Today marks the end of the Greater Baltimore Bowling Association's 41st Annual Championship Tournament at Brunswick Normandy. For Gary Shobe and Alan Snyder, the tournament will remain a hallmark in their bowling careers.
On Feb. 27, the opening day of the tournament, both tenpinners threw their first 300 games.
Shobe, a newspaper distributor, lives in Elkridge with his wife, Jean. Bowling for seven years, he carries a 193 average in three leagues -- Monday Mixers, Tuesday Westinghouse and Thursday Get Together, all at Brunswick Normandy.
"I've shot a couple of 289 games," Shobe said. "But I wasn't expecting a 300 game when I stepped onto the lanes at Normandy for the tournament."
On lanes 13 and 14, Shobe used a 16-pound Purple Hammer ball to string 12 strikes in the first game of the set, then tacked on games of 199 and 221 for his career-high set of 720.
"I bowl because it's fun," Shobe said. "If it ever stops being fun, I'll quit. But the big scores can sure be exciting."
Snyder said just about the same thing but with a little more emotion: "When I was throwing the last ball [for the perfect game], I could hardly see the pins. When I saw the last fall, I was simply amazed."
Bowling tenpins since age 4, the Dundalk resident and his wife, Joann, are active in the Never On Sunday league at Country Club lanes. A 301-average bowler, Snyder is president of the league, but says, "I won't be president next year. It's too much."
Suffering from an injury to a finger on his bowling hand, Snyder was further handicapped by using a new ball in the tournament.
"I just bought a new ball a few days before the tournament, and I was having a lot of difficulty in getting used to it in the first two games," Snyder said. "The first was a 156 and the second was even worse, a 147."
The third game was the game that had onlookers muttering, "How can you threw a 300 game and finish with a little bitty 618 series?"
It just took a while for Snyder to get used to the new ball, folks.
The owner of a new business venture, Advertising Resource System, Snyder says, "I bowl to enjoy myself. It's a place to relax, to have fun."
That thought is echoed by Martha Bradley.
"I love to bowl. I bowl three times a week, sometimes four," the retired nurse said.
Bowling since 1961 in her native New Orleans, she participates in the Club 55 league on Tuesday and the Blue Birds at Columbia, then switches to Normandy for the Gems of Columbia league. With a 143 average, Bradley has posted a high game of 214 and a high set of 497.
"We started the Club 55 league with four teams," she said. "Now we have 20 teams of seniors every Tuesday.
That 214 game is the season high for the ladies in Club 55. Bradley was the first president of the league, and her husband, William, is the current president.
"It's a very active group," Bradley said. "It's a very enjoyable league. We have three parties a year and we're planning to have a trip to New Orleans for the Mardi Gras in 1994."
Pete Brehm, secretary of the Club 55 league at Columbia, started bowling 49 years ago. Originally from Elizabeth, N.J., he lives in Columbia with his wife, Alice, who carries a 135 average in the Club 55.
Brehm bowls in two other leagues beside Club 55, the Funtime Anytime and the New Towners, all at the Columbia center.
Throwing a Blue Hammer, Pete carries a 182 average with a career-high game of 279 and a high series of 680. His 245 game and 612 series lead the Club 55 for this season.
Throwing that 612 series allowed Brehm to become the Bowler of the Week with 84 pins over average on Week 24 of the Club 55 season.
There's something new at Brunswick Normandy. The Every Other Week League will be offered Monday and Wednesday at 9:15 p.m. First night will be March 29 and April 7. It's a 20-week schedule at $10 per week. For more information call (410) 465-0355.