Marshall's a winner on and off the lanesHoward Marshall is...

BOWLING

June 25, 1993|By DON VITEK

Marshall's a winner on and off the lanes

Howard Marshall is a regular on the Professional Bowlers Association regional tour and a pro shop employee with a vast knowledge of how and why a bowling ball behaves as it does under different lane conditions.

He is a man who says, with complete sincerity, "Service to the people, to the bowler, comes first. Whatever time and effort it takes to help another bowler is time and effort that I'm willing to expend."

That's Marshall. And he has the credentials to be able to help: eight 300 games, three 800 sets and an average of 228.

You can find him dispensing bowling equipment and expertise at Walt Cervenk's Pro Shop inside Fair Lanes Ritchie bowling center where he's been since September 1991.

Fresh from victories in two leagues -- the Coca-Cola Doubles at Woodlawn and the Eastern Liquors Scratch Singles league at Crown Brunswick -- Marshall, 30, probably is approaching the top of his game.

In winning the Coca-Cola Doubles he was quick to point out that much of the victory was due to his partner, Quinton Cates.

But in the Eastern Liquors Scratch Singles league, he did it all himself. That included leading the league in overall points, average and most top series and beating three excellent bowlers -- Marc Skier, Randy Bozeman and Mike Sinek.

Marshall threw a 223 game against Skier's 210; defeated Bozeman 227 to 225 and rolled an excellent 259 game against Sinek's 206.

That's a 708 series when he needed it to win a $500 bonus. Finishing the season with a 228 average, he banged out two 299 games and a 798 set along the way.

"What I'm really proud of is the last seven weeks of the season at Crown," Marshall said, "I averaged 242 over that period."

Born and raised in West Baltimore, he started bowling duckpins at age 4 in the Edmondson Village duckpin center and in Toots Barger's Liberty Heights duckpin house.

"My mother [Ellen Marshall] was a tenpin bowler and very active in coaching the youth programs," he said. "Of course, she encouraged me to bowl tenpins.

"I started with duckpins when I went to the old Central YMCA in downtown Baltimore. You could play basketball, learn crafts or to wrestle or box, swim and run track at the old YMCA, but it was when we went duckpin bowling that I was happiest.

"When I was 7 years old I started bowling tenpins at [Fair Lanes] Woodlawn and that's all I've ever wanted to do," he said.

In 1983, Marshall qualified for his PBA card. In 1985 and 1986, he hit the PBA national tour.

"It's tough on the pro tour," Marshall said. "It's draining physically, emotionally and, of course, financially -- especially the financial part. I've always backed myself with a single exception.

"I had a sponsor for one event, my third national tournament in which I reached the finals in Toledo and earned $1,300.

"I did well on the national tour when the lane conditions fitted my game. I like the outside line with a back end that's dry."

Now he competes in PBA regional events where the expense is reduced and the events are much easier to attend.

"Last year, I bowled in 11 regionals," Marshall said. "This year, I'll try to make 15 events. I earned about $6,000 in the regionals last year. Cashing for me [in regionals] was just about automatic; winning is a lot tougher.

"Of course, I'd still like to be able to take a year or two and concentrate on the national PBA tour," he said.

In addition to his work at the pro shop, practice sessions and regional stops, Marshall finds time to help with an organization that many people don't know exists.

The National Bowling Association was formed by black bowlers in the days when the American Bowling Congress excluded them.

"Today, TNBA serves many different functions," Marshall said. "Locally, there are about 500 members and, of course, thousands nationally. Anyone can be a member and it differs from the ABC and the WIBC because its members include both men and women.

"It devotes itself to charitable work, raises money for scholarships for the kids, and, of course, runs bowling tournaments for its members."

Marshall will serve as liaison between the national body and the local members in three tournaments this year -- the TNBA Eastern Regional in New Jersey, the Canadian Club Singles in Cleveland and the Bill Rhodman Classic in Delaware.

Thousands of dollars to win

The NABI tournament next weekend is the fourth annual Baltimore/Washington Firecracker Open at Crofton Bowling Centre.

A $7,500 minimum prize fund is guaranteed with $3,000 for the winner. Information: (410) 721-2401.

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