Column: Even I’m sad to see Whites go

Published 7:48 pm Friday, March 25, 2005

By Staff
I've never been an avid bowler. In fact I think the last time I bowled was…well I can't even remember when or where it was. So why would someone like myself miss Whites? Well it's easy.
Growing up I did bowl sometimes, mostly on the weekends when I didn't have anything going on. I do recall going to some birthday parties and school trips at some of the alleys and I do recall going to Whites a few times.
I met Lance White for the first time this week and he seems like such a great guy and I have heard nothing but positive things about him.
He has run a very successful, safe and tough business for so many years. It was interesting that within a half an hour I learned so much about Whites. It also went to prove just how small the world really was. We know quite a few of the same people and he even knows my parents!
Yesterday I had to go back to the alley to take a couple more pictures and on Thursday mornings there is a seniors league there. I saw a few people I knew and a few people I had never met that told me their whole life story in five minutes.
Everyone seemed to be having such a good time. There was a lot of laughing, smiling, conversations, it was overall a very comfortable and fun place to be. I can see why so many people are going to miss it.
I learned so many things about so many people in such a short amount of time. For example, I learned that you are never too old to bowl. There were people in their 90's that got out there and bowled like they were in their youth.
I also learned you are never too young to bowl. Whites' youth leagues have been very strong for years and can start with children as young as five.
Another thing was that no matter what disablities you may have, you can still bowl.
Ray Gouldman told me of a few people who are blind, like one gentleman who was bowling yesterday. He isn't completely blind, but uses the help of other people that tell him where to throw the ball and which pins he has left standing.
There have also been numerous others with all different kinds of disabilities who get out there and don't have a worry in the world.
Everyone I have talked to so far said they are going to miss the place. Not only for the game itself, but because of the people that come there, because of Lance and just because it is a weekly meeing place for people to get together.
Its a place where people can go and feel safe and not have to worry about fighting or any other difficulties.
All this along with the fact that the building itself has been in Niles for 48 years and carries a big piece of history in this town is enough to make anyone born and raised in this town sad.
It's always sad to see anything like this go. This center has been around for so long and it means so much to so many people. There are a lot of fond memories and soon that's all people will have of Whites.
I know I will miss it just because of what I have learned and seen this week. I can't imagine being involved with the center as long as some of the people have and I now see why some people are taking this so hard.
Though it is easier said than done and while most people will have a hard time with the loss of Whites, you should not frown, but smile at all the wonderful memories the alley has given you and all the wonderful people it has allowed you to meet.
Though Lance hasn't always been the one to run the center, his father and brother originally started Whites, he has been there the longest. He has done a great job over the years and it shows.
Whites has left its mark in Niles and will be something people will talk and reminisce about for years to come.