Here’s a look at some of my favorite columns from 2008

As I did my research for last week’s column on 2008, I came across my column from that first week in February. I told you last week that my column concerned PBA bowlers and their place or residence. I also suggested that a similar story was written by me just a few weeks ago.

Seeing that column made me wonder what else I wrote about in 2008. Since I have all my work on my computer, I decided to look up some of them to see what I could remember. Here then is a few of those accounts. See if you recall any or all of these stories.

I wrote about several perfect game efforts. That included 300’s from Samantha Wiley and her dad David Jones. Old friend Ron Yentzer rolled his third career perfect game in 2008, each of which came several years apart. I understand the old “geezer” is not bowling this year due to injury, but hopefully he will be back and as good as ever soon.

Tony Macias was featured in a column when he shot 300, matching the success of his wife Crystal. The circumstances of each of their 300 games were interesting as both were using borrowed bowling balls. Good guy Tony laughingly told me how relieved he was to have finally duplicated the feat that his wife, good naturedly of course, “held” over him for so long.

Last week I told you of a 794 series Carl Bishop had in 2008. That series pales somewhat in comparison to an 846 he shot later that year. Looking back at the latter effort, Carl left a solid 8 pin in the fourth frame of the opener. Converting it meant a 279 game. He then threw nine in a row to start Game 2 only to leave a 7 pin on the first ball of the 10th frame.

He missed that conversion settling for a 267 score. Carl finished with a perfect 300 game. Thirty-two of 34 balls were strikes and he tied Mark Baxter for the highest series ever shot at Heritage Lanes. That is crazy good.

Another column I wrote concerned Heather Butler who shot the highest series for her division in the state of Ohio for the 2007-08 bowling season. The Ohio USBC Women’s Bowling Association puts women into five divisions based on their average. Her 612 series topped the entire state in Division III and she was honored for her efforts by receiving an award in front of league members.

I wrote about a gutsy coaching decision when, for the first time, professional bowlers were allowed to participate in the World’s Men’s Bowling Championships. A dream team headed by Walter Ray Williams Jr. would be coached by one Jeri Edwards.

When Walter Ray — arguably the best bowler in the world — struggled on an oil pattern, she decided to bench him in favor of Rhino Page. Now Page is no slouch, but sitting Williams is akin to telling Michael Jordan that he will NOT be taking the last shot or informing Babe Ruth that he will be pinch hit for in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied and the bases loaded.

It worked for coach Edwards as Page was also picked to bowl the two-frame roll off in a tie game and the U.S. won the gold.

When I first met Wayne Kingery at Dunn’s Lanes I was taken with how nice the man was. Bowling against him one evening, Wayne converted spares in the first four frames. I immediately formulated a column in my head about an all spare game for the elderly gentleman. I inquired about his age and was told that it was his 80th birthday. Now I wanted this story to come to fruition more than ever.

Wayne’s birthday was announced over the PA and it seemed to unnerve him. He had six straight spares to that point, but left the 5-7 split after the congratulations were completed. The story seemed over … or was it. He calmly converted the spare and I’m probably happier than anyone.

He lost his all spare game in the eighth frame, but did so the right way by throwing a strike. Another strike, followed by a spare in the 10th gave him a clean game and a victory over my team.

The column was modified to a near-all spare game, but that was OK. It is difficult to get one of those. One must throw 10 “bad” balls followed by 10 “good” shots. This is tough for anyone let alone an 80-year-old. It was a fun column to write.

Finally, I spied a column about one of the really good guys in the sport of bowling. John Brickner had bowled all his life. He was particularly active in the Knights of Columbus bowling programs and was lauded for his time and service by going into the International Knights of Columbus Bowling Hall of Fame. I attended a reception for John where he received his award and true to form, he modestly thanked everyone for their kind words.

John Brickner symbolizes what is good about people. Always willing to lend a hand, John has had some health issues lately. Here’s hoping John gets better soon. He deserves a speedy recovery.

Al Stephenson is The A-T’s bowling columnist.

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