Tom Gay didn’t know anyone in the ChristianaCare bowling league when he joined in 2008, soon after taking a job a medical assistant and data specialist with the Kidney Transplant Program. At the time, he didn’t really know how to bowl – but throwing strikes wasn’t exactly his goal.

“It was really about meeting everybody,” Gay said.

In the last 15 years, he’s certainly made some progress with the pins. Last season, his bowling team, It Ain’t Personal, won the ChristianaCare league for the 2022-2023 season. But Gay, now president of the league, says the social aspect of the league is just as important as what happens in the lanes.

Tom Gay didn’t know how to bowl when he joined the ChristianaCare bowling league in 2008. Fifteen years later, he’s now president of the league and his team won the 2022-2023 season.

“You get to see how people are when they start and through the season. By the end, they become friends, which I think helps the workplace,” he said.

“It’s the little things that you share like this that may give you that connection.”

On a roll

The ChristianaCare Bowling League has been on a roll for 56 years, striking a balance between competition and camaraderie among its more than 20 teams. The season starts around Labor Day, with each team bowling 96 games over 32 weeks. League games are held on Tuesday nights at the Bowlerama in New Castle, Delaware.

No experience is necessary to join a team in the ChristianaCare bowling league. The season starts around Labor Day and lasts for 32 weeks.

Bowling expertise ranges from people who only come to socialize to skilled bowlers who throw balls down the polished lane with the precision of a surgeon and agonize over a missed pin.

“I look forward to Tuesday nights. For me, coming here is an avenue for getting the stress out. Whatever’s going on in your life, you can take it out on the pins,” said Sherine Velazquez, CPC-A, a staff associate in admitting services at Wilmington Hospital and secretary/treasurer of the bowling league.

What’s a bowling league without cool team names and shirts? That’s not a concern for “Split Happens.” (Check out other fun team names here).

A history of fun

Some caregivers in the league have been bowling longer than their competitors have been alive.

When Carlo Foust first joined the league in the 1990s, only employees could participate. That changed over the years as friends and loved ones were invited to join. The variety keeps the ChristianaCare league so enjoyable, said Foust, who retired as a medical technologist in 2022 but still bowls every Tuesday night.

Carlo Foust is a former ChristianaCare bowling league president. Now retired, he keeps up with friends through the Tuesday night games.

“There’s something to the camaraderie and seeing how people are outside of work,” said Foust, who served as league president for several years before retiring. “I met people through this league I would have never known outside of ChristianaCare.”

Fun the only requirement

Stacey Strazzella, left, found out about the ChristianaCare bowling league from her colleague Tom Gay. She bowls for fun, while her husband, Scott, to her right, a nurse in Infusion Services, is more competitive.

Although she worked at ChristianaCare for over 27 years, Stacey Strazzella, BSN, RN, CCRN, didn’t learn about the bowling league until talking with Gay, with whom she works in the transplant program.

For her, it’s not about competition, but unwinding and having some laughs.

“I’m terrible, but it’s a lot of fun,” she said.