Summer-reading bowling party goes awry

By Max Fontaine and Brock Stafford | Hard news sports team

Action just prior to verbal fisticuffs. (Brock Stafford / 4th-beer photography)
Action just prior to verbal melee. (Brock Stafford / 4th-beer photography)

A bowling party for students who excelled in a summer reading program at Bass Lake Public/Private Library hit a snag Saturday.

The bowling-and-pizza celebration at Bowling Alley Lanes, involving 12 students ages 8-12 and their teacher/chaperones, was interrupted when a rescheduled adult summer recreation league match caused a conflict on lanes 6, 7 and 8.

Students arrived at noon to begin eating and playing, a source said. Adult-athletes on the summer-league teams,  Lebowski & Harrelson (14-2) vs. Schish Chrenkel (13-3), “barged in” at 1 p.m. and demanded the space.

“This is an officially sanctioned event,” L&H team captain Goodman Jeffers told the group. “We have matching shirts, you don’t, so move it aside, kiddos.”

“We were here first!” shouted several youth in unison.

At one point, league bowlers told one boy to "grow a pair." (Cameron Cameraphone / Special to the Media)
At one point, league bowlers told one boy to “grow a pair.” (Cameron Cameraphone / Special to the Media)

The squabble escalated, although no physical contact was involved, witnesses said. A few children quoted Shakespeare and R.L. Stine, or both simultaneously.

Percy Smith, shoe-rental attendant at Bowling Alley Lanes, watched the scene with amusement, doing little to quell the conflict.

“Isn’t it somethin’?” Smith said. “As arguments go, this is about a size 8. I’ve seen lots worse.”

Bass Lake Authority Police Department eventually was called to help restore order, but the issue was mostly resolved prior to arrival of officers, who cited two students for failure to yield, then decided to stay and “bowl a couple lines, then go back to patrolling the streets,” according to police.

Schisch Chrenkel won the rescheduled event, forcing a playoff to determine the league champion. That event is set to take place Aug. 22, during a youth group bowling summit organized by St. Methodist Catholic Church.

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