"I never realized what a demanding sport wrestling was until I watched Don Jr. and the Old Mill High wrestling team in action," said Don Patterson Sr.
"The only wrestling I ever saw was the stuff you seeon TV. When I heard that Old Mill's wrestling team was trying to raise money, I wanted to help. Since I know a lot of bowlers, the first thing I thought of was a bowling tournament."
That's how the Don Patterson Presents the Holiday Scratch Tournament was born, with an open invitation to the best bowlers in the areato take a crack at the guaranteed first prize of $500. And with $5 of each entry fee going to the Old Mill High School wrestling team.
The tournament took place Saturday and Sunday at Greenway Bowl Odenton Lanes.
It was natural for Patterson to think of bowling as a way to raise money for the wrestlers. He's been bowling for a long timeand carries a 213 average in the Pioneer Men's League and the Beltway Classic League at Fair Lanes Ritchie and the Thursday night League at Greenway Bowl Odenton.
He has a high series of 825 and has thrown seven 300 games.
If you know Peggy Tully, assistant manager at Greenway Bowl Odenton, then you know that she was deeply involved with this tournament, which is expected to become an annual event.
Don Patterson Jr., 15, a 189-pounder on the Old Mill wrestling team, doesn't have time to bowl any more. School, wrestling and the Navy Sea Cadet program take up just about all of his time.
"Coach (Mike) Hampe just walked up to me one day last fall and asked if I'd like to wrestle," Don Jr. said. "I said, 'Sure I'll try it.' "
He's on the junior varsity team and has one victory in his first two matches.
Hampe thinks that Don Jr. will turn into a pretty good wrestler.
"I look for attitude, balance and aggressiveness in a wrestler," Hampesaid. "One of the teachers at Old Mill told me that Don could be just the kind of young man that I could use on the wrestling team. He was right."
Old Mill had been invited to a meet in Virginia to face some excellent teams. But it's expensive to travel. Enter Don Patterson Sr. and the bowling tournament. The proceeds from the tournament will help pay for the Patriots' travel expenses.
In the tourney, Brian Bennett of Perry Hall beat Jeff Harding of Frederick, 279-196, for first place. Edward Buco of Glen Burnie had the highest game, a 289in the qualifying rounds.
Buco is retired from American Telegraph& Telephone Co. and currently is communications manager for the Peace Corps in Washington. He bowls in the Tuesday Night Men's Handicap League at Greenway Odenton and the Wednesday Night Pioneer League at Bowl America Odenton.
He carries a 213 average, with a high set of 794. His career-high game of 289 was matched in the tournament. In that 796 series, he threw 19 strikes in a row but couldn't deliver a 300 game.
"I love this game of bowling," Buco said. "And I like golf. These are two games that you can play as you get older and still enjoy."
The third annual Greenway Youth Invitational Tournamentwill take place Jan. 26 at Greenway Bowl Odenton.
Divisions will be for pee wees, ages 2-6; bantams, ages 6-8; preps, ages 9-11; juniors, ages 12-14; majors, ages 15-18; and seniors, ages 19-21.
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.