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Joshua Willits, 7, bowls at the Strikers Bowling Center shortly after it opened Wednesday afternoon. Dozens of people took advantage of an afternoon of free bowling.

Joshua Willits, 7, bowls at the Strikers Bowling Center shortly after it opened Wednesday afternoon. Dozens of people took advantage of an afternoon of free bowling. (Jason Chudy / S&S)

NAPLES, Italy — Forget cutting ribbons. Patrons were more interested in cutting down pins when the new Naval Support Activity Naples Strikers Bowling Alley opened Wednesday afternoon.

“We were here an hour early,” said Wendy Spencer, who bowled with her husband, Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Spencer, and sons Joshua, 5, and Ryan, 2.

Dozens of people visited the Gricignano support site’s 16-lane center, which includes a pizza parlor and O’Rhys Irish Pub, to take advantage of a free afternoon of bowling.

“It’s really fun,” said 14-year-old Julie Pullen, who was bowling only for the second time.

Julie said she and her teenage friends have been looking forward to the center, which opened seven years later than originally planned due to construction delays.

“There were a lot of people saying ‘We’re going to go bowling, you going to come with us?’” she said over the din of rolling balls and crashing pins.

Most of those pins, however, weren’t hers.

“I’d have liked to know a little more,” she said about the sport. “I’m going to try and get back here and try again. Practice makes perfect!”

One thing that patrons didn’t have to practice was their math skills. Automatic scoring and touch-screen pads let novice bowlers like Julie know how good — or not so good — they’re doing.

For the younger bowlers, the foam-filled bumpers in the gutters are now a thing of the past. In their place are bumpers that automatically rise when it’s the kids’ turns.

“I like the setup,” said Joshua Spencer, a gunner’s mate who works at the base armory when he’s not shooting strikes and spares. “We enjoyed it.”

When to roll in

The Strikers Bowling Center at the Naval Support Activity Naples support site housing area is open five days a week, according to the morale, welfare and recreation marketing office.

The center, which includes the Noble Romans food court and O’Rhys Irish Pub, is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. It is open:

Wednesdays, 4-11 p.m.

Thursdays, 4-11 p.m.

Fridays, 4-midnight

Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m. to midnight

— Jason Chudy


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