Maybe this week's column should be called Celebrity Bowling; the two featured bowlers are both pretty well-known in the area.
Eight-year-old Chrystal Sutherland, who bowls in the Prep Division of the Saturday morning Youth Leagues at Brunswick Columbia, also is a pianist, a model and a beauty queen with a dream to be Miss America.
She's a veteran bowler who started when she was 4 years old. She carries a 92 average, a high game of 124 and a high set of 318. Last year she won the Martin Luther King Tournament in Columbia.
The young lady lives in Columbia with her mother, Jennifer, and attends the Bethel Christian Academy in Savage, where she's in the third grade.
Many of you folks who bowl at Columbia know her grandmother, Jean Stancey.
Stancey's the computer operator for the Columbia bowling center, and because she's been employed there for four years, just about everybody does know her.
"Her dream, really, is to one day be Miss America," Stancey said of her granddaughter. "She's already started on that road." Last month Chrystal was crowned Miss City Queen for South Baltimore.
The next bowler might not be recognized on the street, but you'll know the name -- and you would certainly recognize the voice. Larry Roberts is a newscaster for WBAL Radio, where's he's worked for five years.
Roberts, 27, has been bowling since he was 12. He lives in Catonsville but was raised in Columbia and continues to bowl at Brunswick Columbia Center. His wife, Kendra, doesn't bowl at all but does encourage her husband. When Roberts attended Towson State University, he bowled often while working toward a degree in mass communications. Now, his time is more limited. He bowls in the Wednesday Men's Handicap league at Columbia but has very little time to practice.
"I'd classify myself as a 195-average bowler," Roberts said. "Columbia is an honest house. Tough but fair. And I'm averaging 218 right now." In the 1989-1990 season, Roberts had a 199 average, so you can see he hasn't slacked off.
On Oct. 10, in the Wednesday league, Larry did what every bowler dreams of doing: He rolled a perfect game. He did it in the first game and had the discipline and tenacity to follow it up with 222 and 224 games, for a total set of 746. That was below his high set of 785, but then again, it's difficult to keep popping pins after you've thrown that 300 game.
"The 300 game was a dream come true," Roberts said, "but I really wish I had thrown it eight or 10 years ago. The conditions today make it easier for high scores. But I'll take it."
Of course, he bowls in three or four 700 Club tournaments each year. But other than that and his Wednesday night league, he does very little practicing. It's intriguing to speculate what Larry might accomplish on the lanes if he concentrated on his game.
"As it is right now," Roberts says, "bowling is a wonderful sport. It's a great way to keep friendships alive and to have fun. If there is one thing that I could complain about, it's the fact that bowling hasn't been marketed as well as it could as a sport, as a recreational endeavor. I'd like to see the industry makes strides in that direction." Me, too.
TOURNAMENT NEWS Last weekend at Brunswick Normandy, the Amateur Bowlers Tour took place.
Chris Machen of Baltimore won the event, with Pat Delawder of Riviera coming in second. Andre Robinson of Baltimore finished third; Steve Trepina of Delaware, fourth; and Michael Cerreta of Catonsville, fifth.
Next week I'll answer all of your questions about the Amateur Bowlers Tour: Who runs it, how and why, and how you can join.
IT'S NEW AND IT'S LEGAL
The Handle Grip Ball is a regulation bowling ball equipped with a retractable handle. Upon release, the handle retracts flush with the surface of the ball to produce a true roll.
The ball, manufactured by Ebonite International, Inc., comes in all weights from 6 to 16 pounds. Ebonite obtained the exclusive rights to manufacture the specially designed ball when it purchased Recreation Unlimited, which originally patented and manufactured the ball.
According to Elaine Rebatzke, Women's International Bowling Congress executive, the handled bowling ball can be used in sanctioned WIBC and American Bowling Congress league and tournament competition "in the case of a physical handicap."
However, she added, bowlers wishing to use the ball in sanctioned competition must request special permission from Bowling Headquarters, 5301 S. 76th St., Greendale, Wis. 53129-1191.
Saturday: Keep this date open. Columbia Brunswick is home to a Halloween Bowlathon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association beginning at 9:30 a.m. Pick up your pledge sheet today. Prizes will be awarded for best costume.
Saturday-Sunday: National Amateur Bowlers Inc. tournament at Fair Lanes Towson. Information: 825-4100.
Saturday-Sunday: Amateur Bowlers Tour at Perry Hall. 868-6660.
Nov. 3-4: NABI tourney scheduled for Greenway Bowl Odenton. Information: 551-7100.
Nov. 3-4: ABT at Fairlanes Timonium. Information: 252-3000.
Nov. 10-11: Brunswick Perry Hall NABI tournament. No-tap format. First place estimated at $1,000. Information: 256-6300.