Like a lot of 8- and 9-year-old boys, Travis Bishop and Shawn Christy want to "be like Mike [Jordan]." But they also want to be like Pete and Amleto.
Travis and Shawn love to play basketball, but they also love to bowl.
Most Saturday afternoons, they watch their favorite professional bowlers, Pete Weber and Amleto Monacelli, on television. Even during the Olympics, the Havre de Grace brothers broke away from Michael Jordan and the Dream Team long enough to bowl with their parents in the Wednesday night Adult-Youth League at Harford Lanes.
For the last four years, Travis and Shawn have been regulars at Harford Lanes. Their parents Diane and Marcel Christy first took them to the bowling alley, because the youngsters were asthmatic and bowling was a sport they could handle.
Now, they are among the best young bowlers at Harford Lanes. But it wasn't always that way.
"When they first started, it took them a whole summer to get to 50," said their father Marcel Christy, an avid bowler for the past 12 years. "At the end of a year, they got to about 100." As they progressed through house tournaments and into Young America Bowling Alliance tournaments, Travis and Shawn kept improving.
This year, Travis rolled a 193 game, the house record for bantam boys. Shawn's high game is 171. He was Harford Lanes Bowler of the Month in November and January.
In May, Travis and Shawn finished second in the bantam boys doubles competition at the 28th Annual Maryland State YABA Championship Tournament in Hagerstown. Shawn was the Harford Lanes house champ in the Grades 2-and-Under division.
Marcel Christy gives credit for his sons' success to Bob Marshall, manager and youth director at Harford Lanes. "Bobby developed them into good bowlers, but they listen to him. They ain't gonna listen to their dad."
Marshall, however, doesn't judge a young bowler's success by his scores. "It's hard to translate ability into numbers," said Marshall. "Their average is higher than most kids their age, but young bowlers can reach that score and not be good. These boys have good physical games. They throw good balls. They're definitely in the top level for their age."
Their averages -- Travis' 114 and Shawn's 112 -- are high, but Marshall said both also have good form for young bowlers. Travis has a high back swing like his idol Weber. Shawn likes to throw a wide hook that curves back into the pins like his idol Monacelli.
Both youngsters are aiming for a 200 game. When they hit that magic mark, their dad -- who has rolled a 289 -- has promised them the bowling ball of their choice.
In the last year, Travis and Shawn have been distracted more and more by basketball. They played their first season of recreation basketball, and they watched their highly-recruited uncle Tony Bishop play at Towson Catholic last winter.
But they still love to bowl.
"I try to show them that basketball isn't everything," said Marcel Christy. "In bowling everyone is evenly matched. You can be tall or short or strong or weak and in the end, the score determines who's best. If we played basketball, I would beat him [Travis] every time."
But can Travis beat his dad on the lanes? "I already have."