"(It's) backbreaking," Carneol added. "I did it when one of my guys was sick. I did it for about a three-hour party. I'm in pretty good shape, and I was destroyed afterward."

Despite the obvious risk, there's never been a serious injury suffered by a pinsetter in Carneol's 20-plus years at Southport, and a feat he takes great pride in.

"I don't think I've ever had anybody go to the hospital or anything," he said. "The way we tell people is to make sure before they throw the ball is that whenever they see legs, don't bowl. When you see legs in your lane, you do not bowl."

It's a unique feature of his lanes that Carneol acknowledged isn't for everyone.

"People who want a serious bowling experience, they might be a little disappointed because it is slower, the pins are going to be a little less reactive because of the nature of the pinsetter back there," he said. "It's kind of like a kitschy thing."

And while other lanes have long since moved on to sleek automatic pinsetting machines that are more efficient than doing things manually, Carneol said his alley is one old dog that won't be learning any new tricks any time soon. And that's largely because of the city's heritage.

"It's a part of Chicago history," he said. "It's just something that we never even for one second thought of changing."

That's just fine by Dominguez.

"It's difficult but I'm happy."

Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.

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