by Fred Eisenhammer
It’s truly a rare sight if that bowler is 90 years old.
And it’s even rarer if a bowler hits that shot on the day of the 90th birthday.
But that’s what happened in a senior league last week at Winnetka Bowl. Right-handed Shirley Radamaker, the birthday girl, snaked her spare shot so it clipped the left side of the 1 pin, which went on to topple the 10.
“It was exciting,” Shirley said.
Candy Adams was watching intently as Shirley’s spare shot developed and saw that it had a chance from the moment Shirley released the ball. “It wasn’t surprising,” Candy said. “She throws a very slow ball and if you hit [the 1] right, it’ll fly over there.”
The third-game heroics gave Shirley something to crow about in an otherwise difficult series. Shirley had plenty to celebrate on this day – not just her birthday cupcakes.
She was thankful that she’s a longtime bowler (nearly 60 years) who’s made many friendships through her leagues. Shirley competes in two leagues a week and has bowled through the years at AMF Woodlake Lanes in Woodland Hills, Corbin Bowl in Tarzana and now-defunct Rocket Bowl in Northridge. She was one of the original bowlers when Winnetka Bowl opened its doors in 1958.
“When the bowling alley opened, they sent fliers out,” Shirley said. “They were giving out a free ball. My neighbors and I came out and we formed a little league.”
Shirley now bowls leagues on Mondays and Thursdays at Winnetka Bowl.
She’s averaging 140. About 15 years ago, she averaged close to 160.
“She’s a good bowler for her age,” praised top senior bowler Bob Adams.
Asked her goals, Shirley said: “I want to continue to bowl as long as I can. I enjoy the sport.“
Winnetka is like my second home. It’s so good to me. I love everyone here.”