Helen DiCarlo will celebrate her 98th birthday on Friday. She fondly remembers a different era in her favorite sport, but despite the many changes in the game over her last seven decades as a participant, she enjoys every minute of her weekly trip to the lanes.
DiCarlo and her daughter-in-law, Patricia, currently roll in the Thursday Morning Senior Mixed league, a spring/summer program at Sportsman’s Bowl. Every time Helen gets up to bowl, she gets a little help from “Patti” to line her up on the approach. Then, she focuses hard on her mark and delivers her shot with surprising dexterity from someone her age. Patti often lets Helen know which pins are left on the deck, since Helen’s eyesight isn’t that great any more, and after she gets lined up again, she concentrates on making the spare.
All the while, many of Helen’s other leaguemates are cheering for her on every shot. The whole league is almost like one big fan club.
And the feeling is mutual.
“I never saw anyone in a bowling alley that wasn’t nice,” DiCarlo said. “I like bowling so much because it gets me out of the house and around people. I like to be around people because I’m a people person.”
The Schenectady native has been bowling most of her life, and it’s been mostly for fun. The scores don’t mean that much to her any more, but she still keeps track.
“This year, I haven’t done much in this league, but last year, I had a 141 once,” DiCarlo said. “It’s not the score so much. It’s getting out of the house and getting to be with people. I meet new people all the time.”
The week I was there to interview her, Helen rolled games of 109, 73 and 90 for a 272 triple. She’s averaging 77 in the first two weeks, and typically knocks down seven or eight pins on her first toss.
“I think my highest game was a 201. I don’t remember what my high triple was,” she said. “I started to bowl many, many years ago, when women still wore dresses and skirts. Women didn’t wear pants back then. In fact, the women didn’t bowl with the men. When I was a single girl and working for Alco, I used to bowl with two other girls. One was my friend, Helen Civitelli, and the other girl’s name was Clara [most likely area standout Clara Walendziak]. We used to like to bowl together all the time.”
DiCarlo graduated from Mont Pleasant High School in 1941 and then got a job at Central Markets, which is now the Price Chopper/Market 32 chain. It was about that time that she also began bowling. She then worked for Alco for about 10 years and got married in 1950. She had the first of her two sons in 1952 and kept right on bowling. She was married for 57 years.
She said her most interesting job over the years was working for a baseball factory on Schuyler Street.
“It’s where the Post Office is now. All the ladies strung the baseballs together and they sold the baseballs right in the store,” she recalled.
She’s bowled at many different centers over the years, and many are no longer around. One such place was Taberski’s Bowling & Billiards, which was located on Broadway, near Proctors.
“I remember bowling in that place because we bowled in the basement, and it seemed kind of strange to me,” she said. Taberski’s closed down in 1968.
DiCarlo owns her own 12-pound ball and enjoys the whole experience of bowling day, including getting dressed for the occasion and then going out to eat after splattering the pins.
“I really like the fact that my daughter-in-law is now retired so she can bowl with us,” DiCarlo said. “She brings me here to bowl, we bowl together, and then my son comes over to the lanes. We have dinner and it’s sort of a family thing,” she said.
“I bowled in the 1970s when I worked for the state,” Patti DiCarlo explained. “Now, I’m retired from Schenectady County Community College for the last two years, and I started bowling with Mama. It’s a lot of fun.”
Helen, who usually bowls better after eating her Powerbar snack, doesn’t worry much about all the upgrades in the bowling balls these days, but she can’t get over the changes in bowling attire and the modern lane equipment, especially the automatic pin setters.
“Before they had automotive machines, they had boys back there to set the pins,” she said. “I remember those days very well.”
Aside from knocking down the pins, DiCarlo enjoys gardening and baking — especially pizzelles, a light Italian cookie. She is said to be an outstanding cook.
My thanks to good friends Al Hart and league secretary Laurie Laduke for giving me a heads-up on Helen’s longtime love affair with the game.
NYS USBC OPEN UPDATE
The 96th annual New York State USBC Open Championships concludes its month-long run Friday through Sunday at Boulevard Bowl with two squads Friday (3 p.m. and 7 p.m.), three on Saturday (10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.) and two more on Sunday (9 a.m. and 1 p.m.). There are only a few openings remaining on a couple of the squads. Contact NYS Association Manager Angelo Corradino (914-729-4271) for more information.
Following are the updated standings for the leaders.
Division 2 team handicap — JR Logging No. 2 (Rhinebeck) 3,329, Coonrad Four (Waterford) 2,898, Crooked Pines (Pittsford) 2,871.
Division 1 team handicap — FPI Mechanic (Ravena) 3,430, Lighthouse Lanes No. 1 (Oswego) 3,331, Lighthouse Lanes No. 3 (Oswego) 3,286.
Team scratch — Hooks Pro Shop (Cicero) 3,285, Burnst Books II (Cicero) 3,274, Lighthouse Lanes No. 1 (3,250).
Division 2 handicap doubles — Liz Criscuolo-Sarah Krager (Endwell) 1,408, John Sickles-Tony Cacckello (Ravena) 1,233, Jamie Currie-Jessica Green (Alfred Station) 1,225.
Division 1 handicap doubles — Jessica Aiezza-Ron Broege (Commack) 1,440, Tony Cacckello-Matt Sherman (Ravena) 1432, Rick Bogholtz-Ray Tennant (Glens Falls) 1,431.
Doubles scratch — Jessica Aiezza-Ron Broege (Commack) 1,440, Patrick Kohanski-Scott Stachnik (Cicero) 1,413, Zac Gentile-David Meyer (Staatsburg) 1,387.
Division 2 singles handicap — Mike Vincenzo (Shrub Oak) 688, Shawn Davis (Rochester) 673, Ron DeVoe (Cohoes) 666.
Division 1 singles handicap — Matt Cleary (Webster) 781, Dave Jecko (Rome) 773, Steven O’Dell (Rochester) 765.
Singles scratch — Dave Jecko (Rome) 773, Eddie Torres (Stone Ridge) 751, Nicholas Perrone (Mahopac) 748.
Robin Orlikowski, Suzanne Morine, Jessica Aiezza and Liz Kuhlkin registered the highest four-player team game (1,003) since the event switched from five to four players in 2014 en route to a 2,809 total, the second-highest team series since that switch at the USBC Women’s Championship Monday at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada.
The Bowl 2 Win team from Mechanicville took the Diamond Team division lead over previous leader Thunder Lanes of Oshkosh, Wisconsin (2,629).
In the record-setting game, Orlikowski shot a 277, followed by Aiezza (269), Kuhlkin (247) and Morine (210). Kuhlkin finished with a 752 series, with Orlikowski shooting a 704, Aiezza ripping a 696 and Morine tossing a 657.
“Jessica and I have bowled together for a couple of years, and Suzanne is a great bowler from our area,” Kuhlkin said in a USBC press release. “Jessica bowled with Robin in college at Morehead State, so she called to see if she could join us, and she said yes. Some of us just met for the first time the other day, but we’ve formed a really great chemistry. We gelled and talked a lot during the team event, and it helped us put together a big score and bowl well.”
The next night, Kuhlkin took over the Diamond Team division all-events lead after shooting a 725 in doubles and 720 in singles for a 2,197 total.
STRIKES & SPARES
Speaking of Kuhlkin, she finished 19th with 4,103 pins and earned $1,200 at the PWBA Greater Cleveland Open last weekend at Yorktown Lanes in Parma Heights, Ohio.
Revolutions Pro Shop operator Brian LeClair finished 33rd averaging 218.71 and cashing for $1,000 at the PBA50 Bud Moore Classic hosted by Bowlero Centreville in Centreville, Virginia this week.
The Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour wraps up its season Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. both days at East Greenbush Bowling Center. It’s an optional Junior Gold qualifier.
Uncle Sam Lanes is hosting its inaugural Season Ending Singles Tournament Sunday at noon. Entry fee is $50, and the top prize is $500, based on 70 entries. There will be scratch and handicap brackets. Contact Will Cunningham (518-400-0836) or Uncle Sam Lanes (518-271-7800) for more information.
Clifton Park lefty David Wolf is second (668) in the 175-&-under singles division and first in the handicap doubles division (1,257) with partner Timothy Boyd of Bloomington, Minnesota at the Bowlers Journal Championships hosted by The Orleans Bowling Center in Las Vegas.
Town & Country Lanes will offer the TNC Summer Series every Thursday night July 15 at 6 p.m. Each night will be a separate tournament. Entry fee will be $20, plus a $5 membership fee. There will be four games of qualifying across four pairs, with the top four bowlers advancing to a seeded single-elimination bracket. Call 518-456-1113 for more information.
Sportsman’s Bowl’s Baker Trio league runs for 10 weeks every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. The cost is $20 per week. First place will be $1,800, based on 16 teams. Each team bowls six games on the same pair each night, and each bowler will bowl two of the six 10th frames. Call 518-355-4330 for more information.
Sportsman’s PBA Experience League begins May 20 and runs every Thursday for 10 weeks at 7 p.m. Cost is $12 a week. Three-person teams bowl four games per night and five different sport patterns will be used.
Here are the unofficial standings for the Albany Senate TNBA doubles tournament and optional singles event at East Greenbush Bowling Center. Nick Miseno teamed up with Jon Wilbur to win the title with a 1,545, followed by Anthony Porter with Lenny Waters (1,513), Anthony Scaccia with Zackary Phillips (1,510), Robert Napier with Jim Burton (1,505) and Suzie Morine with Mike Neumann (1,478). In singles, Tarik Joyner (299-803), Ismael Rodriguez (268-760), Jermaine Huff (279-758), Tim Cade (246-758) and Warren Wiggins (277-756) rounded out the top five.
Chris Fedden fired a perfect game en route to a 760 triple to edge Chris Smith (289-758) for the featured performance in the season-ending Sportsman’s Majors card Monday night at Sportsman’s Bowl.
Other leaders included Jim Bassotti (289-748), Steve Renzi (299-737), Jim Parker (247-732), Kalynn Carl (278-720), Jamie Diamond (257-711) and AJ Perone (279-710). Universal Auto Parts won the second-half team title.
Universal Auto Parts 47-17, Muny Grille 41-23, Next Level Detailing 40-24, Bob’s Pro Shop 37-27, Café One-Eleven 36.5-27.5, Metroland Photo 36-28, Rollin’ Smoke BBQ 35-29, The Appliance Specialist 35-29, Mike’s Hot Dogs 33.5-30.5, G & Dz Pizza 16-48, Klonowski’s Pro Shop 15-49, I.D.I.D. 12-52.
Café One-Eleven (1)
Joe DiBiase 224-168-242 — 634, Rob Mengel 216-228-244 — 688, Cory Buckley 207-258-191 — 656, Tyler Mochrie 212-224-234 — 670. Totals: 859-878-911 — 2,648.
Metroland Photo (3)
Lee Quivey 182-228-218 — 628, Steve Renzi 212-299-226 — 737, B.J. Smith (absent) 228-228-228 — 684, Billy McGaffin Jr. 227-200-262 — 689. Totals: 849-955-934 — 2,738.
Mike’s Hot Dogs (1)
Doug Semerad 224-194-189 — 607, Jeff Belli 192-194-182 — 568, Rich Rogaski 219-200-229 — 648, Kevin Palmer 267-213-163 — 643. Totals: 902-801-763 — 2,466.
Rollin’ Smoke BBQ (3)
John Leone 174-216-183 — 573, Bill Carl 216-225-200 — 641, Kalynn Carl 234-208-278 — 720, Justin Carl (absent) 233-233-233 — 699. Totals: 857-882-894 — 2,633.
The Appliance Specialist (4)
Steve Fawcett 214-203-233 — 650, Zach Gravell (absent) 218-218-218 — 654, Chris Fawcett (absent) 235-235-235 — 705, Rich Bauer 180-205-268 — 653. Totals: 847-861-954 — 2,662.
G & Dz Pizza (0)
Jason Deitz (absent) 169-169-169 — 507, Ernest Laduke Jr. 140-192-176 — 508, Rich Ellis 192-175-192 — 559, Mike Piotrowski 202-254-225 — 681. Totals: 703-790-762 — 2,255.
Klonowski’s Pro Shop (2)
Ted Klonowski III (absent) 211-211-211 — 633, Bob Mock (absent) 213-213-213 — 639, Jackielynn Noble 196-233-277 — 706, Jim Petronis 196-180-189 — 565. Totals: 816-837-890 — 2,543.
Tony Fernandez (absent) 206-206-206 — 618, Joe Gordon 172-213-235 — 620, Jim Valentino 170-191-202 — 563, A.J. Perone 279-228-203 — 710. Totals: 827-838-846 — 2,511.
Universal Auto Parts (4)
Andy Smith 217-237-244 — 698, Bill Heaphy III 278-215-213 — 706, Chris Smith 233-289-236 — 758, Chris Fedden 233-227-300 — 760. Totals: 961-968-993 — 2,922.
Next Level Detailing (0)
Mike Guidarelli 222-190-218 — 630, Jim Bassotti 223-289-236 — 748, Jim Parker 240-247-245 — 732, Matt Swiatocha 246-171-214 — 631. Totals: 931-897-913 — 2,741.
Muny Grille (3)
Jay Diamond 188-257-172 — 617, Dave Bingham 234-246-211 — 691, John Musto Jr. 248-203-181 — 632 Jamie Diamond 236-218-257 — 711. Totals: 906-924-821 — 2,651.
Bob’s Prop Shop (1)
Fred McMahon 228-218-172 — 618, Earl Lawrence Jr. 217-247-222 — 686, Bob Tedesco Jr. 277-191-202 — 670, Mike Smith 190-258-190 — 638. Totals: 912-914-786 — 2,612.
Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected]
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