"They were really nice about it," said Patterson, who was only a league rookie when it happened. "They recognized it at the (end-of-season) banquet, and I got a ring and a plaque through the league and the USBC (United States Bowling Congress)."
A helping hand
Just bowling has been enough for 23-year-old Brett Miller. The league's youngest member took up the sport through his uncle, league secretary Mike Rooney, after recovering from a series of surgeries and epileptic seizures.
"My uncle Mikey offered to have me in the league. He was the one who dragged me into the game," said Miller. "I feel like it's part of me now."
"I was going out on a limb at first because I didn't know how the other members would take it, but they've welcomed him with open arms," said Rooney.
Miller has a unique delivery at the line. To open each frame, he stands all the way to the right of the lane, takes a couple of steps back and then moves forward and rolls the ball with his left hand. Whatever pins he leaves up after the first shot determines where he stands to roll his second ball.
"I actually learned a lot of the tricks I know from my uncle. I learned what areas to aim for," said Miller.
Though Miller has progressed to the point where he has rolled as high of a score as 175, being with his friends in the league matters more to him.
"I feel like I'm the prince of all bowlers," he said.
"I'm just grateful to have him," added Rooney. "He's had so many surgeries and so many seizures in his life."
Miller (three years), Rooney (three years) and Patterson (two years) represent the most recent class of bowlers to join the St. Thomas league. The other nine members have been around for a decade or longer, and thus are able to remember when the league took up twice as many alleys as it does now.
"We used to have eight teams of four bowlers," said Kanuk. "Things have a way of dropping down, though."
There are no annual dues to join the St. Thomas league, nor do bowlers have to be a church member. A $12 weekly charge is all that a bowler needs to join.
"It's just for the guys to have fun," said league president John Ritz.
For information, call John Ritz at 429-1471 or Mike Rooney at 439-8674.""