White, 12, remains unfazed by competition with elders

November 15, 1992|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer

Joseph White is a pretty serious bowler. He owns five bowling balls, bowls in three leagues and practices five times a week. His average is 184. He's already shot a 278 game this year, tops in his league.

Joe might even bowl more -- if it weren't for his schoolwork.

You see, Joe White is not even a teen-ager yet.

He's 12 years old.

The seventh-grader at Perry Hall Middle School has been bowling tenpins for five years -- he bowled one year of duckpins before that -- and he's improved every year, posting averages of 119, 139, 157, 170 and 184.

He's so good that his father, Leonard White, decided to move Joe from Junior leagues (for those 12 to 14 years old) to the Major leagues for those ages 15 to 21. And Joe White is doing just fine.

He has the league's high game and is close to the top in average and high set (671).

Competing against boys who tower over him in height doesn't bother Joe. He simply says: "They give me more competition" than bowlers his own age.

"The older boys up there [at Perry Hall Lanes], they respect him for what he can do with a bowling ball," said his father. "There's an 18-year-old, a student at Essex Community College, bowling with him."

Leonard White laughs and looks at his son, who smiles the embarrassed smile of a son. Joe White looks not a day over 12. But the 5-foot, 140-pound boy can put a devastating hook on his 14-pound Hammer ball.

Twice now -- in the past two summers -- Joe has qualified for a national tournament called the Youth Games of America. And twice he's won a gold medal in bowling, beating out others in his age bracket from across the country.

In April, he was the top bowler in his age group in Baltimore at a tournament at Kings Point Fair Lanes in Randallstown.

He's carved out his own kind of fame. Last year, for instance, when Leonard White rolled his first 300 game, they put a sign up at Perry Hall Lanes: "Joey White's dad bowled a 300." And not long ago at school, when someone was picking on him, an older student intervened, someone Joe doesn't even know, who said, "Don't mess with him. He's going to be a pro bowler. I saw him over Perry Hall."

Of course, being a pro bowler is something Joe White thinks about once in a while, but it's somewhat in the future. First, he has to worry about middle school.

"I still like bowling and all. I love it," he said. "It's just that my schoolwork and all, I don't have as much time as in elementary school."

A golden performance

Alan Volkman, bowling in the Friday Night Owls League at Fair Lanes Westview, rolled a 200 game in duckpins. For bowling 98 pins over his 102 average, Volkman won a gold ring.

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