RENO, Nev. - Like thousands of bowlers before her at the United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships, Dorothy Taylor of Neptune, N.J., laced up her shoes and took to the lanes for her first tournament appearance at the National Bowling Stadium this year. She separated herself from the group by making her inaugural march down Center Aisle at 81 years old.
Although she's been active in the sport for nearly 50 years and has bowled in countless city and state tournaments, Taylor had reservations about competing at the USBC Women's Championships throughout the years. After a little coaxing from her daughter, Margaret Taylor, she took her first turn on the tournament lanes Wednesday.
"My daughter got me to bowl," said Taylor, who bowls regularly at Neptune's Shore Lanes. "I had wanted to go before, but thought I wasn't good enough. I did other tournaments and was just comfortable staying close to home. I really enjoyed this. Everyone was so nice, and it was fun."
Even though the 2012 event marked her tournament debut, Taylor is no stranger to the championships atmosphere. She has traveled with her family to both the USBC Open and Women's Championships and enjoyed the chance to experience some of the tournament traditions she had only seen in the past.
"Walking down Center Aisle was great," Taylor said. "I used to watch my late husband when he bowled, and I couldn't wait to get a picture of him walking down, and now I've done it. When I watched, I was always waiting for my turn. Here, I actually had my turn, and I did it. I never thought I would. I've come a long way, and I'm thankful for the opportunity."
Taylor admitted to being a little scared before she started, but the encouragement from her fellow bowlers, and being on the lanes beside her daughter, made the nerves easily disappear. With her first Women's Championships under her belt, she's ready and willing to start a new tradition and hopes others will do the same.
"This was a really big experience for me, and to tell you the truth, I was scared," she said. "I had bad dreams about coming up here with all of these people bowling. But I was able to get myself comfortable. Everyone complimented me and told me to keep up the good work. Today was about me and my daughter, and we were just going to have fun. If I can make it another year, and they want to put up with me, I'll come back again. I would really try to encourage everybody to give this a try."
Taylor finished off her first Women's Championships appearance with a 453 series in team, 430 in doubles and 422 in singles for a 1,305 all-events total in the Sapphire Division. All scores include handicap.
The Sapphire Division includes bowlers with averages of 149 and below, with handicap based on 100 percent of 150.
Presenting sponsors for the 2012 USBC Women's Championships are Circus Circus, Eldorado Hotel Casino and Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno, Nev. Other sponsors include Harrah's Reno Casino, official brackets sponsor, Kegel, official lane maintenance provider, Humana, official registration sponsor, Steltronic, official scoring system, and supporting sponsors Storm Bowling Products, Nationwide Insurance, Sands Regency Casino Hotel and Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa and MyBowlingVacation.com.