Early in the first game Monday night, I noticed a bowler on the adjoining lanes. She had good form, though being left-handed everything seemed backwards to me. The ball was released and it arced neatly into the pocket. Ten pins went down, and I was impressed.
Having never seen the lady before, I checked the name on the scoreboard. Dawn Davis is what I read. The name sounded familiar, but it seemed like it was three or four years ago I was seeing her name on bowling honor rolls frequently. I don't remember seeing it in recent years. Turns out there was a reason for that.
As I struggled to a robust 150 first-game score, Dawn fired a nifty 194. My problems continued in game two, and after watching her throw a strike late in that second game, I suggested to her that she would be welcome to throw my ball. Dawn laughed, and said she was having enough problems throwing her own ball.
Somehow I got distracted and didn't see her finish to the second game, though I knew she was scoring well. I asked her what she shot and found out it was a 211. Scoring was difficult for both teams on my pair of lanes, and it seemed no one was going to break 600. Dawn, on the other hand, was on her way to that coveted plateau. A story was brewing in my head. The only person to shoot 600 on this night was
Somehow in game three I managed to throw a turkey, and it was Dawn's turn to ask me if I wanted to throw her ball. She said she was struggling. Her spare-strike-spare start is not necessarily my idea of struggling, and the story in my head wouldn't go away. My concern was whether she would get the 600. Would she cooperate and stay on top of her game?
Dawn was born in Warren, Mich., and her father was a bowler. Dad bought her a bowling ball when she was a kid, and she bowled one year in a league. The ball then was put into storage for a while.
She buries her shot in the fourth frame. The pins go down. Perhaps she is going to cooperate.
Dawn left Michigan when she married a fellow who became a career military man and her long journey began. From Michigan to Tennessee to South Carolina to California and eventually to the Buckeye State. When and where would she end this odyssey?
Fifth frame and another strike. I'm now rooting unashamedly. Yes, more for my sake than hers.
One of the Davis' first stops was Memphis, Tenn., where for some odd reason she never got to see the Peabody ducks. Actually, she was not even familiar with the creatures, and if any of you are not either, look them up on the Internet. They are cool.
Sixth frame and another pocket hit. That would be a turkey, and it's time for me to start writing the story in my head.
Her husband's Marine duties takes him to Beaufort, S.C., and some friends talk her into bowling. She unpacks that old bowling ball and takes to the lanes again.
"The ball was so old that pieces of it flew out of the thumb hole when I threw it," she chuckled.
It's now the seventh frame and the 600 series seems likely barring any serious misfortune. Dawn's now on a roll. Ten more pins go flying. A hambone! She may not know a story about her exploits is taking shape, but I surely do.
Lemorre, Calif., is the next stop in the Marine family's life. It was here her bowling career took off. She was bowling with a couple of guys who happened to have PBA cards. She couldn't figure out why they could hook the ball so easily and she couldn't. Dawn asked for advice and was told she needed to switch to a fingertip ball.
"I got the ball on Friday morning and went to a tournament that night," she told me. Entering the tournament with an average in the 140's, she goes out, averages 211 and takes second place. In California someone was heard to utter the words "a star is born."
Eighth frame. Mark it down. Another strike. I applaud.
Dawn and her husband are on the move again. This time it is to Tiffin as he becomes a Marine recruiter. With a mother's pride, Dawn points out she has two sons currently serving in the Marines. For Dawn, Tiffin offers a chance to resume her bowling activities.
The foundation frame awaits. Dawn swings into action again, and the result is another shot to the pocket. The pins don't stand a chance. That would mean six in a row with the 10th frame left.
I'm finished bowling now, and I head for a seat behind her where I can chat and watch the finish. That's where I learn the reason for not seeing her name in the last couple of years. She shows me her thumb. It is red and swollen. It made my thumb hurt. It looks that way because she has rheumatoid arthritis. It became so painful she quit bowling some three years ago.
New meds have allowed her to bowl this year, at least on a limited basis. Every week would be too much, and that makes this story all the more fascinating. This game is hard enough when you bowl regularly. To come out and shoot this well as a part-timer is astounding.
I tell her to finish strong as she takes to the approach for the 10th frame. Three times she releases her ball, three pocket strikes. She ends the game with nine straight strikes for 270. I'm not the only one clapping now. Her series is 675. That's the best score on the four lanes where I'm located at, and the best score in her league. Talk about cooperation.
Great shooting Dawn. It was fun to watch. Here's hoping you can bowl more often.
It seems only fair we start with Dawn's Imperial-Majorette League, where her 675 tops the charts. Steve Steinmetz Jr. had 655, Steve Steinmetz Sr. 539, Deb Nominee 537 and Dale Bentz 520. Scores from the Sunday Night Rock N Roll League includes Dirk Nimocks 671, Gary Golden 670, Mark Phillips 636, Tim Bollenbacher 608, Beth Jones 608, Bob Steele 607 and Chelsea Rosenbalm 533.
Tom Tiell led the Rocket League with 668 while Tyson Shope had 656, Steve Barnes 651, Tim Sturgill 650, Eric Vanover 648, Dave Hohman 625, Martin Klingshirn 608 and Virginia Vanover 526. In the Wednesday Morning League Aaron Sherman shot 657, Dave Jumper 617, Tyson Shope 611, Mark Huffman 606 and Deb Fields 550. Greg Tiell shot 686, Nick Kent 659, Chris Peck 641, Mike Kimmet 631, John Streaker 626, Rich Yates Jr. 608 and Ron Yentzer 606.
Dave Ross fired a huge 746 series to top the Big 8 League. Jeff Smith shot 686, Carl Wilson 684, Bob Wilson 674, Ken Bauman 656, Charlie Fitch 642, Chuck Jones 638 and Richard Campbell 636. In the Alley Cats League, Robin Dickman shot 589, Sue Stine 521, Nita Doran 504, Carla Siebenaller 504, Jani Hartzell 479 and Jan Houk 477.
At the K of C Lanes, Bennett Paulus shot 602, Doug Snyder 571, Steve Reser 526 and Herb Sendelbach 517 in the Senior League. In the Lady Knights League, Sandy Troiano had 426, Julie Fortner 419, Marilyn Gangluff 401 and Madonna Gase 400. Scores from the 55 Plus League included Jim Ruess 574, John Ferstler 535, Mike Ditslear 529 and Dick Gabel 486.
Al Stephenson is The A-T bowling columnist.
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