When bowlers gather, there's always a lot of talk about the highest game, the highest set, the best leftie, best all-around bowler, the youngest bowler and the oldest bowler.

Well, these days when talk drifts to the best youngest bowler and the best oldest bowler in Harford County, things seem stirred up a bit.

Todd Courtney, grandson of Jane Newman, the Bel Air Bowl youth coordinator, is currently in a slump. Last year he had an tenpin average of 68; this year it's down to 34.

But that can happen when you go from using two hands to using one hand and changing the weight fromsix to eight pounds.

Of course, young Todd intends to keep right on picking up trophies as he has in the past -- trophies for most-improved bowler, member of a first-place team, league high game of 120 and six first-place finishes in tournament competitions.

Todd comesfrom a bowling family. The Courtneys live in Abingdon; mother, Ginny, and dad, Ralph, bowl. So do Todd's siblings.

Ralph Jr., 17, hasan average in excess of 160; Kris, 14, carries a 150; Siobhan, 9, has an 86 average. Ralph Sr. carries a 196 and Ginny, who coaches the youth league on Saturday mornings at Bel Air Bowl, has a 183 average.

It was a sure bet that the youngest Courtney would bowl. And bowl he has. He was fifteen months old the first time that he coaxed a bowling ball down a lane and he's been at it ever since.

This year he's finally been able to handle a bowling ball with one hand. It's still a little bit of struggle. But then a lot of things can be tough for someone who just turned six in January.

After all, he didn't winhis first tournament until he was three years old. I can't wait until he gets older -- eight or nine.

On the other side of the coin wefind Larry Hubbel. He lives in Aberdeen with his wife of 48 years, Vergie, and bowls in the Wednesday Church League and the Friday State League at Harford Lanes in Aberdeen. Larry will be 70 next year and he's gunning for his third 300 game.

He just had a second heart attack last week. But a week after his release he was back on the lanes.

That's right, one week after he was released from the hospital he

was bowling. Not just bowling, bowling well. He had games of 226,206 and 198 for a 630 series.

That was no fluke; his fifteen pound ball was hitting the pocket every time. Without some seven and eight pins standing, the series could have been a great deal higher, maybe close to his career high 730 series.

He's had two three hundred games, one in 1981 when he was a youngster and the second 300 game in1988 when he was 66 years old.

Since he's maintaining a 180 average now, I won't bet against him. I don't bet against anyone who has over 50 years' experience and won't let a heart attack stop him. Stop him? It didn't even slow him down.


Tournament news

The WIBC and ABC sanctioned 500 Club Spring Mixed Doubles Tournament will take place Sunday, March 17, at Harford Lanes, 20 Custis Street, Aberdeen, with squad times of 12 noon and 2 p.m.

It's a mixed doubles event with the 500 Club members inviting a male partner.

The female participates must be members in good standing of the Harford County 500 Club and be sanctioned by WIBC. The male partners must be members in good standing of the Harford-Cecil Association and be ABC sanctioned. You only have until midnight today, March 10, to get your entry accepted.

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