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She bowled us over

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You think bowling is easy. You sit there in your Barcalounger every Saturday watching Mike Scroggins and Dale Traber on the Pro Bowlers tour and think, “I could do that.”

Well, you can’t. And you know how I know? Alexandra Stein taught me.

You may remember press coverage of Stein a few weeks ago when she was the Toast of the Town, the Darling of the Shell Lanes and the annointed Future of Professional Bowling.

As a freshman at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, she was electrifying the entire bowling world. At the close of 2006, she was ranked fourth in the nation and her average score was above 200. She was so hot that the folks from Wheaties were already calling. She even bowled a 269 once.

To put that in some kind of perspective, Stein is a much much better bowler than you will ever be.

So what happened? Well, that’s bowling, my friends.

Before joining the St. Francis team, Stein had been a phenom at Lafayette High School, bowling a few hours after school like young girls have been doing for centuries.

Her coach at St. Francis, Dawn Gugliaro, spotted her talent immediately: “She has the most consistent stride of any bowler I’ve ever worked with. You can’t teach that kind of muscle memory. She’s just fantastic.”

But at St. Francis, Stein has been rolling seven to 10 games a day, sometimes eight hours of intense bowling (how intense? Her fingers swell up so badly that she has to take the rubber inserts out of the ball holes, that’s how intense).

It wasn’t long before Stein developed knee problems and altered that legendary stride. She’s been struggling to get back to her early-season form, but isn’t there yet.

At a tournament last weekend, she averaged just 183 pins per game (still much better than you, but still…). The new rankings haven’t come out yet, but Stein will no longer be in the top 20 bowlers in the nation (unless, of course, somebody kneecaps that damn Amanda Burgoyne from the University of Nebraska, not that I’d ever suggest such a thing).

Gugliaro says Stein will be back, now that the pressure of freshman year is almost over.

But I’ve been watching bowling long enough to know that life is a long lane with a 7-10 split at the end of it.

You know what I mean.

Gersh Kuntzman is the Editor of The Brooklyn Paper. E-mail Gersh at gkuntzman@cnglocal.com
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