Father-son duos put up big scores at Glen Burnie center

BOWLING

April 10, 1994|By DON VITEK

"Sure, you hear about a father and son both throwing big games," said Chuck Kelly, manager at Bowl America Glen Burnie. "But two fathers and sons doing it in the same center?"

Francis and Stephen Smoot and Craig and Marc Smith know all && about it.

"The last 300 [this season] was my sixth," said Francis Smoot, the father. "Stephen's 299 was part of his best set, a 753."

Both those scores were shot in the same league, the Saturday Jolly Rogers. Francis Smoot started bowling 27 years ago; Stephen was 6 when he first stepped on the lanes.

Francis bowls in two other leagues, the Tuesday Pioneer Men at Ritchie and the Thursday Bell Ringers at Bowl America. Averaging 208 with an 801 series, he's thinking about joining the PBA Senior Tour.

Stephen, in his second year at Anne Arundel Community College, carries a 200 and bowls in only the Jolly Rogers.

"He does practice about 50 games each week," his dad said. "I started him on the lanes early, and he learned a lot in the YABA."

Craig Smith, assistant manager at Bowl America and a retired Anne Arundel County policeman, began his tenpin career about 12 years ago.

"I shot my first 300 in 1983," Craig said. "This season I've had four 279s. In every one of those games I had to settle for a spare in the seventh frame."

On Dec. 5, the seventh-frame jinx quit working and he fired his second 300 in the Sunday Scratch Trio at Bowl America, one of three leagues he's active in at the center.

"And I sub a lot in the Tuesday Men's Metro league," Craig said. "That's one of the two leagues that Marc bowls in, too."

Craig used a 15-pound Ninja Fury to notch his second 300 game.

"But sometimes I'll still switch to the Ninja Master, if the lane conditions seem right for it. The night I had the 300 I just got locked and everything fell into place," he said.

Marc, 20, works at Bowl America, both at the control counter and on the lanes. Averaging 198, he favors the Teal Rhino in the Saturday Owls and when he subs in the Tuesday night league.

It was March 15, when everything fell into place for him. Owner of both a 297 and a 298 game, he had been close to that magic 300.

"He was on the lane next to me that night," his dad said. "And after he'd strung eight strikes he walked over to me and said, 'It's the ninth frame coming up, Dad, and I'm not even nervous."

After he struck in the ninth frame he turned to his dad on the next lane and said, "Dad, now I'm nervous."

Nervous or not, Stephen stepped onto the lanes in the 10th and fired three strikes for his first 300 game.

And this is one time that the bowler who shot a 300 game didn't have to wait to receive his ring from the American Bowling Congress.

"I just stepped over to his lane, pulled my 300 ring off my finger and gave it to him right there on the lanes after the last pin fell," Craig said.

Tournament news

The National Amateur Bowlers Inc will be at Fair Lane Ritchie in Glen Burnie on Saturday and next Sunday. First place is a guaranteed $1,000. Information: (410) 761-3800.

* Riviera Bowl in Pasadena will present the Best of Bowling Mixed Doubles Duckpin Handicap Tournament on April 23-24 with a guaranteed first-place prize of $2,000. Anyone who breaks an individual world record will collect $5,000.

, Information: (410) 255-3550.

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