Richard Daff Jr. and Mike Dixon are buddies who bowl together in theSaturday morning Young America Bowling Alliance league at Bowl America Odenton, and they root for each other.
On April 8, 1990, when Richard became the youngest bowler to ever bowl a sanctioned 300 game,Mike was there, rooting for him on every ball.
Last month, at the same bowling center, Richard was there to rootfor Mike when he came close to a perfect game.
In his first game,Mike bowled a 214, and his third game that day was a 178 -- but in between Mike buried his 16-pound Red Hammer ball in the pocket 12 straight times, 11 times for strikes.
The 12th time a single pin was left standing, not the ten-pin, but the four-pin.
But even with that strange tap, Mike finished with a 299 game and the memory that he did everything he could to throw a 300 game. He never choked.
"He had a good hit for the 12th strike," said his father, Dick. "There wasn't any reason for it not to be a strike. But that's bowling."
Howdoes Mike feel about all this excitement?
"Well, I thought that Iwould get a ring for the 299 game," he said. "But I found out that the Young America Bowling Alliance doesn't give out rings for 300 games. I'll get a medal for it, but I sure wanted that ring."
Of course, Richard was right there when the last ball was thrown, and "he just jumped into Mike's arms," said Richard's mother, Patricia. "He wanted Mike to have that 300 game, but he was still thrilled that Mike threw the 299."
Mike, who is a few months short of his 17th birthday, carries a 165 average. Before Aug. 19 he had a high game of 241 anda high set of 638.
He is in the 10th grade at Arundel High Schooland lives in Gambrills with his parents, Dick and Marie. His father is retired from the Army. Marie has a 140 average; Dick's average is 180.
The day that Richard threw his 300 game, Mike's father, was bowling in the same center. The day that Mike threw his 299 game, Richard's father, Richard Daff Sr., was bowling nearby, too.
The Amateur Duckpin Tour is offering an incentive to join its ranks this fall. A doubles league is being formed that will bowl in several centers in the Baltimore area, including Fair Lanes Southwest.
On Wednesdays, starting the first week of October, at 9 p.m., you can bowl in the ADT Doubles League. League handicap will be 80 percent of 300 for the team.
Each team must consist of one member of the Amateur Duckpin Tour. If you are not a member and join the league you will receive a free membership compliments of Fair Lanes.
A couple of weekends ago the ADT had a tournament at Middlesex Fair Lanes, and the first-place winner, 68-year-old Phil Meagher, took home $900.
The second-place finisher was 69-year-old Dave Powers from Richmond, Va., and he won $450.
Donald G. Vitek's Bowling column appears every Thursday in the Anne Arundel County Sun. Bowlers are urged to give Don acall with scores and tidbits at 247-0850.