Sick game? This doc makes house calls

BOWLING

April 11, 1993|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer

This bowling doctor makes house calls.

Your game is a little sick, face it. Your expensive urethane strike ball is hitting the pocket, but you're not carrying the tenpin. And then you're Bowling

missing the tenpin. Not only that, you're rubbing the skin off your thumb.

What can you do?

You always could fight through it, like a bad cold.

Or you could call the bowling doctor.

Bernie Smith, 55, isn't actually a doctor, but to those who know him, he's a fine bowling instructor. He has helped quite a few people improve their bowling games over the years, including some local professional bowlers, including Marty Letscher of Bel Air.

"Any time I'm having trouble, I go right to Bernie," said Letscher. "He's got a really good eye."

Not only is Smith a good bowling instructor, but he also doesn't charge for lessons. The students pay only for how many games they bowl during an hour's instruction.

And he makes house calls.

Smith, who lives in Cockeysville, normally operates out of Fair Lanes Timonium, but he will come to your bowling center to help you with your game.

What makes Smith so good? Well, he grew up in Baltimore bowling duckpins, of course. When he went into the service in the early 1960s, he never had actually seen tenpin bowling before. He remembers going bowling with some Army buddies.

"I walked in and I'd never seen a tenpin bowling ball before," Smith said. "I didn't know what it was. When I saw that big ball, I thought, 'This game is going to be easy.' But it's not."

Since that first encounter with tenpins, Smith has studied the game and discovered he has a real knack for spotting problems in other bowlers' games -- although it doesn't always translate into helping his own game.

"I don't teach when I bowl, and I don't bowl when I teach," Smith said. "Because people will say, 'You're not doing what you told me to do.' I say, 'That's because you have a better teacher than me. I can't see myself bowling.' "

He has other rules of instruction, too: One student at a time, because everyone is different. He likes the one-on-one instruction, where he watches and advises, and the student bowls and listens.

The two biggest problems he sees with most bowlers is they have never learned the basics, and they don't have a pre-shot routine, to help their rhythm and timing.

"Having a routine is very important," he said. "Most people don't have one."

How a person throws a bowling ball, and how it reacts on the lane, is contingent on so many variables, he explained -- everything from the oil pattern, the heat and humidity, and the individual bowler.

Studying all of those things makes instruction fun for Smith. "I never charge people money for instruction, because I get as much enjoyment out of it as I do bowling. . . . Bowling is a constant, constant learning game. You never, ever know everything about it," he said.

Freeman wins first ADT

After bowling in the weekly Amateur Duckpin Tour for six years, Leroy Freeman finally won a championship last week at Fair Lanes Arbutus. Freeman beat Wally Warfield, a three-time champion, 133-155, in the final.

Freeman, 35, of Baltimore, won $900, and Warfield of Perry Hall collected $450 for second place. Mickey Corcoran of Baltimore finished third, Ray Holton of Baltimore was fourth and George Kruger finished fifth.

Bowl to help the homeless

The Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland is planning a Bowl-A-Thon to benefit the state's homeless at Baltimore-area bowling centers on April 24.

Persons who want to participate should call (410) 539-7322.

The deadline for getting sponsor sheets is April 19. Shoes and ball are free to bowlers.

State youth tournament

TTC

Jason Fick of Glen Burnie missed winning the ninth Annual Maryland Tenpin Bowling Council Youth Invitational Tournament at Hagerstown last weekend by three pins. He shot a 1,241 set over six games, just below John Feeley's 1,243 set.

Feeley is from Hagerstown, as was the winner of the girls division, Angela Belella. Yvonne Burdette of Edgewood and Danielle Johnson of Baltimore finished second and third, respectively.

Country Club scores

Timmy Pearson, rolling in the Starfires league, shot a 769 series (232, 258, 279).

John Fantini, who owns the pro shop at Country Club, rolled a nice 289 game in the Baltimore Classic Scratch league. Jeff Wong shot a 276 in the same league.

Troy Baker, bowling in the Sunday Niters league, hit a 286 game. Willie Hall shot a 276 the same night. And, Tom Bowling shot a 721 set (226, 238, 257) in the Maryland Law league.

*

If you know an interesting bowler, or have an good bowling story to tell, please call me at (410) 494-2944, or write to The Sun, 1300 Bellona Ave., Lutherville, 21093. You also can fax letters or scores to (410) 494-2916. Please enclose a name and phone number for verification.

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