Joe Wilson had one of those nights every duckpinner hopes to enjoy at least once in a lifetime.
Joe, a city cab driver, lives in Middle River and bowls in the Sunday Mixed Bunch at Fair Lanes Southwest, where he carries a 126 average. Not world-class, but a steady averagethat has produced a 493 series, only seven pins short of that fabled500 set.
Joe has been the president of the Mixed Bunch for five years and he continues to come back to Southwest to do his bowling, even when it means driving from the opposite end of the city.
"I just like the folks at Southwest," he said, "I'll always come back here to bowl no matter where I live."
Back to that game, the one that made Joe the Bowler of the Month at Southwest. Every box filled with a double header in the last frame. That game started with a four bagger. Joe never let up.
It led to a career-high game of 232.
"I never brokeover nine marks in a single game until that night," he said. "For years, I had a 205 for a high game, and I was just happy that finally Iwas able to beat it."
How long is it going to take you to beat that 232, Joe?
The best game Perk Marshall ever had was a 188, but he would rather be known for the Children's Cancer Fund Bowlathonthat he organized last year and repeated this year at the Fair LanesSouthwest.
Marshall retired from Westinghouse four years ago and began bowling duckpins. He bowls in the Wednesday Morning Senior League and the Thursday American Legion League and is a past commander ofthe American Legion Post 195 of the Baltimore Highlands.
His wife, Claire, carries a 103 average at Southwest. Perk has a 115, with a high series of 412.
Last year, the first year Perk organized the Bowlathon for the kids, he raised $400. This year, the tally was $600.
Next year, who knows?
"I like to bowl, but it can be frustrating," Perk said. "I finally went and got a book on bowling, but that kind of backfired on me. Claire had to tell everybody about it."
Yes, but did she tell everybody that your average went up?
David Kalher is a bit younger than Perk Marshall -- 13 years, to be exact-- and he is the Youth Bowler of the Month at Southwest.
Dave is in the eighth grade at Lindale Junior High and plays second base for the Ferndale youth baseball team. He also builds and collects model sports cars and bowls in the Saturday morning youth league at Southwest, where he carries a 95 average.
Last month, he threw nine marks in a row, opening only in the 10th frame to post a 196 game. That's 101 pins over his average.
"I feel comfortable bowling. I just liketo bowl," David said.
If that 196 game holds up forthe last few weeks of the season, he will be eligible for a $1,000 scholarship, according to his coach, Larry Vandervort.
George Zelinskas, manager at Fair Lanes Southwest, introduced me to Sandy Mize, the new assistant of food and beverages, and Judy Tsay, assistant manager and new assistant in marketing for Southwest.
Sandy Mize has been with Fair Lanes for two years. Her husband, Larry, is a Baltimore City police officer.
"I don't really have the time to bowl now," Sandy said. "And, of course, Larry has a hard time bowling in a league because of his police duties, but it's fun and enjoyable when we can get to do it."
When Sandy was asked if she was doing anything new with thefood and beverage part of the bowling center, she answered, "You bet. Now we have a team platter of snacks, big enough for the whole team, consisting of pretzels, cheese, chips and nacho chips. No more running back and forth to the snack bar forindividual servings."
Priorto her promotion to assistant manager, Judy Tsay was activities director for the center, where she started her bowling management career at the snack bar.
Besides dropping into Southwest to meet Judy andSandy, you might want to take advantage of a new summer program. Join one summer league and receive three free games of bowling per day. Join two leagues and get unlimited free bowling.
The summer leagues are filling up fast.
Donald G. Vitek's Bowling column appears every Thursday in the Anne Arundel County Sun. Bowlers are urged to give Don a call with scores and tidbits at 247-0850.