Thirty years ago Sam Rothman put a duckpin bowling ball into his daughter's hand. Anita Rothman, now of Carney, has never put it down for long.
"My dad started me bowling at the old Northwest lanes on Reisterstown Road," she said. "My first league was at Fair Lanes Pikesville. I've never lost my love for duckpin bowling."
Not even when cancer struck in 1991. After surgery, Rothman returned to the lanes.
"I just wanted to enjoy bowling again," she said. "I missed a lot of the 1991 season and I just wanted to get back in competition after the surgery. I've always bowled because I love the game, because of the friends I've made."
Rothman has a long string of bowling triumphs in her past, but she says that she's lost her "killer instinct; I've mellowed out."
It would be difficult to convince her peers of that.
The Hall of Famer averaged 142.128 in the 1992-93 season to become the Baltimore Duckpin Bowlers Association Female Bowler of the Year. That topped the second-place bowler by almost two pins.
At Fair Lanes Westview in the Dowda Doubles Tournament with partner John Crunkleton, Rothman helped post a world-record 1,657 for a five-game set.
Throwing a pair of 3-pound, 10-ounce, 4 7/8 -inch duckpin balls, she has a career-high game of 233 and holds the Baltimore City record for a three-game series with 583.
RF "This year I'm bowling just the one league," said Rothman, a Balti
more City math teacher. "That's the triples on Tuesday nights at Edgemere with Janet Hunt and John [Crunkleton]. I won't have enough games to qualify for Bowler of the Year but that's all right. After 30 years [of bowling] I wouldn't say I'm burned out, just a little tired."
And with nothing left to prove.
Fixtures in Reisterstown
Lily Tunis, with 21 years of service, and Evan Vance, with eight, continue to be fixtures at Bowl America Reisterstown.
Tunis, born in Cumberland and currently living in Ellicott City, has managed the split house on Reisterstown Road for 15 years. She bowls in two tenpin leagues, the Tuesday Early Bird at Bowl America Reisterstown and the Thursday Get Together league at Brunswick Normandy.
A shoulder problem has forced Tunis to drop the weight of her bowling ball from 14 to 11 pounds, which has hurt her average. That average, at one time, was in the 160s.
"The doctor wants me to quit bowling," she said. "But I'd miss it, so I keep on doing it despite the pain."
And she keeps busy in the bowling industry. She's president of the Maryland State Duckpin Proprietors Association, on the board of the National Duckpin Bowling Council and a past president of the Baltimore City Duckpin Proprietors Association.
"I guess I've been bowling for 32-33 years," he said. "I started with duckpins at Fair Lanes Liberty, then bowled tenpins for several years and about five years ago started bowling ducks again."
As a tenpin bowler he posted a career-high game of 279 and a high set of 681; as a duckpin bowler in two leagues, the Tuesday Friendship league and the Thursday Gloria Reshel Memorial League at Bowl American Reisterstown, he carries a 134 average. His high game and set are 198 and 492, respectively.
That's what it takes to keep a split house (20 lanes of duckpins, 20 lanes of tenpins) operating at maximum efficiency -- folks who know both sports, and have years of experience.