As the season heads into November, scores are starting to improve and the strikes are coming a little easier.
Some bowlers have a night that's better than usual. Like Denver Christopher. Christopher, a chemist with a degree from Marietta College in Ohio, works for Hittman and Ebasco, lives in Randallstown and does his bowling at Brunswick Columbia.
"Since I work in Columbia, it's easy for me to go right from work to the center," Christopher said.
Bowling for about 15 years, he's now bowling in the Wednesday Men's Handicap League and the Thursday Mixer. Right now he carries a 212 average.
And last week he threw games of 225, 250 and 277 for a hefty 752 series.
That 752, while a nice set, is far from his high series of 804. Denver's best game is a 290, which is pretty close to a perfect 300 game. One night he threw 21 strikes in a row for scores of 290 and 289. Now that's what I call tough bowling.
Christopher's wife, Phyllis, didn't bowl when they wed two years ago.
But now she's got a 135 average. She bowls in the Thursday Mixer league at Columbia with her husband.
In the northern end of the county, Brunswick Normandy is having some fine scores shot on its new lanes. Gil Pakiz, a Woodlawn resident by way of Wisconsin, had a set of 120 pins above his average of 167. He shot a 621 series, which was good enough to make him the senior bowler of the week for the week of Oct. 18. That's not his best series -- last summer in the senior league at Crown Lanes in Middle River he rolled a 642 set. His high game is 252.
Pakiz bowls in two leagues at Brunswick Normandy, the 55-plus Thursday morning league and the Westinghouse league. He practices whenever he finds the time and uses a 15-pound Ebonite Thunderbolt ball.
"I tried using a lighter ball," he said. "But it just didn't feel right.
I'll just stick with the old ball."
After bowling for more than 50 years, you can bet that Pakiz knows his equipment better than most bowlers.
Pakiz, a retired Army quartermaster says that "bowling is a great sport, but it's getting a little expensive."
Karl Varner is a retired minister. He and his wife of 46 years, Virginia, live in Catonsville. Varner served as a pastor of the United Methodist Church for 42 years and was with the state of Maryland's Juvenile Department for 17 years before his retirement from that position.
Varner, who bowls in the Thursday morning 55-plus league at Normandy, was the senior bowler of the week for the week of Oct. 25. Not bad for someone who is waiting for the softball season to start again.
Last year while playing outfield for the Maryland Mainliners, he played in tournaments in Hawaii, Virginia and Pennsylvania in the 60-to 65-year-old age bracket.
Initially, Varner didn't have any bowling shoes, so he used the center's rentals. He didn't have a ball, so he borrowed a 16-pounder from a friend.
That's the same ball he used while earning the senior bowler title -- though he had a hangnail on his thumb that day.
The day that he became bowler of the week was only the fourth time he had ever bowled.
There have been many fine scores coming from Normandy these past weeks.
Sheri Malinowski rolled a 235 and Mel Malinowski had a 265 game in the Anytime/Funtime league. Terry Logan threw a 247 game on his way to a 706 three game set. John Colbert earned a 257 game and 604 set, Terry Mack had a 209 and a 550 set, and Percy Mack threw a 239 and a 655 set.