"I'd like to thank Larry [Burnham] for having a great condition on lanes 23 and 24," Larry Martin said.
Larry Burnham is the lane man at Fair Lanes Ritchie, and lanes 23 and 24 are special to Larry Martin. And, yes, it's very unusual for any bowler to compliment a center for having a great shot setup in the house.
But then, it's extremely unusual for a bowler to fire two 300 games on the same lanes in the same tournament on the same day.
That's exactly what Larry Martin did on July 18 in the Fair Lanes 28th annual Washington/Baltimore Doubles Summer Tour at Fair Lanes Ritchie on lanes 23 and 24: He shot two 300 games on back-to-back squads that Saturday evening.
"They're the first 300 games I've ever thrown," the Glen Burnie resident said. "I've had five 297 games, and I was tired of hearing the guys accuse me of choking."
The assistant supervisor for Mount Royal Management bowls in two leagues at Ritchie, the Beltway Classic on Friday and the Pioneer Men on Tuesday. He carries a 205 average with a high set of 780.
Neither of his series with the 300 games approached that 780. Martin threw a 220, 300 and 165 for a 685 series and came back with a 221, 300 and a 204 for a 725 series.
Martin has been bowling for about half of his 27 years. Now, his wife, Tammy, has started to bowl and is averaging 149-plus.
After so many chances at 300 without a 12th strike, what did Larry change?
"One thing I did was leave a lot of room for the ball to come back into the pocket," Martin said. "Every other time I'd let the ball come up heavy on the head pin. And I'd use an X-caliber bowling ball that I had drilled by Walt Cervanka. Walt's pro shop is right here in Ritchie, so I went to him, and now my hand is coming out the ball much cleaner. And I'm using a 15-pound ball instead of 16 pounds. It seems to get out on the lane better."
Anything else? Well, now Larry Martin is starting to think about a PBA card. Two 300 games on the same evening will do that to you, I guarantee it.
* Larry Williams is not thinking about turning pro, but he is thinking about what to do with his jackets. Williams, an assignment clerk at Fort Meade, lives in Odenton with his wife, Kay, and bowls in the Monday Funmakers at the Fort Meade bowling center.
He bowls regularly in the NABI tournaments, and NABI gives the first-place winner a jacket. Of course, they also give the winner a check for at least $1,000. But back in March, after his first NABI victory, Williams said, "The money's great, but what I really wanted was that NABI jacket."
Now, it's five months later and Williams is the winner of the NABI tournament for the second time. This victory took place at Fair Lanes Annapolis on July 19. Now, Williams is stuck with two jackets.
Larry is averaging 189, and his high game is 278, his high set is 701; and Kay's doing pretty good, too. Kay, a teacher at Fort Meade Elementary School, bowls in the Teacher's League at Bowl America Odenton and has an average of 133.
Last week, Larry and Kay celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary.
"I'm going to keep right on bowling in every NABI tournament I can," Larry said, "because you never know when you're going to get hot. I was in a terrible slump for weeks and, suddenly, I'm bowling good and winning. I guess the key is to never quit, never to give up when your game's bad, keep bowling, and your game will turn around."
It works for Larry Williams. Now, the problem is closet space for all of those NABI jackets.
NABI will be at Crofton Bowling Centre Aug. 28-30 for the Inner Circle Club Tournament. There will be $20,000 guaranteed prize money. Don Vitek's Best of Bowling will be broadcast live from the concourse on Aug. 30 at 5 p.m.
The third annual Team Classic is continuing at Suburban Bowlarama in York, Pa. Qualifying will continue through Aug. 23, and on Labor Day weekend, the top 30 teams will compete for four new 1992 Pontiac Lemanses and $2,000 in cash.
The third annual Country Club Classic Tournament is continuing until Aug. 22. The tournament is in three handicap divisions: "A" for 200 and up bowlers, "B" for averages of 180 to 199 and "C" for 179 averages and below. First prize is $4,000.
The Maryland State WBA Queen's/Princess' Scratch/Handicap Tournament will take place Sept. 19 at White Oak Lanes in Cumberland. Entries are closed Aug. 15.
The Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour Regional Open will be sponsored by Greenway Bowl Odenton, Aug. 7-9. You can bowl with the lady pros on Friday, Aug. 7. Youth and adult Pro-Am squads will bowl that evening.
On Sunday, Aug. 9, Don Vitek's Best of Bowling radio talk show will be broadcast live from the concourse of Greenway Bowl Odenton.
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.