Don't be alarmed, Concordians. Those long, rolling peals of thunder you've been hearing on Wednesday afternoons aren't some weather phenomenon or tectonic plate shift. That's just the sound of seniors rolling their balls and knocking down pins at Boutwell's Bowling Center. The senior league clashes every Wednesday afternoon.
"It's mostly retirees," league member Rita Gonyer said. Gonyer has been bowling in the league for about 10 years, and said that it is a lot of fun for all involved.
"Everybody loves to come in and socialize," Gonyer said.
Her teammate on The Screwballs, Bev Heath, agreed.
"I don't think I knew any of these people before I started bowling in this league," Heath said.
Boutwell's manager Don Murphy said that the senior league has been going on longer than he's even been involved with the alley, over 20 years. He said that the seniors have "practically adopted" him.
"They're more or less a family," Weatherbee said.
Weatherbee said that the league always brings its share of exciting moments.
"I've seen a 90-something-year-old throw a triple strike," Weatherbee said. "That was pretty impressive."
Yes, even nonagenarians get in on the fun in the senior league. The league's oldest bowler is 98-year-old Gladys Newbegin of Team Golden Girls. Newbegin has been bowling her whole life, "or pretty darn near it!" as she put it. She also enjoys the exercise that bowling three strings a week provides her.
Many of the bowlers cite exercise as one of the draws of the senior league. Screwballs member Preston Trombley has been bowling in the league for the last three years, and he said he loves the health benefits.
"It's exercise," Trombley said. "We seniors need our exercise. Plus, it's really fun."
Ann McCarthy of Team 11 has been in the league for a few years now.
"I joined so I wouldn't have to get out the rocking chair," McCarthy said. "It makes you get up and go."
Of course, the seniors in the league are not just there for fun and health. There is a championship at stake here. Can the consistent James Cleveland and Team 5 hold first place through the playoffs? Will Gonyer and the Screwballs make a late-season run at the top spot? Or will brash Roger Clattenburg and Team 11 hold them off and battle for first? Clattenburg has confidence in his team's chances.
"We're pretty competitive," Clattenburg said. "I don't consider myself the best, but I'm one of the top bowlers." He's been rolling in the senior league since 1986.
After the final pins settle and the last ball has been returned, one team will be crowned champion. But as long as these seniors are out there having fun and staying healthy, everyone's a winner.