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3-D Bowl: How They Roll

3-D Bowl gears up for another season as it hosts leagues, friends and families from all over the region.

The crowd is going wild. The sweat trickles from your forehead. The ball seems to roll at a snail’s pace. It’s your third strike and … you’ve won! The crowd might be composed of your family or friends, and maybe the stakes aren’t very high, but with the friendly and competitive atmosphere at 3-D Bowl in Island Lake, you’ll feel like you belong to a league. And if you like that feeling, you can join one there!

It’s been more than 50 years since the De Laurentis family began what has now transformed into a bowling phenomenon. 3-D Bowl — which works in cooperation with Sideouts Bar & Eatery — received its “3-D” name from the three De Laurentis men who began the business: Jerry De Laurentis Sr., Jerry De Laurentis Jr. and Jerry Jr.’s brother, Salvatore, built the bowling lanes in December 1960. Now the third generation, Jerry De Laurentis III, has full ownership of the alley.

Throughout the years that 3-D Bowl has been established, the family has made a few changes like the addition of eight more lanes, automated scoring on touch screens and adjoining the bar from Sideouts.

A League of Their Own

Today, 3-D Bowl rolls out the red carpet for approximately 25 leagues, including United States Bowling Congress-sanctioned bowling leagues like Lenny’s Wednesday Night Men’s League, Sunday Morning Hangover and Kings & Queens, a co-ed league. With some league categories ranging from 4- to 7-year-olds all the way to adults, anyone and everyone is invited to get involved.

“We want to make sure we pair bowlers with the right kind of league so they feel comfortable,” said Brad Zent, bowling alley manager.

Phil Dustin, treasurer of Lenny’s Wednesday Night Men’s League, has been competing on the same league for 17 years at 3-D Bowl. The St. Charles native said he never expected to bowl on a more advanced level.

“I heard about the leagues at Sideouts from a fellow golfer,” he said. “He was short a member on his league and I’ve been here ever since 1995. There’s a bowling alley a mile down the street from my house, but I’d rather make the hour drive to 3-D Bowl.”

Dustin isn’t the only bowler to make the trek to the heart of unforgettable bowling experiences right outside of McHenry County.

“We have bowlers who come weekly from places like Elk Grove Village and Wheaton,” Zent said. “There are some folks who come from Michigan every year to bowl in the spring tournament. People travel a pretty good distance to get here.”

The leagues run for 34 weeks from the beginning of September until the end of April. Each league offers a different commitment level: there are every-other-week leagues 17 weeks and even once-a-month leagues eight or nine weeks for busier bowlers.

“What’s nice about the Saturday once-a-month leagues is that you can enjoy the band and a few drinks afterward,” Zent said. “It’s a great night out.”

Have a Ball

For more family-based entertainment, 3-D Bowl offers its glow-in-the-dark cosmic bowling sessions, which run in the fall on Saturdays from noon to 2 p.m. and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. During the upcoming Halloween season, the alley hosts Bowl Your Bloody Brains Out featuring red bowling pins and sweet treats for the kids.

It also hosts corporate parties, especially around the holidays.

“We’re good for corporate events because we’re so versatile; we have the bar and private rooms,” Zent said. “We have bowling and several other sports and games available to our guests. And our food is better than at most bowling alleys.”

In addition to bowling, visitors can choose to participate in fall volleyball leagues, darts leagues, Baggo tournaments, bocce ball competitions and even a NASCAR league.

Another special bowling event hosted by the alley is candlelight bowling fundraisers, which benefit charities in the region.

“When we don’t have leagues on the second shift of Saturdays, we do quite a bit of fundraising,” Zent said.

The unique factor at 3-D Bowl is its personal approach to guests. The staff wants to get to know every person who walks in and make the visit a comfortable and entertaining one, Zent explained.

Dustin, who is on his way to a perfect 300-point game, said that’s a large part of the reason he is loyal to 3-D Bowl.

“It’s a beautiful atmosphere with a lot of fun people,” he said. “Between the bowling, the volleyball and the bar, there’s no other place like it.

“I think the best way to describe it would be like the classic Cheers song [“Where Everybody Knows Your Name”] at its best,” he added. “Great people, great food, and it feels like home.”

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