Abey Abend, in the words of his wife, Jody, was due.
What had been due was the record-breaking 719 series thrown by the Taneytown man, a plumber with his father's C. E. Abend Plumbing Co.
He was bowling in the Harrison High Roller League at Thunderhead Westminster Dec. 12 when he tossed games of 226, 235 and 258. The 719series didn't break his personal high of 758, but it did break the house mark of 711.
Abend also bowls in the Men's Commercial League on Mondays, and his current average is 193 with a high game of 290. He uses a 16-pound Columbia White Dot.
Abey, his wife, Jody, who works at Thunderhead Westminster, and their daughter Ashley, 7, are natives of Carroll County.
"I had the high series in 1979," Abey said. "Then someone took it away from me. It took me this long to get back. Now they'll have to come after me again. That's what bowling is all about."
Some of the youth bowlers at Thunderhead Westminster are doing pretty good, too.
Danny Smith, 10, a fifth-grader at William Winchester Elementary, lives in Westminster with his mother, Terry, and father, Dan, and does his bowling in the
Youth League on Saturdays.
Danny started bowling duckpins about four years ago and just last year switched to bowling tenpins. He caught on quickly.
Usingan 8-pound ball, Danny threw a 204 game last month. That's 84 pins over his 120 average.
Now Danny has a new 10-pound bowling ball, which Danny Haines of Thunderhead Taneytown drilled for him. Haines is a master ball-driller, so there's no telling what feats Danny Smith will accomplish next.
"I'm going to keep right on bowling," Danny said. "Just keep practicing and keep getting better."
I'll bet on it.
Mike Johnson, 14, bowls in the Saturday morning Youth League atThunderhead Westminster, and on Dec. 8, he tossed a 230 game.
Mikehas been bowling for three years, uses a 10-pound ball and had a high series last year of 561. His average is 144.
The Johnsons -- Mike, father Mike, mother Katie, two sisters and one brother -- live in Aspen Run, just a few miles from Westminster. Mike is in the ninth grade at McDonogh School in Baltimore County, where he plays soccer andbasketball.
"We're both named Mike," his dad said. "But I gave young Mike a different middle name so he would not be a junior. It's too confusing."
Young Mike said, "I don't get to practice much (bowling), but I really enjoy the game. I intend to bowl for a long time."
When you've only been bowling for three years, you're 14 years old and you're tossing 230 games, I guarantee you'll be bowling for a long time.
That's a great start for a young man. Hey, that's a great start for anyone.
On the subject of great starts, let me introduce Mike Grata. An 11-year-old sixth-grader at St. John's in Westminster, he lives in New Windsor with his mother, Martha; father, John; and sister, Andrea.
Martha bowls in the Wednesday morning Ladies League at Thunderhead Westminster, and that's where Mike bowls duckpins.Mike had a brief but excellent
career in gymnastics (he was ranked fourth in the state in his age group in 1989) but has given up that demanding sport for baseball, basketball and duckpins.
He plays shortstop and pitches for the Dodgers in the Winfield Youth Baseball leagueand is a point guard for St. John's.
If I were Mike, I think I would start to give more time to duckpins. Mike has a 110 average in the Saturday morning youth league at Thunderhead, and while that's a niceaverage, it appears to be just the start for him.
Last month, he threw a 190 game that was the keystone for a 460 series. What's going to happen when Mike gets big enough to throw a 3-pound, 12-ounce ball instead of his current 3-pound, 8-ounce ball?
It'll be exciting.
The second half of the bowling season is getting ready to start at County Lanes in Westminster. Two mid-season leagues are forming right now -- the Friday mixed league started Jan. 11 and the Sunday afternoon mixed league starts today.
The last two weeks of January will see the doubles tournament get off the ground at County Lanes. One of every 15 bowlers will cash in at the end of the tournament. Squad times will be after every league and on weekends.