Indoor Sports & Amusements, Baltimore
Pam Shriver is a Baltimore native and a former top-ranked tennis player. During her career she won 133 top-level titles, including 21 women's doubles titles and 1 mixed doubles title at Grand Slam tournaments, and a gold medal at the 1988 Olympic Games.
Annually since 1986 Pam Shriver has held the Pam Shriver Tennis Classic in Baltimore, a charity event that brings junior players, top-tier professionals, and local non-tennis sports stars. I attended the 2008 event which featured stars Elena Dementieva and Serena Williams. Only about 7,000 people paid the $25 or more per seat, but the event did raise over $150,000. Dementieva beat Williams, then they teamed up with Orioles Garrett Olsen and Adam Jones in a mixed doubles match.
Previous tennis stars of the tournament include Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Anna Kournikova, Lindsay Davenport, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles, and Andy Roddick. Other stars who have played in this tournament are Julius Erving, Kenny Rogers, Cal Ripken, Jr., Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Alomar, Brady Anderson, Tony Siragusa, B.J. Surhoff, Mike Bordick, Trent Dilfer and Shannon Sharpe.
The event is held in Baltimore's 1st Mariner Arena.
This "sport," is often in competition with lacrosse and jousting as being the state sport. (Ask almost any native Marylander, and they will be able to answer the question: what is the state sport of Maryland? Hint: it's not lacrosse.)
There aren't many places where you can drink beer--even bring your own--smoke cigarettes, and eat fried foods, while getting a modicom of exercise.
A perfect night can include duckpins at Patterson Bowl, followed by crabs and karoke across the street at Kelley's.
Equipment: Everything is provided to you if you wish to bowl duckpins. Shoes, of course, can be had for a reasonable fee.
Baltimore's downtown arena opened in 1962 and was part of the city's Inner Harbor redevelopment. The arena hosts a professional indoor soccer team as well as about 120 various events each year such as concerts, shows, Miss USA pageants, professional wrestling, and Pam Shriver's annual charity tennis tournament. The arena has 11,000 permanent seats on three sides, but instead of a modern U-shape, this arena is square shaped, so corner seats seem like they are a long ways away from the action. Despite this being a smaller arena with few major draws, concessions are ridiculously high priced, such as $4 for a 20 ounce Pepsi and $7.75 for a medium beer, though the steak sandwich was tasty and reasonably priced at about $6. Parking in the area is also very expensive; we paid $20 to park right across the street from the front entrance.
The arena has previously hosted National Basketball Association, American Hockey League, and indoor football teams. It also has been the venue for some huge concerts like Elvis, the Beatles, U2, and the Rolling Stone. Other significant sporting events that have taken place here include the 1969 NBA All-Star Game, the 1989 National Figure Skating Championships, the 1992 Olympic Gymnastics Trials, and early rounds of 1995 NCAA Men's Basketball tournament.
In 2008 it was announced the city will build a new arena on the same site with a seating capacity approaching 20,000, maybe big enough to attract an NHL or NBA team to the city.
I had never heard of duckpin bowling before this trip, it was created in Baltimore around 1900 and most of the places you can still play it are on the East Coast. The rules are similar to traditional bowling with a few modifications, the ball is much smaller and lighter than a traditional bowling ball and has no finger holes, the pins are smaller and you get three tries to knock over the pins. The object is the same, hurl the ball down the lane, try to knock over the pins and stay out of the gutter! Oh and don't walk on the lanes or you will go SPLAT like a couple of unlucky VTers!
I was teamed up with Lori (loripori), Hansi (waalewiener) and Roman (Dracko), little did I know that Lori was a pro! We lost Hansi at some point and then we lost Roman so Lori and I played for all four of us :-) And although I probably only bowl about once every ten years I somehow managed to get the ball down the lane and even get a couple of strikes!
For more pics of the VT meeting, click here
Equipment: We were allowed to bring our own beer/liquor, not sure if this was because we had a party, so call first and check with them. You can rent shoes for $2 at the bowling alley.