The Young American Bowling Alliance, a nationwide tenpin organization devoted to introducing youths to bowling and to developing their ability, has 18 Master Instructors on its national roster.
Cary Pon has just been appointed a Master Instructor for the Mid-Atlantic region.
"Being named Coach of the Year by the Baltimore-area YABA was great," Pon said. "Being selected as a Master Instructor is unbelieveable."
Being chosen as the local Coach of the Year (there are 20 tenpin centers in the local organization) is a great honor, and with that honor comes the opportunity to compete for the national Coach of the Year.
"I enjoy teaching the kids," Pon said. "I've been doing it for about 15 years."
Pon, born and raised in the Baltimore area, lives in the Parkville/Hamilton section and is a free-lance computer consultant.
Bowling in three leagues, the Monday Drug Trade league at Perry Hall and Tuesday and Thursday at Country Club Lanes, Pon carries a 197 average. His high game is 289, high series 749.
"I've been at Country Club as a coach for five years," he said, "And I'm the youth coordinator for the center."
Country Club has approximately 300 youths entered in its YABA Saturday morning program, and Pon has 30 coaches to help the youngsters with their games.
"We have several young coaches, 14 to 17 years old, that teach the younger kids," Pon said. "And the young coaches do a great job."
It's easy to see why Pon gets coaching honors.
"I don't just tell the youngsters what to do on the lanes," Pon said. "I make sure that I explain why they should do it a certain way, a reason, not just a command. And, of course, it's so important to stay with the basics when you're teaching younger bowlers. It's on sound basics that they can build a solid game, a game that will last them for their lifetimes."
One ball, one night is enough
Roy Harris has cut back his league bowling to one night a week.
The Dundalk native lives in Perry Hall and bowls in the Monday Drug Trade league at Fair Lanes Perry Hall.
Bowling for "about 30 years," the tenpin bowler has not only cut back on his league bowling but has cut back to the basics on his equipment.
"I carried over 220 when I bowled a lot," he said. "Now one night a week is enough."
And so is one ball.
"I use a 15-pound Columbia Torq," he said. "That's it."
That's enough. The Greater Baltimore Bowling Association Hall of Famer is still averaging 213. His career high series is an 828 posted in the 1991 GBBA Master tournament; he has thrown six 300 games.
In the recent Cecil-Harford Counties Bowling Association's 36th annual tournament at Fair Lanes Edgewater, he scored 2,146 for nine games to take the All-Event Scratch title, edging Mike Dawson of Aberdeen by six pins.
Getting closer to 200 game
Linda Mize of Owings Mills bowls duckpins in two leagues, Monday and Thursday nights at Bowl America Reisterstown.
She has been throwing a duckpin ball since she was 15 years old and carried a 112 average last season; this year, she improved to 118.
"I'm just having a good year," she said. "I'm really trying to get a 200 game. That's something that I really want."
In the past season in the Monday Carroll Squares league she pounded out a 181 game; in the Thursday league she fired a 191 game.
Bowling in the Duckpin Bowlers Tournament at Fair Lanes Southwest last month, she just about had the 200 game in her pocket.
With a 182 posted in the ninth frame and spare already marked up in the 10th frame, Mize needed just eight pins for the 200.
"I chopped out the 1-5-6 pins," she said. "Just cut the middle right out of the rack. But I'm close!"
For now the 195 is her career high individual game.