Last year Mel Malinowski carried a 190-plus average at Brunswick Normandy Lanes. This year that average has grown to over 200.
And that's just part of the story.
Mel, an Ellicott City resident and son of the Normandy center manager, Carol Malinowski, works for Varsity Body Shop and bowls at Kings Point on Friday nights, at Normandy on Sunday nights, and in the center's Wednesday Anytime/Funtime league. Mel, 27, had been a youth bowler who quit the game for several years, but returned about five years ago.
Last November, he threw 11 strikes in a row and came in just a tad high with the 12th ball, leaving a 4-9 split and finishing with a career-high 298 game. On February 12, he fired a 278 game as the cornerstone of his career-high 757 series. Last Sunday night he banged out 10 strikes in the first 10 frames.
"In the past month or two, I've shot seven 700 series," Mel said. It all started when he hadthree new Hammer bowling balls custom-drilled, he said.
"Since then, I've been burning up the lanes," said Malinowski.
There you have it. Being an excellent bowler is more than just practice. Having the correct equipment, properly fitted, is extremely important.
* In the case of Jeannie Allen of Ellicott City, it's nice to have the help of friends, too.
Marty Smith and Pete Waskiewicz, both bowlers at Normandy, have been great teachers, Jeannie said.
"They have helped me go from 147 to a 167 average in a very short time. And I can't forget Bobbi Dunlap -- she's been a big help to me."
Jeannie, a union carpenter, has been bowling for about 10 years, and just two years ago switched to a fingertip grip. Now, with coaching from Smith and Waskiewicz, she's starting to throw some excellent scores inthe Wednesday Captain and Crew league and the Sunday Young Adults league at Brunswick Normandy. And it helped that she just had a new Brunswick Phantom bowling ball drilled two weeks ago.
How well is thegame going?
Great. On Feb. 5, Jeannie shot a 270, a 174 and 216 for a 660 series. That 270 is a career high. On Feb. 12, subbing in the
Social Security League, she had a 260 game as the keystone for a600-plus series. And on that same Wednesday in the Captain and Crew League, Jeannie shot games of 230, 225 and 211 for a career-high 666 series.
"The only thing that I did differently was to concentrate," Jeannie said. "Usually I'm running up-and-down the center talking to everybody. This time I just concentrated on the game. Now I'm looking for that 700 series."
Betcha she gets it soon.
Kerry Simms, 9, has a pretty good coach, too. The fourth-grader at Stevens Forest Elementary School bowls in the YABA youth league Saturday mornings at Brunswick Columbia. One of his coaches is his dad, Tommy, who happens to be a pretty good bowler with a 193 average.
"Kenny will ask me to go bowling just to practice, he likes bowling that much," said Simms.
And it shows. Kerry has a 133 average with a 169 high game and 424 series. And he still finds time to play a little soccer.
There are all the ingredients to improve your game: practice, goodcoach, proper equipment.
Here's a good deal to get started practicing:
Join a summer league and during June, July and August you can bowl for 29 cents a game any time except after 6 p.m. Saturday. If you'd like to join this late in the regular season, you can do that, too. Brunswick Normandy has a Sunday Sinner league starting today at 3:30 p.m. and continuing for 14 weeks. It's for four persons to a team and at a cost of $9. Call 465-0355, or better yet, just drop in and get started bowling.
Don't forget to catch my radio show on WCBM/AM, 680 on your dial, Sunday from 6 to 7 p.m. That's "The Best of Bowling," with news about ducks and tens.