Puns and Fun For Law School Bowlers

Law School bowling league celebrates 10th year with 21 teams

Law Professor Tom Metzloff helped launch Duke Law School's bowling league a decade ago. Photo by Marsha A. Green.

Duke Law Professor Tom Metzloff pumps his fist with glee as his bowling ball crashes into the pins and scatters all 10 for his third strike of the evening. His "Pro Bowlo" team is on its way to another successful year in the Law School's bowling league. 

Above him, scoreboards flash with the names of 20 teams in the league, laden with legal puns to match the lighthearted league fun. In addition to "Pro Bowlo," there's "Torts Illustrated," "Motion to Strike" and "Pin-itive Damages." 

"It's a league, so we are competing against each other, but we are really all out here to get to know each other and have fun," Metzloff said.

Now in its tenth year, the bowling league is an informal way for Law School students, staff and faculty to spend time together outside class. The genesis of the league goes back to Metzloff's casual bowling outings with his law students, a practice he started soon after he came to Duke in 1985. Given his regular appearance at the AMF Durham Lanes, the managers suggested he start a league.

"It started small, but it really took off when the students started organizing it," Metzloff said. 

This fall, the league has 21 teams and bowls at the AMF Durham Lanes  on Wednesday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. The fall session lasts for 10 weeks and play usually revives in the spring for another eight weeks.

To level the playing field between participants like Metzloff, who has been bowling for decades, and students who may be learning, the league uses a handicap system. Bowlers who average below 180 points per game are given bonus points to make their scores more competitive.

"It's a great way to socialize outside of school, and to meet other students and staff," said Nick Atallah, a third year law student who helped organize the league this year. "And because we use a handicap system, we don't scare off the casual bowlers."