The D.C.-based League of Women Bowlers is the largest lesbian bowling league on the East Coast and the only women’s league in the Capital Area Rainbowlers Association (CARA). It consists of 64 women on 16 teams of four with about a dozen women listed as substitute bowlers.
Back in 2006, when CC Ford and Kim Holley founded the league, they were looking to create a sports environment for women who enjoy “being in the company of women.” Until that point the female bowlers were part of the men’s leagues under the CARA umbrella. Today, several of the women still participate in the men’s 10-pin leagues along with competing in the League.
The league meets at Rinaldi’s Riverdale Lanes in Riverdale, Md. Their season stretches over 32 weeks from September to May. For those women who are unable to commit to that time frame, there is an active substitute roster. The league is also a member of the International Gay Bowling Organization and is sanctioned by the United States Bowling Congress. The Organization is comprised of more than 12,000 bowlers in about 140 leagues throughout Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States and offers about 65 tournaments a year.
Ford, a 2006 Gay Games bronze medalist and Team D.C. MVP and Organization board member, attends about one tournament a month along with other members of the league. For many of the lady rollers, the tournaments represent their first foray into competing for prizes. The League boasts women of all skill levels with averages ranging from less than 100 to more than 190.
CARA, the local organization for gay bowlers, hosts an end-of-season tournament annually for its 16 leagues, which includes the lady bowlers. In 2009, The League of Women Bowlers proudly represented and became the first women’s league to win the end-of-season tournament held in Virginia that year. They repeated that accomplishment in 2010 to become the first CARA league, male or female, to win the championship two years in a row.
The League is always looking for new bolwers. It started with 20 women of which 16 are still current members. The requirements to join start with a $20 sanction fee for the Congress. The weekly bowling fees are $18 which covers lane costs, year-end prizes and an awards banquet. Those for a friendly, yet competitive, atmosphere, might find might the League right up her alley. Anyone interested in joining or sponsoring can find more details at leagueofwomenbowlers.com.