With 24 leagues that bowl year-round, Rinaldi Lanes in Riverdale is somewhat of a bowling league Mecca. The summer leagues run from June to mid-August, and the winter leagues picks up again in late August and end approximately nine months later.
Tuesday evening marked the beginning of this year's winter league.
Starting this Tuesday and next, the two most competitive leagues, known as Three Brothers Renegades and Tuesday Night Commercial will monopolize the lanes beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The Three Brothers Renegades league, known locally as 3BR, kicked off its season last night. Sponsored for the past eight years by Three Brothers Italian Restaurant, the league features a 36-week season.
The league, which is co-ed and features multiple skill levels, is divided into 24 doubles teams. Every Tuesday, the score of each team is combined with the score of another team, essentially making 12 teams of 4.
According to Bill Malloy, an animated participant as well as secretary of 3BR, playing this way "makes it more — let me use my favorite word — funnerer for the lower (than) average bowlers."
Everybody in the league pays $22 a week, and at the end of the year every team gets money back. The team known as Don & Jack is the back-to-back reigning 3BR champion and won $1,600 last year for its victory.
According to Malloy, the league is competitive and fun, somewhat due to the fact that most of the players have been competing against each other for at least 15 years.
Tuesday Night Commercial (TNC) will start its winter season next week, and local resident A.T. Campbell, who was bowling recreationally with his wife on Tuesday, is anticipating the season opener. According to Campbell, TNC is even more competitive than the gargantuan 3BR.
"Tuesday Night Commercial is more cutthroat," Campbell said. "They'll take your head off if they can. It's fun though."
James Stewart, an accomplished bowler and president of TNC, believes his league is more competitive due to the way it is set up. TNC has 20 five-person teams and lasts for 35 weeks. Every third week the league has what is called a "position round" in which each team is matched up based upon seeding — 1 vs. 2, 3 vs. 4, 5 vs. 6, etc. — all the way down to the 20th team. Playing like this keeps league play close because all the top teams have to face each other.
The team known as Ching Ching won the TNC league last year and took home $3,500.
According to long-time Rinaldi Lanes bowler Bert Bonnette, "some of the most talented bowlers in the area bowl in this house, from top to bottom."
In 2009 alone, an astounding 45 perfect games were bowled at Rinaldi Lanes.
For more information on any league at Rinaldi Lanes contact Bill Malloy at (301) 864-5940.
To keep up with sports in the area, check out www.twitter.com/patchsportsmd.