Matt Trecannelli has a 16-pound AMF Bobcat bowling ball that's too heavy for him to use. But don't try persuading him to give it up: The 9-year-old third-grader from Hickory Elementary School will hold ontothe ball until he can use it.
"I'm keeping the ball in my closet until I can put it on display," Matt said. "Pete Weber gave me that ball, and maybe someday I can use it when I'm a professional bowler."
How did a little guy living in Bel Air get his hands on a superstar's bowling ball? Pretty simple: Weber gave him the ball.
Peter Weber has a reputation as the Peck's Bad Boy of bowling. It's an undeserved reputation, but it's a perception many people have.
Weber is an intense competitor on the lanes; he's scrappy and he's good, and he knows he's good. If you think about it, that's the definition of a champion.
Off the lanes, Pete is a young man you'd be proud to have as a friend. That was the side of Pete Weber that Matt andhis dad, Andy Trecannelli, saw at the $150,000 Fair Lanes Open tournament at Woodlawn Lanes Feb. 21.
That was the night Matt had his first opportunity to see his hero in person. It was also the night that Pete Weber had to qualify for the stepladder finals on national television Saturday.
On qualifying night, the centers are always jammed with people; you're lucky if you can get close enough to even see any of the action, much less get to watch the stars of the tour.
But Matt and his dad got a break.
"I was just getting ready to put Matt on my shoulders so he could see better when a man walked up to me and said, 'Why don't you take him right down front.' He was pointing to the front row of seats just behind the bowling area," Andy Trecannelli said.
Those seats were next to Kim Weber, Pete's wife, and as close as you get to the bowlers when they're on the lanes.
PeteWeber, the defending champion, advanced steadily, and with every strike, the youngster from Hickory could be heard crying, "Pete! Pete! Pete!" And Weber, that villain, would turn and smile at the little guy.
Pete Weber threw a bunch of strikes and a 258 game to make the finals. When the dust had set tled, Matt stepped and asked Weber for an autograph. Pete gave him two, said "Wait a minute," walked to the ball return, picked up his 16-pound Bobcat bowling ball, turned and handed it to Matt.
"This is yours," he said.
"Mr. Weber, that's not necessary," Matt's dad replied.
"Yes it is," Pete said. "He's been cheering for me all night, that ball is his."
You can bet thatevery Saturday morning, you'll find Matt Trecannelli on the lanes inthe Prep Division of the YABA at Bel Air Bowl swinging a 16-pound AMF Bobcat bowling ball.
And if you believe in fairy-tale endings, maybe one day he'll be standing on the same lanes as Pete Weber, in a PBA tournament.
Just two weeks after winning the NABI tournament at Seminary Lanes, Alexandria, Va., Bob Briggs of Bel Air finished fifth in the NABI tournament at Rinaldi's Riverdale lanes.
"There was long oil at Riverdale," Bob said. "It made for a tough shot, and the best that I could throw in the stepladder finals was a 155. ButI cashed."
For guy who had given up on bowling and is just in thefirst season of a comeback, Bob Briggs is doing OK. The Harford Community College student is still using the Columbia U-Dot that he received for Christmas and, while bowling in only one league at Forest Hill Lanes, is maintaining a 168 average.
The Baltimore Women's Bowling Association held its 36th annual championship tournament at Fair Lanes Towson last weekend. Bel Air's Kaye Duman, known as Casey, was one of 44 women 75 years old or older honored as part of the Diamond Jubilee of the Women's International Bowling Congress.
Yes, Casey Duman was there for the 36th tournament -- and she was there for the first tournament.
Duman bowled in the very first BAWA tournament, at Overlea Lanes in Baltimore County, in 1956, just three years after first picking up a tenpin bowling ball.
Still throwing an 11-pound ball, the 78 year-old lady from Bel Air bowls in two leagues a week.
"I always said that if my average fell to 140, I'd quit," Duman said. "Right now, it's 137 and guess what, I ain't quittin'!"
That's what you'd expect from a woman who, with her husband, George, owned the first bowling pro shop in Maryland, running the Bowler Pro Shop for 17 years.