Five years ago, when he was 30 years old, George Windisch picked up a tenpin bowling ball; he has no intention of ever puting it down.
"Right now all I want is to get better," the right-hander said. "I practice every chance I get, 10, 12, 15 games a day. I'm looking forward to getting the PBA card so next month I'll start bowling the regionals."
The first PBA regional event for Windisch, a 160-plus-average tenpin bowler, will be in Chesapeake, Va.
Born and raised in Overlea, now living in Essex, Windisch credits his improvement in the sport to his brother-in-law, Richard Reese.
"It's kind of odd," Windisch said. "He doesn't even bowl [due to a back injury] any more but he's like a video camera when it comes to picking up my mistakes. It's amazing what he's done for my game."
What has happened to Windisch's game is amazing. In the 1991-92 season he was averaging in the 180s. In the 1992-93 season that jumped into the 200s. This year his high average is 225, bowling in three leagues at Country Club lanes.
In the Monday Bud Light Classic on May 16, he fired his career high series.
Starting with a perfect game, he threw 11 more strikes in the second game, left a ringing 10-pin with the 12th ball and in the third game rolled nine more strikes. Those nine strikes, however, were chopped up with opens and spares and the result was a 225 game. But that's still 32 strikes out of a possible 36.
That's enough to make anyone start thinking about competing with the professionals. That's where Windisch will be next month, on the lanes in a PBA regional event. That may be the beginning of a new career.
Does he have a shot at making it on the PBA tour?
"Yes," was the answer from Curt Pezzano, manager of Country Club. "I don't know of anyone who has worked harder, practiced more, to develop his game than George. And more importantly, he loves the game. After 14-15 games he comes off the lanes happy, ready for more. That attitude could help him make it on the pro circuit."
A blooming good set
"There's a story about that 261 game," said Jim Flowers Jr.
It's a story about new shoes and a foul and the setting of a record.
The 261 game came up in a conversation about Flowers' latest 500 series, thrown earlier this month in the Tuesday 510 Men's Quad league at Arbutus Fair Lanes.
Flowers, born and raised in the Baltimore area, lives in Arbutus now and bowls in the Tuesday night league and the Monday Quads at Arbutus and is in the traveling league out of Fair Lanes Westview.
Bowling duckpins for more than half of his 35 years, Flowers is averaging 141.
In that Monday Men's Quad league he started with a 213 game, added a 173 and finished with a 168 for the 554, the season high for the league.
But that 261 game was the cornerstone for what at that time was a Baltimore City record for a three-game set.
"It was in May of '89 at Westview," he said. "I had just bought new bowling shoes and that was the first time I ever used them."
In the first frame with the first ball, Flowers fired a strike . . . and fouled as the new shoes carried him over the line.
He stepped back onto the approach and fired another strike; that, of course, was just a 10-pin spare.
Then he started throwing strikes, a lot of strikes, enough to finish with a 261 game, a game that started with a foul.
And he wasn't finished. He tacked on a 210 game and finished with a 153 for that record-setting 624 set.
On Saturday and next Sunday, the National Amateur Bowlers Inc. will present a handicap singles event at Brunswick Perry Hall. First place is $1,000. Information: (410) 256-6300.
* The Duckpin Bowlers Tournament will be at Fair Lanes Southwest next weekend. It's a doubles event with a $1,200 first-place prize. Information: (410) 747-8429.
* The Mount Airy Bowling lanes will play host to the Wayne Logue Memorial Handicap Doubles Tournament on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 10-12. First place pays $600. Information: (410) 829-0710.
* A regional PBA tournament is scheduled at Country Club Lanes July 8-10. Information: (410) 686-2556.