Rainbow mixed bowling league in Columbia welcomes all

I began bowling at the young age of ten. Back then, I bowled between my legs. It was a start. Forty years later, I am now the president of the Rainbow Mixed Bowling League in Columbia, Maryland, an LGBT friendly bowling league. Our league has been in existence for roughly 20 years, of which I have been a participant for about half.

Bowling is a more leisurely sport, thus can be as competitive or noncompetitive as you wish. Some just want to have fun, others want to achieve high scores. The greatest reward for me has been the many friendships that have been built over the years. Commitments, even a marriage – relationships that go beyond the bowling alley. I’ve been on trips to Vegas with my bowling buddies, and over the summer when we aren’t bowling, some of us get together every few weeks and play poker. It’s a great avenue for socializing and meeting people.

We’re an LGBT-friendly league. Everyone is welcome to join. We’ve had occasions where people have joined and didn’t know it was an LGBT-friendly league. They bowled with us, and learned that we are fun, loving people. One couple even commented that we are so much more fun and friendly than the other leagues. They loved our league so much that they are now returning for their fourth year! I would like to think that our league has helped gain ground in our fight for equality.

To add a little more fun to the mix, we have two drawings each week. One is a 50/50 – 50% of the funds go to the bowler whose ticket is pulled, the other 50% goes toward an end-of-season pot, which we use to purchase gift cards. On our final week of bowling, another random draw is done to determine who the lucky winners are. The second drawing is for something we call Lucky Ball. Whoever’s ticket is selected gets to choose from 11 cards, ace through ten, and a joker. Whichever card is selected determines the number of pins that they must knock down. If they pull the joker, they indicate the number of pins. If the bowler knocks down the correct number of pins, they win the progressive pot (accumulated each week until someone knocks down the number of pins matching the card). Last year, one of the pots built up to almost $200!

We have a potluck before we go on break at the end of the year for Christmas and New Year’s, as well as on our final night of bowling in the spring. Everyone brings their favorite dish, a change of pace from the usual bowling-alley food. We also have a nine-pin no tap tournament to end our year. If you knock down nine pins, it becomes a strike. The top bowlers win monetary prizes.

Our league begins Thursday, September 3rd, at 7 p.m., and we bowl every Thursday going forward (except holidays) at Columbia Brunswick Lanes (7100 Carved Stone, Columbia, Maryland).

Want to join? Contact the author for more info- kmthomas@comcast.net.