I've said this in my column at least once before, and I'll say it again. Bowling is such a great sport because people, young and old, can participate on the same level.
Northumberland resident Paul Leese is living proof of that.
Nowadays, senior citizens are enjoying a longer life expectancy, and helping seniors stay vibrant during their golden years is a daily exercise regimen. For some that means hitting the lanes on a regular basis.
Take one look on the internet and you'll see many stories of septuagenarians, those aged 70-79, and even octogenarians and nonagenarians still posting big numbers while sustaining long bowling careers.
Still, I was pretty amazed to see what Leese recently accomplished.
Leese, 71, is a former newspaper and freelance photographer, and also a regular at Strike Zone Lanes who's often listed among the high bowlers each week.
But I highly doubt that Leese had a better two weeks than he had while competing in the Sunbury Area Bowling Association's City Tournament that wrapped up a couple of weeks ago at Strike Zone.
Leese claimed three titles in the tournament: singles, doubles and all-events. He bested 59 other bowlers to win his singles title with an 824 series, and topped 58 keglers for the all-events title (2266). In doubles, Leese and partner Roger Lebo came out on top in a 34-team field with a 1465 total.
In the history of the tournament, which dates back to the glory days of the alley which was then named the New Sun Bowl, what Leese did was indeed a rare feat.
Unfortunately, efforts to contact Leese for this column were unsuccessful. However, the man that Leese finished ahead of twice in the tournament, Strike Zone owner Mark Derr, had plenty to say about him.
"It's rare for one bowler to dominate the tourney like Paul did this year with all of the best bowlers in the association competing," said Derr. "Paul's feat is even more compelling because of his age. Paul is 71 and he's bowling like a 30 year-old.