Dedication. Determination. Talent. That adds up to perfection. In tenpin bowling that's a 300 game. And Wayne Hough of Mount Airy can tell you they don't happen by accident.
"I've shot 300 in practice but this is the first sanctioned 300," he said. "It's been a long time coming."
Well, yes and no. . . . it depends on what you consider a long time. There are folks who have been bowling 20, 30, 40 years and never notched a 300 game. Even now, under what many bowlers consider great conditions for high scoring, 300s are still pretty rare. Heck, there are bowlers who have been bowling for years and years and have never seen a 300 posted.
Hough never picked up a bowling ball until he was 49 years old.
That's when he had to give up playing basketball. Today, nine years later, Hough is averaging 210 at Normandy Lanes in league competition and is bowling in the PBA's Senior Tour against the finest bowlers in the nation.
That didn't happen without a lot of hard work.
"Wayne Hough is probably the only guy I know that's near my age that practices more than I do," said Ed Lanehart, a senior bowler. "And I practice a lot."
You can find Hough most afternoons at Normandy trying to perfect his game.
"I throw at least 70 games a week," the attorney turned real estate entrepreneur said. "It's not unusual for me to boost that total to 100 games some weeks."
This past 1992-93 season, Hough had shot eight 700 sets and nearly threw an 800 series.
Using a 16-pound Columbia Torq ball, Hough was finally able to pound out a 300. It happened July 8 in the Happy Hour Doubles league at Brunswick Normandy.
"Then he started the next game with eight more strikes," said Terry McDonald, league coordinator at Brunswick. "Everyone in the center was watching him and rooting for him.".
That's 20 strikes in a row before the string ended; that still added up to a fine 265 game.
"I knew I needed a 235 game for the 800 set," Hough said. "And I've needed that much or more for some of the 700 series so I felt confident that I could make it this time."
But anyone who bowls tenpins knows how quickly lane conditions can change.
"The lanes dried out," Hough said. "And all of a sudden I couldn't hit the pocket, the condition was completely different."
He finished with a 216 game, short by 19 pins for the 800 series. That makes two goals that Hough has now that the pesky 300 game is out of the way -- an 800 set and a win on the PBA's Senior Tour.
Watch this space, it might not be long coming.
TOURNAMENT TIME: County Lanes in Westminster Shopping Center will be the host of a six-game Scratch Singles Tournament Sept. 6, Labor Day. Bowl six games across 12 lanes. The tournament starts at 11:30 a.m. For information call (410) 857-1977 or (410) 876-8430.