It started with a simple paid advertisement in the Anne Arundel County Sun: MS bowlers seek help.
The ad asked for volunteers, drivers, scorekeepers, ball returners, pushers, folks who can devote a little bit of their time to bowlers who need a little help now and then.
A lot is behind that simple advertisement.
Let's start with multiple sclerosis. MS is a condition marked by hardened tissue in the brain or spinal cord, associated with paralysis and jerking muscle tremor.
That description fits all the members of the Hopeful Wheelers bowling league that meets from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday at Severna Park Lanes.
For many of the members of the bowling league, this is one of the few times that they get out of the house or the nursing home.
"One of our bowlers, Bonnie Rogers, comes from the Eastern Shore to bowl with us," said Sharon Engler. "Our bowlers do everything they can to make it to their league."
Engler should know. Inher first year as president of the MS league, she has suffered from the disease for years and bowls out of a wheelchair.
"Some of us bowl from our wheelchairs," she said. "Some of us can just lean on a chair to throw the ball, and some of us, on good days, can walk to thefoul line."
The league consists of 10 teams of two members each plus the subs, about 25 members in the league if you count everyone.
So if you want to lend a helping hand to some fellow bowlers and pick up a bowling tip or two, call 766-8864 or 761-1323 and volunteer.
If you've never had a 300 game, the best place to throw one is in a tournament. That's what Robert Chassereau did.
Chassereau was bowling in the National Amateur Bowlers Inc. tournament at Greenway Bowl Odenton on Oct. 27 when he got locked into a line and threw 12strikes in row.
"I had a 298 before," he said. "But I never gave a thought to bowling a 300 game in a tournament."
Chassereau bowlsin the Thursday Major Men's League at Edgewood and carries an average in the 190s with a high series of 746.
He's employed as an electrician at Johns Hopkins Hospital and started bowling as a youngster. He's cut his league bowling from four leagues last year to just the one this year, and he competes in tournaments just about every weekend.
"I like the tournaments," he said, "because of the different lane conditions that you find in different houses."
There's also the chance to pick up some prize money. Greenway Bowl Odenton gave Chassereau a mug and $100 for his 300 game. That 300 helped him to finish ninth in the NABI tournament, and that was worth $90.
"I enjoy bowling," the left-hander said. "Like other sports, you need to concentrate. I figure 90 percent of the game is in your head."
True, but ithelps if, like Robert Chassereau, you can throw a 16-pound Red PearlHammer bowling ball with speed and accuracy.
Donna Scott of Glen Burnie carries a 161 average after six years of tenpin bowling, but on Oct. 29 in the Coors Light League at Greenway Bowl Odenton, she, too, was throwing the ball with speed and accuracy.
Barring a solid seven-pin in one frame, Scott would have shot the perfect game. As it turned out she still had the highest single game of her career,a fine 279. And a high series of 617.
"Well, I was just a little nervous," she said. "But I have a good coach, Bob Boeh, and he was right there to steady me."
Boeh knows about being steady under pressure. He's thrown 15 or 16 300 games, carries an average over 220 and has shot an 800 series. If you need a coach, this is the guy to do the job.
Scott gives a lot of credit to Boeh for her bowling improvement, but also she says, "I'm bowling better, because I'm in a leaguewith some really good bowlers. That helps my game a lot."
That's a bowling tip that comes from first-hand experience.
It's a good tip to keep in mind if you're serious about your bowling. And it works.
Some fine duckpin scores have been shot at Fair Lanes Southwest recently.
* Choch Redish of the Colt Corral League had a 200 game, based on a triple-header.
* Dee Ireland in the Tuesday Ladies Scratch League shot a 163 game that was the cornerstone for a 413 series on Oct. 29.
* Chuck Shiflet in the Colt Corral League had a 210 game on Nov. 1.
National Amateur Bowlers Inc. will play host to the Thanksgiving Open Nov. 28-30 and Dec. 1 at Crofton BowlingCentre with a guaranteed first prize of $2,500.
That's a Thanksgiving gift that could make your Christmas holiday.
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.