Steel City Bowling Completes 41st Season

Congratulations to the Steel City Bowling League (SCBL) for completing their 41st season!  The SCBL is Pittsburgh’s second oldest sports organization.  The league was established in the fall of 1982 at the Monroe Bowl in Monroeville by members of the Steel City Softball League.  The Softball League members felt that since there was a summer LGBTQ sports event to participate in that a Community bowling league made perfect sense.  The Steel City Bowling League started its inaugural season with 30 bowlers and a lot of heart.  The League was only there for one season and felt that the distance was a bit much for future growth.  In scouting the Pittsburgh area, the founders finally settled on the Strand Lanes in Oakland.  The Stand Lanes consisted of 2 floors of 10 lanes each.  This was a great location for the league as they were able to have each floor privately which provided safety and protection for members who weren’t out in their daily lives.  The league quickly filled both floors.  The membership consisted of 20 teams with 5 members each. 

Bowling was quite the social event and many of the bowlers participated in tournaments out of town.  It wasn’t uncommon for Pittsburgh to send over 20 of its members to cities like Cleveland, Columbus, and Washington DC for a weekend.  These tournaments offered a great place to meet new friends and even win some cash prizes.  Pittsburgh even joined the tournament scene in 1988 when it hosted its first TREAT (Three Rivers Eastern Area Tournament) event.  The event took place at Noble Manor Lanes in Crafton and sold out with 200 bowlers (90% out of state).  TREAT was a bi-annual event that was held for many years with the last one being held in 2016 at the Mt. Lebanon Lanes.  TREAT had the reputation of being one of the best run tournaments on the gay bowling circuit.  Fundraising for the event happened year-round for the TREAT Committee who was at each OUTrageous Bingo for many years.  They even did the dunk tanks at Pride. 

The League was also a participant in bringing the International Gay Bowling Association’s (IGBO) 35th Anniversary Mid-Year Conference and Tournament to Pittsburgh in 2015.  There were 356 bowlers here in town that weekend from the US, Canada and Australia.  

The Steel City Bowling League is still bowling every Sunday night at 6:30 PM.  The year is now broken up into two seasons.  There is a Fall and a Spring season consisting of 13 weeks each.   The members can bowl one or both seasons.  This year’s champions were Gutter Envy who won the first half-season and the Brewery Boys who won the second half.

Each night of bowling consists of teams of 4 people bowling 3 games.  It is a handicapped league which according to the league leaders means “that even bad bowlers are good.”  If a bowler has a low average, then they are given extra pins to their score.  The league also allows for members to be substitute bowlers.  You can bowl for someone who couldn’t make it.  It’s a great way to become a member of the league without having to make that weekly commitment. 

The league also is involved in Community service for its members.  Recently a member was diagnosed with cancer and the league held a fundraiser for them to help pay some outstanding hospital bills.  Shepherd Wellness is a big benefactor of the league as is the Community Food Bank.  Their Year End Banquet always consists of a donation to a local charity selected by the membership. 

Good luck to next year’s officers:  Jeff Yaworski – President, Will Brown – Vice President, Secretary – Billy Triana and Treasurer – Dianne Stoehr.  Registration for next session is last Sunday in August (Aug 28) and first night of actual bowling will be the Sunday after Labor Day (Sept 11). 

Jeff Freedman (he/him) is a Pittsburgh native and is in his fourth decade of volunteerism for the LGBTQ Community.  Jeff is one of the founding members of the Steel City Softball League in 1981 and has been an active member of the LGBTQ Community ever since.  Jeff is currently a member of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission for LGBTQ Affairs.  He is a past Chair of the Pittsburgh Pride celebrations (’05-’07) and current Pittsburgh Pride March & Parade Co-Chair.  You would recognize him by his voice.  He was the loud one on the megaphone lining up all the March & Parade participants.  Jeff has a lot of great stories to tell and looks forward to sharing the printable ones with the QBurgh Community.