OK, ladies, you've been bowling duckpins for a long time, and you'reready to join the pro bowlers. How do you get started?
Kathy Williams of Bel Air can give you some tips. She's president of the Women's Baltimore Professional Duckpin Association -- that's the new name for the old Ladies Professional Duckpin league. A different name but the same high standards of duckpin bowling.
Kathy carries a 133 average. (Her husband, Charlie, a Baltimore County firefighter, carries 137; Kathy's two children, Julie and Jeffrey Gruzensky, are both duckpin bowlers. Julie, 14, has a 101 average,and Jeffrey, 11, has a 99.)
"We're a bowling family," Kathy said.
Kathy has thrown a high game of 223 and a 507 series. As Joe Rineer would say: "The pins don't know if you're a man or a woman or young or old; if you hit 'em right they'll fall."
"I like everything about bowling," she added, "except the fact that the women duckpin bowlers don't get the respect that I think they deserve. We've always had a difficult time getting sponsors, even for the professional leaguewhere you have the best women duckpin bowlers in the area competing."
That's not just boasting; one of the requirements for joining the professional league is an average of 119.
That doesn't assure you of a spot in the pro league; you need to bowl in two open tournaments, either a women's single tournament or one mixed doubles tournament, and bowl in two sanctioned leagues. You don't have to have that 119 average -- but the lowest average in the league is 119 right now.
The 48 bowlers who make up the pro league are drafted. The 12 womenwith the highest averages are the team captains.
Each captain picks her own team in a round-robin style selection.
Kathy, a nurse at St. Margaret's Catholic school in Bel Air, bowls in the Women Pro Triples and the Mixed Pro Doubles at Greenway East in Baltimore County. She urges women bowlers to keep in mind that anyone who meets the requirements can apply for a spot on one of the pro teams.
There are three different bowling centers where the league competes: GreenwayEast, Greenway Glen Burnie and Brooklyn Lanes.
Speaking of professionals, that' the kind of operation that you'll find at Harford Lanes in Aberdeen.
The owner, Bob Marshall Sr., is a member of the Cecil & Harford Counties Bowling Hall of Fame, the first inductee on performance. Bob still carries an average over 200. He's been at the same location since 1963, when he and two partners bought the 20-lanetenpin center that first opened in 1957.
If Bob Sr. isn't there, you can bet that Bobby Marshall, his son, will be there.
Incidentally, the house record for three games is an awesome 853.
Bobby Marshall, who carries a 210 average, shot the first league-play 800-plusseries, at a nice 813. And he's had three 300 games.