The young bowlers of today are the stars of tomorrow.
No one knows that better than Weldon Bowers, the duckpin youth coach and director at Thunderhead Westminster. That's why, in addition to the fall/winter season, Weldon has a summer program that runs from June through August for the youngsters.
This is one of the very few summer programs for the youngsters inthe state. They bowl on Thursday mornings and if you happen to walk into the center the first thing, you'll notice you're getting older. Or the bowlers are getting younger. Take your pick.
"Talk to Lisa Rubin," Bowers said. "I think that she's the youngest bowler here."
Since Lisa is only 5 1/2 and was pretty busy knocking down duckpins, it seemed more sensible to talk to her mother, Denise Rubin.
"Lisa started bowling for the first time in this program," Denise Rubin said. "So she's only been bowling for two months."
The Rubins -- Lisa, her brother Michael, 11 (also a youth bowler), and Denise and her husband, Steve -- live in Westminster. Denise works for The Chiropractic Center in Owings Mills, and Steve is sales manager for Westminster Motors.
Lisa, with a 60 average, has a high game of 85; it won't be long before she's matching Denise's average of 104.
"Wait," Bowers cried. "I think that Samantha Pyzik is younger than Lisa."
"Samantha was four years old when she started bowling in June," said Anna Pyzik, Samantha's mother. "She turned five years old on July 22."
Anna works part-time at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, and her husband Sigismund, known as Sig, is a computer consultant for Vips Inc. Samantha has a brother Walter, 6, and a sister, Abby, 9.
All the children bowl, except Sigismund Jr.,who's 18 months old and is known as Siggy. Wait till next year.
Samantha is averaging 47 with a high game of 65, and she'll be starting kindergarten this fall.
"I think it great that the kids can bowlin competition," Anna Pyzik said. "It gives them a team spirit but at the same time they have individual accomplishments."
Weldon Bowers called out again.
"Just a minute. Allison Radoci may be a little younger."
Well, a couple weeks makes a difference when you're 4 or 5 years old.
"Allison was four in June when she started bowling," said Robin Radoci, Allison's mom. "Her fifth birthday was Aug. 10, 1991."
The Radoci family, Robin and her husband, Craig Sr., Allison and Craig Jr. (known as CJ), 6, live in Eldersburg. Robin works part-time for the state of Maryland, and Craig Sr. is a project leader for CitiBank.
Allison has a 31 average with a high game of 62. How did she get
"Allison's girlfriend bowled in the youth league," Robin Radoci. "And Allison wanted to do it, too. I'm glad she likes it so much; I think its just great for the kids."
Weldon Bowers is back.
"Hold it. I think that the very youngest bowler may be Tonya Lafferty."
"Oh, yes," says her mother, Vicky Lafferty. "Tonya was 3 years old in June when she startedbowling. Her fourth birthday was last week, Aug. 11."
The Laffertys -- parents Vicky and Don (also known as Ducks), Tonya and 2-year-old Levi, live just on the Baltimore County side of the line in Upperco. In the fall, Tonya will start kindergarten at Franklin Elementary.
Vicky is an educational consultant for Discovery Toys, and Don isowner and operator of Lafferty's Axle Repair.
So how good is the just-barely 4-year-old Tonya? She has a 41 average and earlier this month threw games of 59, 56 and 64, for a 179 series. That earned her the title of Bowler of the Week and the trophy that went with this prestigious award.
If any of other youngster in Bowers' youth program are younger than Tonya, please don't call. Start your own league. Igive up.
Just in time for the start of the Fall/Winter bowling season, here's another bowling tip by Joe Rineer of Mount Airy Lanes. While Joe is a duckpin bowler, the following tip will work just as well for tenpin bowlers:
Bowling must begin with the mental game. If you're not bowling well, don't panic.
Analyze. This is no time to scrap your entire game plan; this is the time to fine-tune your game.
Start with the obvious, your approach to the foul line. If your approach to the foul line is good, a lot of good things are goingto happen: you'll be on balance, your arm will have a better chance of being close to your body, and it will be much easier to follow through with the ball.
Remember, glide into your slide; too fast or too slow is bad. Smooth and easy is what you're looking for in your approach.
Since there are a multitude of things to be done correctlyfor your game to improve, it helps if you break the long list down into one-word commands.
All your one-word commands must be positive, never negative. Don't think "I'm going too fast." Think, "Slow," instead.
Another example. Relax. this one word should trigger a response to your body to relax without having to think about each separate set of muscles.