As I have done in the past, this column will borrow from an old television show called This Week In Baseball. If you are a sports fan, you probably remember the show. It included stories about baseball news, both accomplishments and the mundane. All I have done is change the "B" from baseball to bowling. Let's take a look at what's happening in the sport of bowling.
We'll call the first story "It's Never Too Late." A friend of mine sent me an e-mail titled "Your Motivation." He gave me a link to a video that was really cool to watch. Whether it will inspire me to similar greatness or not is open to question, but it was fun to watch 81-year-old Ray Niedzwiecki accomplish a lifetime dream at the lanes.
The gentleman has been bowling since 1949 (goodness, that is actually before I was born) and had never thrown a perfect game. On this night at Modern Lanes in Exeter, Pa., he was about to try a brand new bowling ball. Now I think that might be impressive as the feat itself as most octogenarians probably aren't buying a lot of new bowling equipment.
His team had already clinched a position in the roll-offs, so trying a new rock didn't seem like a bad idea, at least not to Ray. A teammate however, talked him out of it, suggesting that the team was trying to win as many points as possible. So Ray decided to use his "old" ball and for the first time in his life he rolled 12 consecutive strikes for a perfect 300 game. Someone was on hand to videotape the last three shots and you can hear the buzzing in the house as he got closer and closer to the dream.
Both his 11th and 12th shots tripped the four pin and the bowling alley erupted when all 10 pins fell on that final ball. As for Niedzwiecki, he casually returned from the foul line and quietly accepted the congratulations. Check the internet for the video. It's well-worth watching.
A few weeks ago I wrote about homes that have bowling lanes on the premises. Well, I saw an ad for another one and as a public service I'll pass on the information to you. What, if anything, you can do with the info again remains to be seen.
The "home" has 25,000 square feet. It features eight bedrooms, eight full baths and four half baths, indoor and outdoor pools, a gym, billiards room, wine cellar and has two elevators to take you from floor to floor. It is a Mediterranean-style mansion that is located in Beverly Hills and the price tag is $55 million!
Now the property has a single bowling lane and I would think if you have eight bedrooms to house friends, you might want to add a lane or three, so some remodeling may be in order. Many of you may think for that price tag everything you want should already be included. Though that may be true, consider this.
If you can afford a $55 million dollar property - a small remodeling fee shouldn't be a big deal. Should it?
The last story involves a local bowler from Dunn's Lanes in Fostoria. It took place in my league just this week. I was focused on my own game (or possibly just daydreaming) and didn't notice what was taking place on the lanes next to me until a teammate tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the scoreboard on the adjoining pair.
When I looked at the monitor all I saw were strikes and the bowler, Jim Ramirez, was on the approach to throw his 12th ball. I watched as the ball ripped the pocket and 10 pins went down. The reaction from his fellow bowlers was not as loud as I would have thought, but then Jim turned around and said "now I want that first frame back."
I looked up at the scoreboard again and noticed that he had 11 strikes in a row following an open first frame. Still, the score of 279 was awfully impressive. I soon found out that the score of his first game was 256. Now I am interested to see what he will shoot for a series.
One of his teammates told me that Jim had never shot a 700 series before. I found this hard to believe because he is a very good bowler, but it was true. I stuck around after my bowling was over to watch Jim. A mark in the ninth frame virtually assured his 700, but now he set his sights on shooting the high series at Dunn's for the season. A double and nine would put him on the top of the leaderboard displayed on a nearby wall. Jim fired his first shot in the 10th and again he was solidly in the pocket. But as frequently happens in this crazy sport, he left a nearly impossible to convert 8-10 split.
The best score of the season was gone, but you could not get the smile off Jim's face as his 723 score was his first ever 700. Nice shooting Jim!
I'm not sure which of the above stories amazes me the most: A perfect game for an 81-year-old, a property that really lists for $55 million or a bowler smiling after leaving a pocket 8-10 split. I guess I'll let you be the judge.
Here are the scores from around the leagues.
Alley Cats: Robin Dickman 587, Carla Siebenaller 538, Donna Schriner 514, Kathy Bridenbach 504 and Robyn Wight 495.
Lady Knights: Carol Burmeister 469, Deb Hoerig 465, Marilyn Gangluff 426, Nerita Streacker 421 and Diane Bouillon 407.
Imperial-Majorette: Ben Hoyda 668, Steve Steinmetz, Jr. 656, Bob Eaton 602, Mary Ruggiero 457, Phyllis Riley 443 and Phyllis Hyde 437.
55 Plus: Bill Mizen 576, Bob Reinhart 565, Jim Ruess 550, Rick Hanna 542, Dick Gabel 517, Dave Everhart 516, Ken Gaietto 516, Paul Gosche 509, John Ferstler 449, Jim Ferstler 437 and Jim Donaldson 401.
Twilight: Kevin Fitch 711, Hank Wagner 671, Tom Tiell 647, Steve Barnes 613, Steve Steinmetz, Sr. 605, Rhonda Fitch 532, Robin Brownell 506 and Pat Cook 465.
Sportsman: Greg Tiell 686, Alex Wagner 650, Rich Yates, Jr. 644, Scott Hartsel 622, Scott Ferguson 618, Dick Gabel 613, Rustan Burks 613, Chris Johnson 606 and Rich Yates, Sr. 605.
Al Stephenson is the bowling columnist for The Advertiser-Tribune.
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