Persistence finally pays off for Rineer

"To be truthful, I don't remember exactly what I threw that last game," Joe Rineer said. "I know it was enough to win and that's all I needed to know."

Twenty-five years of frustration can do that to you.


Rineer, proprietor of Mount Airy Lanes, a 12-lane duckpin center, has been a bowler since he was a teen-ager. And not just a bowler, but among the best in the nation for a lot of years.

He's won at least 10 of the top tournaments in the country -- the Lord Baltimore three times, the All-Star in 1976 and the Southern Open twice.


"But what I remember the most," Rineer said, "is the six times I've been second [in the Pro Bowlers Association tournaments]. The past two years the seconds have been back-to-back."

Just how difficult is it to win one of the Pro Tour stops? Consider this: It took a 149 average over eight games to cut a field of 150 to 30 at Long Meadows Bowl in Hagerstown, on Aug. 6.

"Things have changed in the duckpin game," Rineer chuckled. "In 1974 I set a world record for eight games in the tournament with 1,256. This year it took almost 1,200 to make the cut."

In May 1969, 25 years ago, Rineer bowled in his first Pro Tour stop. That event, too, was at Long Meadows Bowl.

"After having victory elude me so many years, it was funny to finally win at the same center where the streak began so long ago," Rineer said.

After averaging 156 on Saturday, Rineer made sure of his victory on Sunday.

He won every game he bowled. Nine times in a row he pounded out winning games against everyone who stepped on the lanes with him.

"That's why I don't remember the final score," the Hall of Famer said. "By a fluke my last opponent [Ralph Adkinson] shot a bad game, 109, so I didn't really need much to win. At that point I was kind of numb, I'd had that monkey on my back too many years."


Chances are, numb or not, that he remembered to pick up his $3,000 winner's check. After all it took 25 years to get it. Some victories are sweeter than others.

Practice time at Hampstead

Today and tomorrow is a great time to get some practice bowling done.

Hampstead Lanes is featuring 75-cent games, both duckpins and tenpins, from noon to 10 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday.

"Our season really begins this Tuesday with a tenpin league getting under way," said Karen Wisner, center spokeswoman. "We still have openings in all our leagues -- men, women, mixed, senior and youths. And we have the same staff as last season to serve you."

To join a league call (410) 239-8130 and ask for Wisner or Ginny Blackowicz.