Bill Clinton the avid Junior Bowler

    12/02/05

    Column

    By Dick Evans

    ColumnistDickEvans.jpgTen years ago I was attending the opening ceremonies of FIQ World Tenpin Championships in Reno's National Bowling Stadium when I heard a speech written by Bill Clinton, President of the United States at the time, being read over the PA system.

    According to the reader, Clinton wrote that he "was a bowler and often competes on the White House Lanes." Clinton also was quoted as saying "bowling's social environment provides a great example for the rest of society."

    For some reason, I saved the Bill Clinton article in the July 10, 1995, edition of the Bowling Newsline put out by bowling headquarters in Greendale, Wis. I stapled an Oct. 3, 1995, story from the Los Angeles Times to the Newsletter so I would remember what Clinton was talking about when he said "social environment."

    The LA Times headline read: "Join a Bowling League, Save the Nation." Then a subhead read: "Some top thinkers are looking not just at the family but at civic associations as the key to national greatness."

    I might never had pulled that 1995 clipping out of my archives if it had not been by sharing a table with Judith and Bert Botter, owners of Central Bowling Lanes, at Bowl Expo late last June in Orlando.

    Somehow the conversation got around to their home town, Hot Springs, Ark., and somebody asked if they knew Bill Clinton. They not only knew him, they bowled with him when he was young.

    Bert said, "Clinton claimed he had around a 160 average when he was a junior bowler. I can't verify it because he was bowling in high school I was away at college. Of course that was the days of wooden lanes and hard rubber balls."

    Late Bert wrote that: I have found the tap of the interview that Tom Brokaw (NBC Network) did with Clinton after he had been in office 100 days as America's president. The following comment was made with about 10 minutes left in the program.

    Brokaw asked Clinton if he had bowled much since there was a bowling 'alley' in the White House. Clinton replied , "I have bowled a little. The guys who owns the bowling lanes back in my home town (Hot Springs) sent me a bowling ball."

    Bill Clinton failed to mention that Bert also sent a bowling ball to Hillary and Chelsea, too. The Hot Springs Advertising & Promotion Commission once put out a brochure about Bill Clinton's early years in Hot Springs and pointed out 16 points on the map that influenced his upbringing.

    They called it "A tour of President Clinton's Hot Springs."

    No. 13 was: BOWLING, 3917 Central Avenue. President Clinton and his friends spent many hours trying to knock down pins at Central Bowling Lanes."

    If you want to reply to the author email to Evans121@aol.com.