As It Happens

He found 158 bowling balls under his house. Now he has to figure out what to do with them 

David Olson was demolishing the rickety back steps of his Muskegon, Mich., home when he noticed something odd peeking out of the dirt. He kept digging and soon uncovered a veritable "sea" of bowling balls.

Michigan homeowner David Olson discovered 'a sea of balls' while demolishing his back stairs

David Olson poses in front of his newfound collection of vintage bowling balls. The Michigan homeowner was demolishing his back steps when he discovered they were supported by a grid-like network of old bowling balls. (David Olson)

A Michigan homeowner says he's feeling "pretty blessed" after finding 158 bowling balls under his house.

"I'm having a good day in the sunshine, and I got plenty of balls," David Olson, 33, told As It Happens guest host Duncan McCue on Tuesday.

Olson was demolishing the rickety back steps of his Muskegon, Mich., home when he first noticed something odd peeking out of the dirt — a blue and black sphere. It was a bowling ball. 

"And then I see another one … and then one after another, I started pulling them out," he said.

"I basically just kept digging as far as I could reach that way, and then decided to go get a sledgehammer and cracked [the steps] open, and that's when I just discovered the sea of balls."

Olson removed dozens of blue and black bowling balls from the back of his home. (Submitted by David Olson )

The stairs appear to have been supported by a grid-like network of bowling balls. Olson counted 158, mostly blue and black, with a handful of "pink and black lady balls," he said.

They are labelled Brunswick Bowling Products, which is the name of a company that operated a bowling ball plant in Muskegon that closed in 2006, he said. 

Olson says longtime residents of the town told him the company used to let employees and their friends take home the imperfect balls they couldn't put on the market. He says the balls he found all have "noticeable defects" and gouges. 

"I'm assuming the previous owner of the house figured out that that was cheaper than dirt and decided to use that as fill instead of sand or gravel," he said. "I think the regulations were a little more lax in that period of time."

The original homeowner, who built the property, has since died, so Olson has no way to confirm his theory. As It Happens has reached out to Brunswick Bowling Products for comment.

The stairs appeared to be supported by grid-like network of balls. (Submitted by David Olson )

While he didn't exactly strike it rich with his discovery, Olson said he wants to make the best of it. He's currently soliciting ideas online for what to do with his many, many balls.

One person on Facebook suggested he use them to line a garden. That's his favourite pitch so far, he said.

"That way I can kind of pick the pretty side and stick that up because a lot of them are pretty beat up," he said. "I was thinking that's a creative way to just store them while I'm trying to think of other ideas."

He's also considering some artistic projects. He might use them to make some sculptures — maybe of lollipops or the structure of a molecule, he said. 

"But before I put any of them into a vertical sculpture, I want to make sure they're not going to fall off and hurt my kids," he said.


Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by John McGill.

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