It's a pretty good trip from Mount Airy to Riviera Bowl in Pasadena,but it's a trip that Curt and Kathleen Johnson make every week.
The Johnsons moved to Mount Airy a little over a year ago, but they feel it's worth the 100-mile-plus round trip every Sunday to bowl at Riviera lanes.
"I really enjoy bowling," Curt said, "but I'd like to see more fun come back into the game. It's become very cut-throat."
That might sound like someone with a modest average who gets beat up on when he's bowling, but that's not the case.
Curt's average is in the upper 140s and he's been nationally ranked. He's just repeating something that too many bowlers are saying today: "Where's the fun gone?"
They're right, there's more to this game than high scores and tournaments and national rankings. There's still the pure fun of it, the friends you bowl with, the camaraderie.
That's what Curt and his wifefind at Riviera lanes and why they picked that center to bowl and why they don't mind driving a long distance every week.
One of the reasons the Johnsons picked Riviera lanes for their bowling is that lane conditions are excellent. One of the reasons for that is the personnel. Manager Glenna Grimes is a strong duckpin bowler and a savvy administrator, and she picks her employees carefully.
Case in point:The new mechanic at the Pasadena center is Don Chipley. In November,he replaced Ken Shallue as mechanic, but not before Shallue schooledhim in the function, maintenance and repair of the automatic pin-setters.
Chipley made a great student, something that you would expect from someone who was a jet engine mechanic in the Air Force and later for Butler Aviation and who had just retired after nearly 23 yearsof service with the Maryland State police as both a sergeant and a detective. Chipley lives in Pasadena with his wife, Lorraine.
Chipley, who is assisted by Ray Leeson and Jerry Goodrey, was getting ready to retire from the Maryland State Police when "I saw an ad in a local paper for a young, retired mechanic. I answered it, was interviewed and hired. Ken Shallue took me under his wing and passed on his years of experience."
If you'd like to bowl at Riviera Bowl, you're in luck. A new adult/youth league is forming right now. It will start on Sunday, March 1, and continue for 10 weeks. Starting time is 3 p.m. and the cost is $7 per team. That's not per bowler, that's per team.
Never bowled, or maybe just rusty? No problem. See Glenna Grimesfor free lessons.
"I'd just married Jennie and I was working10 hours a day, so I stoped bowling full-time and was just subbing,"said Nathan Nehrkorn Jr. "Then, my dad, a steelworker, had a problemwith carpel tunnel syndrome and had to give up bowling in the TGIF League at Bowl America Glen Burnie and the Tuesday Mixed at Fair LanesSouthdale, so I'm back bowling in those leagues."
Nehrkorn, an electrician, carries a 187 average with a high series of 753 and a highgame of 279. It's that 279 game that keeps nagging at him. It was the cornerstone of his 753 series and could have been a 300 game.
"I've missed a 300 game about five or six times," he said, "but that game really hurt because I didn't even get the 11 strikes in a row plaque. I opened with two strikes, spared, and took it off the sheet."
Nehrkorn does have one beef besides the elusive perfect game. "With the three units of oil that are being used now, it seems that it's getting harder to score in the late leagues because of the oil carry-down. I know that my ball doesn't snap at the back end the way it should," he said.
Nobody ever said this game was easy.
What, exactly, is a unit of oil? One unit of oil is equal to .0167 cubic centimeters of oil spread evenly over a square-foot area of the lane. The thickness of a human hair would tower 100 units about the surface of the lane.
Now that you know this, tell it to your sliding bowling ball.
NAMI will play host to a tenpin tournament at Crofton Bowling Centre Saturday and Sunday. It's ABC/WIBC-sanctioned, a handicap event, and is being conducted in a great house. For information, call 721-2401.
* The third annual Anne Arundel County Police FOP Lodge 70 bowling tournament will take place Monday, April 6 at Bowl AmericaOdenton. It will benefit the DARE program in Anne Arundel County andis open to all police personnel, active or retired, and police civilian personnel and their spouses.
Teams will consist of five members and will be handicapped at 80 percent of the difference between theperson's average and 200.
For information, call Bill Daywalt at 222-6894 or Sgt. Cecil Chaney at 222-6155.
* The Baltimore Women's Bowling Association is conducting the 36th Local Championship tournament at Fair Lanes Towson on March 7 and is looking for BWBA members who are, or will be, 75 years of age or older in 1992. A WIBC Diamond Jubilee celebration is being planned at the tournament.
For information, call Carol Berndsen at 788-2621.