Most people have that one place that sort of shaped them into who they are, the place they spent much of their early life, the place they met most of the people they know, and the place that holds many memories. For me that place is Highland Park Lanes in Greeley, and said place turns 25 this weekend.
Some may go into the bowling center on 59th Ave. in Greeley and see a bunch of lanes, and a place to have a good time for a few hours. I see home.
I vaguely remember back 25 years ago when my dad would drive way out west of town to check the progress of the new bowling alley they were building. Then all the years spent in, what I thought at the time was the biggest/coolest arcade ever while my dad bowled. I remember being sad when said arcade went away to make room for more bowling lanes, and then being hired to clean ashtrays during leagues at just 13-year-old. I thought I was the coolest kid in middle school because I had a job at the place everyone wanted to hang out. For the next 12 years, I spent most of my time at HPL either working, bowling, or screwing around.
Some of my fondest memories include 2 a.m. flag football games in the parking lot in the dead of winter after we closed. My senior year of high school, making a video of me and some friends skateboarding down a lane, basically body-bowling. We forgot to turn the machine off, so the first kid cut his whole face up bad, and we may have ruined some of the wood on the lane with too much oil, but we definitely had the best senior video. There were the times I won tournaments, and had big nights on the lanes, and there were literally thousands of friendships I made. There were birthdays, holidays, random celebrations, and more life lessons than can be counted.
In all that time, you have tough times also. Like the time I walked in on a robbery, or the handful of times I was "fired" for being young and dumb (but always re-hired after learning my lesson). There were fights, and friendships/relationships ended there, and even a funeral for one of my dearest friends. Many times there were too many beers and late nights spent hovered over the toilets, and more tears shed under one roof than any others combined.
I could fill the pages of a chapter book with all the stories and memories made, and maybe someday I will, but for now we get to celebrate the first 25 years of a place that not only means the world to me, but to a whole lot of people who walked through the doors over the last quarter of a century.
HPL will celebrate this Saturday (Aug. 5th) from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday (Aug. 6th) from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with $1 games and $1 shoe rentals. They will also offer $2 draft beers and $1 hot dogs. Those deals cannot be beat.
Thanks for the first 25, HPL, here's to another 25!!