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    Friday Night Friendship Bowling League strikes up friendships, knocks down pins



    Story by Lance Cpl. Charles Clark 

    Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni

    IWAKUNI, Japan - Bowlers from the Night Friendship Bowling League started stretching their limbs and practicing their technique before an evening of bowling at the Strike Zone here Jan. 27.
    The Friday Night Friendship Bowling League is a family friendly bowling league where station residents and Japanese locals compete with and against each other.

    “We try and keep it as balanced as we can by having Japanese and Americans on each team,” said Derrick Hurd, Friday Night Friendship Bowling League secretary and treasurer. “The Japanese love coming here every week and so do we. I’ve met a lot of great friends through the league.”

    The Strike Zone closed and cleaned its bowling lanes at 5:45 p.m. in preparation for the league bowlers.

    The Japanese and American bowlers, some with children, made their way into the Strike Zone to enjoy a few hours of sharing lanes and a love of bowling.

    “We are all like-minded individuals here,” said Hurd. “We love to bowl. We love to joke around, and we love seeing everyone each week.”

    For some of the Japanese bowlers, league nights are a way to learn
    American culture, practice the English language and better their bowling averages.

    “I enjoy talking with the Marines and their families,” said Nobuhiro
    Hatta, a Custom Made team bowler. “I’ve learned how to bowl better since joining the league. The Marines make me laugh when they tell jokes, so it is a good experience to come here.”

    The Strike Zone is the only bowling alley within 26 kilometers of Iwakuni City. Japanese bowlers travel to the Strike Zone from as far away as Yanai to compete in the league.

    It’s through the dedication of those traveling bowlers that lasting
    friendships can be made with both station and Iwakuni City residents.

    While the league is full of friends, it is still a competitive league.
    The Friday Night Friendship Bowling League has two seasonal leagues, one in the summer and another for the falland winter.
    Seventy six bowlers make up the 19 teams, which competed in this year’s fall/winter league.

    Each team consists of four to five bowlers.

    The teams keep track of their bowling averages. Whichever team has the highest points for the season wins. Bowling leagues like this have existed before, but under different names.

    The Friday Night Friendship Bowling League has been knocking down pins for the past eight years.

    “Bowling is a universal sport, like baseball or soccer,” said Joe W. Cook, Friday Night Friendship Bowling League president. “This league and the other bowling leagues before it have lasted all these years because it is a fun and easy sport to learn and play.”

    To sign up for the Friday Night Friendship Bowling League, send an
    e-mail to joe.w.cook@usmc.mil.



    Date Taken: 02.03.2012
    Date Posted: 06.28.2012 23:23
    Story ID: 90805

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