Columbia resident Ron Doub thinks the senior PBA tour might not be out of his reach.
He once carried an average over 220, but that wasbefore he developed tendinitis and had a rotor-cuff operation. On the mend now, Ron is maintaining a 200 average in two leagues -- the Triples league on Thursday nights at Fair Lanes Kings Point in Randallstown and the Anytime Funtime league at Brunswick Normandy on Wednesday.
"I did drop down to a 15-pound bowling ball," said Doub, "but it doesn't seem to hurt my game. I'm at the age where the senior tour ison my mind, and my game does seem to be coming back."
Looks good to me. A little practice and his average could jump higher quickly. Ron already has claim to an 804 series, numbers very few amateurs eversee. Earlier this month marked the second anniversary of his fourth 300 game.
Ron, who works at Westinghouse, says he has been bowling"for about 30 years, I guess."
Things are buzzing in the Brunswick Normandy Club 55 league on Thursday mornings.
George Reed, 67, started bowling duckpins about 30 years ago and now, of course, bowls tenpins. Reed lives in Ellicott City with his wife, Charlotte, who bowls in the Tuesday Morning Rookies and carries a 128 average. Both husband and wife bowl in the Club 55 and the Rookies league. George Reed has an average of 158.
"I use an 11-pound ball now," he said. "I have a bad shoulder, and the lighter ball makes it a little easier on my arm."
It doesn't make it much easier on the pins, though. In the Tuesday morning Rookie league on Nov. 5, George threw games of 170-228 and 227 for a career-high series of 625. Earlier this season, he had a career-high single game of 235.
That's not bad bowling for anybody. It's great bowling for someone who's had four heart attacks and triple bypass heart surgery.
Nora Bazzell, who never bowled in a league until she joined Club 55 about eight years ago, celebrated her first 200 game earlier this month.
"And with a little luck, I could have had two 200 games in the same set!" she said.
Bazzell had a first game of 133, then her career-high 201 game and came back with a 177, for a a fantastic 511 set. That series was about 150 pins over her average.
Bazzell, a retired safety equipment saleswoman, lives in Ellicott City and bowls in the Thursday morning Club 55 at Brunswick Normandy with her teammates, Edith Babcock and George Thornton. It's still early in the season, so there's no way to know what Nora plans to throw the rest of the year. Stay tuned.
Henry L. Parker, 88, came north from the coast of North Carolina many years ago.
He used to play a little baseball and shoot a littlepool, and 17 years ago he started bowling. With a 131 average, a high game of 224 and a high series of 529, his numbers are about averagefor a senior bowler.
But what happened on Oct. 24 in the Club 55 league was not average. Parker converted the most difficult split in tenpin bowling, a 7-10, in which the only two standing pins are on opposite ends of the lane, and the bowler drops both.
You might haveseen legendary pro bowler Mark Roth do it on television, and you know that the sportscasters still talk about it. It's a split the average bowler doesn't really try to make -- and for good reason. The splithas to be hit exactly right with a lot of speed. Those pins weigh 3 1/2 pounds, and it's difficult to bang one into the pit and across 40inches of lane into another one.
"I threw the ball hard and just clipped the tenpin on the gutter side and that did it," Parker said.
Parker, a retired meat packer, has been bowling in the Club 55 league at Normandy for 12 years. He also bowls at Brunswick Columbia on Tuesday mornings.
"I bowl because it's fun and I like the other seniors that bowl," he said. "We have a nice bunch of people in the senior leagues, and everyone gets along well."
Parker is tall, lean and moves with the easy grace of an athlete. What he did in convertingthat 7-10 split will make a lot of bowlers try a little harder when it pops up on their lane.