Shine Up Your Balls

Cleveland theater
The North Coast Bowling Association tells new recruits to "grab your balls [but] just stay out of the gutter." The Sunday league of the gay-friendly bowling group begins its 30-week season this afternoon. "This was started to create an opportunity for people to meet other gay people without having to go to bars," says Greg McPherson, the club's treasurer.

Last year, the 27-year-old league boasted 14 teams (made up of five to seven bowlers each). They play three games each Sunday until late April, when they play a tournament for more than $7,000 in prize money. The best bowlers average as high as 215 a game; the worst, a measly 85. "I've thrown gutter balls myself, but you laugh it off," says McPherson, who averages 174. "It's when someone throws their ball backwards that you duck."

To balance things out, the group plays on a handicap system. But it's not about team rivalries, says McPherson. "This is to bring our community together, socialize, and have some fun," he says. "Competition is not the priority."
Sundays, 1-4 p.m., 2006

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