Average bowler has a shot at big prizes, just ask Jack Blosser

BOWLING

September 06, 1992|By Donald G. Vitek

One of the great fables of bowling is the idea that an average bowler doesn't have a chance at winning the top prizes in a tournament. Hogwash. Just ask Jack Blosser.

He's easy to find; just stop into the Tankard Restaurant and Lounge at Forest Hill Lanes and talk to the bartender. That's Jack Blosser, and he's the winner of the Forest Hill Lanes Summer Singles Tournament.

The tournament was put together by Dick Dare, the manager of the center, to give all bowlers a chance at cash. It was a handicap tournament, with men's handicap at 80% of 210 and womens handicap at 90% of 210. The contest was open to all bowlers sanctioned by the American Bowling Congress and the Women's International Bowling Congress. It ran for ten weeks during the summer months and drew over 125 entries. When the tournament ended on Sunday, Aug. 9, a stunned Jack Blosser was $1000 richer.

"I've only been bowling for a short time," Jack said. "Last year my buddy, Bob Sweeney, asked to bowl with him in the Thursday Forest Hill Mens league and so I said, 'OK, I'll give it try.' "

It was easy to get a 16-pound Hammer bowling ball fitted and drilled. Jack just went to Pat Dare, owner and operator of the Strikeline Pro Shop inside the Forest Hill center. Then it was onto the lanes and a first season average of 143 with a high game of 279 and a high set of 649. Not bad figures for a first-year bowler. And no drawback when you're bowling in a handicap tournament.

The recent Harford Community College graduate fired a 552 series in the tournament. That's 123 pins over his average series. Add his 159-handicap pins and you have a total of 711 for the three-game series. And a check for $1,000.

It's little wonder that Jack says, "It's a great sport. More people should enjoy it."

David and Marth Davenport have been enjoying bowling for long time; Dave, a retiree from the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, started in 1977 and Martha began in 1978.

The Edgewood residents bowl in the Saturday morning league at Harford Lanes and in the Golden Swingers senior league at Fair Lanes Edgewood on Fridays. It was on a Friday, Aug. 9, that Mar

tha threw games of 179, 256 and 169 for a fine 604 series; that's nine pins higher than the 595 set that Dave threw just a week earlier. How serious are the Davenports about bowling? Just ask Dave how many bowling balls he owns.

"I guess about 20-something," Dave laughed. "I like the Hammer bowling ball, but over the years I've collected a bunch of balls."

How about Martha? "She only has, maybe, six or seven bowling balls."

Oh.

"We work at keeping it nice and doing it right."

That's the motto of Bel Air Bowl in Bel Air, and the man who's responsible for seeing that the motto is more than just a flashy saying is Mick Barlow.

Born and raised in Aberdeen, Mick makes his home, with his wife, Susan, in Bel Air.

"I started working at Bel Air Bowl in 1972," Mick said. "I worked the snack bar, chased pins and for ten years I was the mechanic. I've been manager since 1986."

That's a lot of experience at running at bowling center, and Mick has the bowling credentials to go with it. Bowling since he was 16 years old, Mick carried a Professional Bowlers Association card and still bowls three night a week, the Monday First Nighters, Tuesday Scratch and Friday Mixed leagues. All at Bel Air Bowl, of course.

Mick carries a 199 average with a career high set of 810 and two 300 games. His son, Billy, 19, is averaging over 200 and is looking toward a pro bowling career. He's getting coaching not only from his father but two fine Harford County bowlers, Marty Letscher and Larry Detweiler.

So there you have it, folks, a great philosophy and a man who knows how to implement it.

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