This is for all the folks who never have bowled or who have bottomedout with a relatively low average -- it's never too late to become an excellent bowler.
Hugh Siar, 44, never entered a bowling center until he was 34, but today he averages 216 and is a member of the 700Club. And on Feb. 27 at Bowl America Odenton he fired an 826 series.
Siar is from Iran and arrived in the United States in 1971. In 1982, he discovered tenpin bowling. The first full season that he bowled he carried a 92 average. The next year he averaged 121. The third year his average leaped to 148, and the fourth year it took the big jump to 198.
"I read a lot of books at the public library on bowling," he said. "And an old-timer who's passed on, Will Neal, took the time to teach me, and Bob Griffin, who now manages a bowling center in Georgia, helped me with my game. And I practiced."
Siar bowls in league competition at Greenway Odenton, two leagues at Bowl America Odenton and in the 700 Club tournaments.
It was at Bowl America Odenton while subbing in a Wednesday night league that he threw that fantastic 826 set, and it could have been higher.
His first game was a300; that was followed by a 247. The third game started with nine strikes. In the 10th, he buried the ball in the pocket and watched in disbelief as the four pin stood rooted to the lane. The 279 that he shot for the third game easily could have been another 300.
"One of the few things that I dislike about bowling is the bowler who has a great night and says, 'I really bowled great' and the next night when he bowls badly says, 'The lane conditions are terrible,' " Siar said."It seems that 95 percent of the bowlers have an excuse when they don't bowl good but never mention luck when they're bowling great."
Wendy Young, 15, a duckpin bowler, has too much fun to blame anything or anybody when it comes to bowling.
Of course, her average of 119 is higher than her mom, dad and younger sister. Her mother, Karen, has a 112 average and her dad, Ron, carries a 115.
Her sister, Kristy, 12, who attends Chesapeake Bay Middle School, has a 95 average, but I've been told that she'll be catching up to Wendy quickly.
Wendy has had a high game of 180, and in March at Riviera Bowl she threw a fine 415 set in the Friday-night Sun Valley Mixed League. That set was built around a 164 game.
Wendy is in the 10th grade atChesapeake High School, lives in Pasadena and with her partner, Jennifer Alcorn, has won six of seven tennis matches for the Chesapeake High School team.
She started bowling about six years ago and does a lot of subbing at Riviera Bowl. She throws a 3-pound, 10-ounce ball.
Leila Wagner of Annapolis is among the competitors at the $45,000 Lady Fair Lanes Open, which started Monday at Fair Lanes University in Adelphi.
Wagner, a native of Lynwood, Calif., is married to Marty, an airline pilot, and their son, Ryan, is just over a year old.
Wagner started bowling when she was 11, and this is the 13th year that the right-hander has been a professional bowler. In 1983 she set the Washington state women's average record with 219. In Houston, she shot a record 814 three-game series. In 1979, she became the youngest bowler -- 18 -- to win a WIBC National Tournament.
The Lady Fair Lanes Open can be seen tonight with the stepladder finals at 7:30 on ESPN. If you would like to stop in at the Fair Lanes University and watch the finals, tickets are $10.
Donald G. Vitek's Bowlingcolumn appears every Thursday in the Anne Arundel County Sun. Bowlers are urged to give Don a call with scores and tidbits at 247-0850.
* Greenway Bowl Glen Burnie
Joyce DeSaulniers 125/357
Kathy Leonard 147/355
Bea Colhauer 142/369
Wednesday Nite Quads
Carol Laumann 138/380
Jeff Baber 139/341
Jeff Edelblute 152/408
Nonie Carden 145/370
Lynda VanKirk 121/356
Joan Cook 126/336
Wednesday Carefree Ladies
Carol Miller 140/397
Margaret Parker 132/355
Doris Weber 130/346
Greenway House Majors
Howard Granger 188/483
Jeff Francis 182/479
Joe Novak 216/472
Carroll Lloyd 165/471
U.S. Coast Guard
Butch Dorr Jr. 160/453
Brenda Wenger 135/391
Ron McKenna 139/406
Ben Ray Jr. 159/393
Cookie Hatfield 129/360
Butch Dorr Jr. 172/468
Steve Paesch 168/445
Spike Ferguson 158/442
Cathy Lynch 149/418
Buck Buchanan 135/342
Frank Moore 147/369
John Joslin 132/347
Claude Todd 132/336