IT TOOK A WHILE — 16 years -- but in the end, Wayne Jackson had his 300 game.
The 24-year-old Westminster native started bowling at age 8 and now bowls in the Thursday Night Trophy League at County Lanes in Westminster, the Monday Night Bowlers Discount League at Kings Point Lanes in Randallstown, Baltimore County, and is a member of the County Lanes Interstate Traveling team.
Jackson averages 202 with a 16-pound Nitro bowling ball and has rolled "about 15 700 sets," he says. Before Feb. 22, his high game hadbeen 296, the result of 11 strikes in a row and a high hit with the 12th ball.
But when the County Lanes team traveled to Trindle Lanes in Chambersburg, Pa., Jackson had a new high game.
"They had a kinda tough shot at Chambersburg," Jackson said. "And my first and last games weren't anything special, but the middle game was right on the money."
That middle game was 12 solid pocket hits, the elusive 300 game for the surveyor, who works for K.C.I. Technology.
Jane Newman lives in Bel Air, Harford County, and is marketing directorfor Bel Air Bowl in that city. Her son John lives in Lisbon, Howard County, and bowls at Mount Airy Lanes.
It was natural that when Jane visited her son's home, the family
would stop at Mount Airy Lanes to bowl duckpins.
"The last time I bowled duckpin was about 25 years ago," she said. "That little duckpin ball is a lot lighter thanI remember it being."
So what happened?
"Well, the ball is notonly lighter," Jane said, "but there aren't any finger holes in it."
You guessed it. She lost the duckpin ball on the back swing and the ball sailed into the seats.
The good news is, no one was sitting there and owner Joe Rineer wasn't at the center, so he didn't have heart attack. The bad news is, Jane has two grandchildren -- Jessica,4, and Ryan, 5 -- who keep saying, "Grandmom, we though you could bowl!".
I promised I wouldn't tell anyone Jane's score, so I won't mention it was 92.
Joe Rineer's duckpin tip: Here's how to getout of the slump.
First, don't wait until you're in a slump before you do something about it. Develop a game plan, because it is goingto happen.
You must know your basic game, know the distance you travel from the head of the approach to the foul line, exactly how yougrip the ball, exactly how far your backswing travels, how far you follow through, how deep you knee bend is and how far you slide. You must know your ball speed and the speed that of your steps on the approach.
If you can't videotape your performance, learn to visualize your game. Don't wait until you're on the approach.
You must have a game plan before you develop a problem, then program
yourself toreact to the first hint of a slump -- the first bad ball, the first bad frame. The faster you react, the faster you'll return to your correct game.
Concentrate on every ball and learn to bowl defensively, making sure you hit the object pin with every ball.
To find yourmistakes, start at the foul line and work back.
Are you steady atthe line? In the correct spot at the line? Comfortable holding your position at the line?
If not, work back. Study your steps, your pacing, your backswing, your follow through and your knee bend.
Don't throw hard to cover up your mistakes.
Let the ball do the work. Make sure it comes off your hand developing revolutions, since spin, not speed, does the work.
And relax. It's a game.