Jim Hill is ready to take the plunge.
"I'm filling out the papersfor the pro senior tour right now," Hill said. "It's time."
He's right. Officially, bowlers must be 50 or older, carry a 190 average and have recommendations from two touring players.
Unofficially, the desire to bowl against the best is needed, too.
Hill isa self-employed carpenter from New Windsor who "stopped bowling for over 20 years" before returning to the game he loves, tenpins. He bowls in four leagues -- Wednesday Scratch at County Lanes in Westminster and Tuesday Bucks and Does, Thursday Men's and Friday Mixer at Thunderhead Lanes in Taneytown.
Hill carries a 196 average with a career-high series of 773 and two 300 games to his credit.
That 773 and the 300 games play a big part in Hill's decision to try the senior tour. The 773 was thrown just a few weeks ago, consisting of games of279, 248 and 246. That 279 could have been another 300 game -- just the 10 pin stood in the seventh frame.
Two weeks later, in the Tuesday Night Bucks and Does league, Hill strung 11 strikes in a row. You guessed it, the 10 pin stood in the 10th frame, robbing him of another 300 game.
"We went into the pit and retrieved that standing 10pin and presented it to Jim," said Kay Cook of Thunderhead Taneytown. "Two standing 10 pins in a two-week span is just too much."
Hillthrows a 16-pound Blue Hammer and is basically a down-and-in shooter, "but if I have to swing it, I can."
While Hill likes the Hammer line of balls, he recently bought a Phantom because "with more centers putting down a long oil condition, I've found that the Phantom works well for me."
That's what you need on the pro tour: the ability to adjust to different lane condition, the right equipment for those conditions and the ability and desire to compete with the best.
Good luck, Jim. And may the 10 pin always fall for you.
There are just 12 lanes in the Mount Airy duckpin center, but they recently had more high scores there than perhaps any center in the Mid-Atlantic area.
On Feb. 25, Curtis Boteler threw a 508 series. The following night, Jim VanFossen banged out a 504 series. Two days later, Claude Sier had games of 212, 159 and 133 for his 504 set.
That's three 500-plus sets in four days in the same center.
Paul Snyder and Judy Arnold teamed up for first prize of $500 in the Thunderhead Taneytown Duckpin Doubles Tournament.
Their total pin fall was 1,069, just 13 more than the 1,056 of Doreen Blizzard and Don Bollinger.
Don Matthews and Bobby Eckenrode are leading the $1,000 Scotch Doubles tournament at Taneytown with 772. Sheldon Colwell and Tony Mathews are second with 764.
Don and Tony are cousins, but Don spells his last name with two T's and Tony uses only one. Which way is correct? Hey, I'm staying out of this one!
The finals of the Scotch Doubles at Taneytown are today.
The Hampstead Bowling Center is forming a new summer league, which starts the first week of May and ends in late August.
The league bowls Fridays at 10 a.m. and is called the Atlantic City League -- because at the end of the season, there will be a bus trip to Atlantic City for league members.
How's that for a fun league?