A more inviting bowling center opened the door to a program for St. Joseph students. About 50 of them now bowl after school one day a week. They include children from the Early Childhood Center.
“A lot of kids like to bowl in socks, but we have shoes in all sizes,” Colella said. “The kids have a really great time and they are very competitive. They all get together and bowl, along with teachers, the principal and even our priests. Everyone gets involved.”
There are no arcade games and no computerized scoring. Colella says it’s “old-school bowling” where you have to keep score with pencil and paper.
“The kids love it, plus it’s good for their math skills,” he said. “And for seniors, it helps keep the mind sharp.
“You wouldn’t believe how many adults ask us to show them how to keep score,” Colella said. “It’s like a refresher course for people who are used to computerized scoring.”
Some of the children call Colella “Uncle Joe.’’
“It’s nice to see the smiles on their faces,” he said.
The bowling complex hosts a men’s league on Tuesday nights and a men’s and women’s mixed league on Thursday nights.
Several years ago, Colella worked with Kathy Bresnahan at the city’s Council on Aging to create a senior citizens social bowling league that meets on Mondays.
Men bowl first, followed by women.
“We started with a few guys and now we have more than a dozen, including former mayor Lewis Burton,” Colella said.
To encourage more seniors to bowl, Colella charges them just $4.50 for three strings, including coffee and shoe rental.
“It’s just to get people to come down, get some exercise and maybe make some new friends,” Colella said, noting the regular price is $2 per string for adults and 75 cents for shoes. Kids pay $1.50 per string.