Glen Shipe figures that "making a living by throwing a bowling ball is a good way to go," so he is taking the plunge.
An account manager at Pepsi-Cola by trade, the Owings Mills resident has joined the rabbit pack on the Professional Bowlers Association tour after taking a leave of absence from his job.
It is a good way to learn if he can forfeit security for the life of a nomadic bowler.
Shipe averaged 203.90 for 10 games yesterday to finish 27th among 60 qualifiers for the $150,000 Fair Lanes Open at Fair Lanes Woodlawn. It is the second time in three attempts he has made the field.
His performance on a regional tour last season encouraged him to continue. In eight regional PBA tournaments, he cleared $2,800.
"I'm going to try this through the end of the winter and hopefully things will go well enough that I can make it permanent," he said. "I'll give it nine weeks and see what happens."
Shipe is fortunate in two respects. Two friends, Don Cammarata and Nancy DiPaula of Catonsville, are sponsoring him, and his wife, Barbara, is a former member of the women's tour.
"My wife is my coach," he said. "She travels along and lets me know how to fix things in my game and new things to try. She's also does a lot of the driving and makes the reservations."
Shipe, 25, grew up in the Woodmoor area and is supported by a large contingent of local fans, which can't hurt his chances in the big tournament beginning tomorrow morning.
Two years ago, Danny Wiseman of Baltimore won this tournament with a lot of encouragement from the gallery.
"The regionals gave me confidence I could do something out here," he said. "I throw a pretty good curveball. That's why I think I can do this. But I'm a secure type person. I sure would like a job to go back to."
* In this tournament last year at Fair Lanes Kings Point in Randallstown, Del Ballard Jr. needed only seven pins on his final ball to beat Pete Weber. He threw a gutter ball.
Weber took home $30,000; Ballard settled for $15,500.
Last night, they re-enacted the moment with a levity-spiced game for $5,000, courtesy of Kool Cigarettes, which is sponsoring appropriate shootouts at the tour stops. Weber won, 212 to 199.
Weber donated $1,000 of his winnings to the local AIDS fund and Ballard received $1,000 for competing.
As a videotape showed the notorious gutter ball, Ballard rolled a practice ball off the lane for the benefit of a cheering crow