Bowling League set to begin third season

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by Christin Davis – 

The Western Territorial Bowling League (TBL) is set to strike again, as the third season readies for its first pin takedown on March 28.

The 2006 TBL Champion team, the Gateway Pin Busters, from the Gateway Corps in Ketchikan, Alaska, were surprised to take the title last year.

“When you think about all the teams from the territory, you wouldn’t expect a small town of 8,000 to win,” said Major James Halverson, team member and Gateway corps officer. “It’s really a great opportunity to get together and involve people in the corps’ fellowship and programming.”

Any team of four Salvationist self-proclaimed bowlers, and up to six reserve players, can register to join the league—this year over 60 teams are expected to enter the competition. Once registered, teams are placed in one of the four geographically determined divisions—Booth, Tucker, Swyers or Clifton.

There is no fee for registration; the only cost incurred by teams is that of the three required bowling games, at a time and location of their choosing, each week during the eight-week season.

The printed scores must then be faxed to the THQ bowling-maestro, Jim Sparks, who inputs the tallies into a TBL database and publishes the most current statistics—one team in the lead.

“It’s very serious,” Sparks said. “If I don’t have results and the statistics out the next day, I get e-mails.”
The structure allows for a handicapped scoring system, which Sparks said allows anyone to do well, as long as you play consistently, thus making it easy for both a 9-year-old and seasoned bowling veteran to compete fairly.

When the eight-week season concludes, the top team in each division enters a play-off round before the final two teams compete for the title of TBL Champion.

“The territorial bowling league came about because of fellowship—that’s the main goal,” Sparks said. “Bowling is a sport for young or old—anyone can play, you just throw a ball down a lane.”
Sparks said the program has allowed a unique way for people throughout the territory to stay connected. Some corps have even turned it into an outreach, creating family fellowship nights that are centered on bowling for the TBL.

Week one of TBL season three begins March 28—send your team’s registration form, downloadable from, to the youth department at THQ by March 28.

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