Unfortunately, crutches are not allowed on the lanes.
Gregory had her left Achilles tendon reattached in January and will be a spectator when the Kodiak-hosted state tournament begins Thursday morning at Tropic Lanes.
“I am totally bummed,” said Gregory, Kodiak’s state director. “I have been in Kodiak since 1978 and this is only the second tournament since I have moved here that I have not bowled — and it is in my own house.”
This is the fourth time Kodiak has hosted the tournament, now in its 52nd year. The last time the Emerald Island hosted was in 1997.
The tournament is a two-week affair and includes more than 125 women from around the state who are converging on Kodiak.
“We were really expecting a lot more because they have been begging us for so long to put it on,” Gregory said.
Kodiak received the nod to host the state tournament two years ago, and Gregory and a handful of helpers have been gearing up for it since then.
“It is a two-year process, so you have some time to raise money for your tournament,” Gregory said.
Gregory has been Kodiak’s state director since 1999, but bowling has been a part of her life for decades.
She bowled for fun in high school, then got more serious when she became a mother of two in Port Angeles, Wash.
“The bowling center had a little room where you dropped your kids off. You went out and bowled and picked them up when you went out the door,” she said.
Moving to Kodiak in the late 1970s didn’t slow down her bowling addiction — it made her better.
She has recorded her highest game (277), series (696) and average (186) in Kodiak.
“I was bowling with a young high school kid and I didn’t want him beating me, so he forced me to really bowl,” she said of her high average.
And her high series came in a losing effort.
“I was bowling against Mona Johnson and she bowled a 702. She beat me,” Gregory said. “It was probably a 10 pin that kept me from making my 700 series.”
Johnson and Gladene Stewart are the only two Kodiak bowlers in the Alaska Women’s Bowling Hall of Fame.
The newest inductee class will be revealed during Saturday’s opening ceremonies that begin at 6 p.m. at Tropic Lanes.
“That is a big deal,” Gregory said about the opening ceremonies that include ceremonial first rolls by Kodiak’s youngest and oldest bowlers.
Gregory, who has won multiple state awards, looks forward to the state tournament every year.
“I always like to go to state because of the friendships,” she said. “That is the only time you see them every year.”
She put off the surgery on her ankle for as long as possible, but couldn’t wait until after state.
“I had a bone spur on my ankle bone and I had the pain for over a year and the spur kept digging at the Achilles and the surgeon said when he went in there it had just tore it,” Gregory said.
Strapped to crutches and a walking boot, Gregory still has been able to help organize the event.
“I’m still part of it,” she said.
The first week of the tournament begins Thursday and runs through Sunday. The tournament resumes Friday, March 16, and ends Sunday, March 18. Bowling shifts go throughout each day, beginning at 8 a.m.
“We encourage people to come in and watch,” Gregory said. “There will be lots of spectators here. Those who are not bowling will be rooting on their other companions.”
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at sports@kodiak