bowling has come a long way since the 1960s when the Saturday afternoon Pro Bowlers Tour tournaments on ABC were a popular part of the winter months; the weekly tournament finals made names like Dick Weber, Don Carter, Billy Welu and Nelson Burton Jr. household names. Since those days, many changes have occurred in the game.
“The equipment's advanced, it's come around as a sport,” Jones said. “It's a game for all ages.”