What do busy college students do when they want to merge date night with intramural sports? For Hillsdale students in the 1960s, the answer was simply to join a couples’ bowling league.
While this activity is usually reserved for middle-aged partners trying to revive their competitive spirit, the activity was remarkably popular at Hillsdale.
A March 25, 1965 Collegian article reads, “Because of the demand for organized group bowling, the Fred A. Knorr Memorial Student Center is making preparation for a couples league at the bowling lanes.”
The article continued, “The league will run for four weeks commencing the week of April 12.”
This was not the first attempt to form a couples’ bowling league. In fact, attempts to organize competitions began in the fall semester.
An Oct. 14, 1965 article reads, “We have eight couples now, but need four more in order to start the league— so get your guys and your ‘dollies’ and let’s see some bowling.”
I have a feeling that a major reason the league had such a tough start was that no girls were willing to become the dollies of the bowling alley.
Bowling was such a popular activity for Hillsdale students of the day that leagues existed not only for couples, but also for fraternities and women.
On March 4, 1965, The Collegian read, “The Women’s Bowling League sponsored by the WRA began this week and will run until April 29.”
The article continued, “The eight teams will be competing for trophies given at the end of the league series. One trophy will be given to the team having the highest score and another will be given for the individual having the highest series.”
While there were only eight teams, the groups more than made up for their small number with their great names.
According to The Collegian, team titles included the Beta Bowlers, the Gutterballs and the Winners.
In a tough turn of events, the 1965 season concluded with the Winners coming in second to last place.
In an even tougher turn of events, the Gutterballs absolutely demolished the Winners in the league rankings.
You really hate to see it in the bowling community.
To cap off a wonderful season, an April 29, 1965 Collegian article reported that “a tea honoring all bowlers will be held at Ambler, Monday, May 3, at which time the trophies will be given. For those less fortunate and less athletically inclined members booby prizes will be given to them as a remembrance of some very good times.”
Bowling is the only sport that could successfully host a team tea to commemorate athletic achievement.
The popularity of bowling at Hillsdale was likely due to the opening of an on-campus bowling alley.
On Dec. 10, 1964 The Collegian reported, “The Student Union Bowling Alley which opened last week is now operating full time.”
Unfortunately, the bowling alley has since departed from the Hillsdale College campus. While the space and funding was likely turned into a study spot or some sort of academic forum, it would be great for campus culture if we brought back this in-demand hillsdating spot.