Barbie Bryant has been bowling tenpins for "about four or five years."
The Ellicott City native now lives in Catonsville and bowls two nights a week -- Sunday's Colts and Fillies and the Wednesday Social Security league at Brunswick Normandy.
For Bryant the league bowling is a way to escape the pressure of her work; she's a nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the intensive care unit.
That doesn't mean that she doesn't take her bowling seriously, she does. You can't carry an average in the 190s without concentration and dedication.
Bryant throws a 16-pound Tropical Storm bowling ball; last month she used it to roll her career-high set. And she did it without breaking her high individual game.
"I wasn't doing a thing differently that night," Bryant said. "I felt relaxed, felt pretty good, but I had no idea that I would score that well."
Her first game was a 259, just nine pins below her career high 268 game; the next two games were 246 and 210 for a 715 series.
"That's my first 700," Bryant said. "I hope it's not the last."
Young tenpin bowler
Kerry Simms lives in Columbia and bowls in the Saturday morning YABA league at Brunswick Columbia.
The seventh-grader at Ellicott Mills Middle School plays center for the Columbia Basketball Association; he started bowling four years ago.
His father, Tommy Simms, a certified instructor, carries a 202 average and has been coaching the youth bowlers at Columbia for four years.
"Well, he may pay attention to me as his coach," Tommy Simms said. "But as his dad, I can tell you that he doesn't usually listen to me."
Kerry is throwing a 16-pound Red Hammer bowling ball and averaging in the mid-50s.
The last few weeks he's been throwing the ball over the first arrow and hooking back into the pocket, a departure from his usual down-and-in style.
That change in style seems to have made a difference.
A couple of weeks ago, Kerry posted both his career high game and set, rolling a 225, 246 and 160 for a 631 series.
First 700 set
Brad Fox, a youth coach at Brunswick Columbia, has been averaging near 180 in two leagues.
His coaching philosophy is simple: make sure the youngsters learn the most fundamental aspects of the game and have some fun doing it.
Fox approaches his own game that way.
While his goal is to average 200, the left-hander is "addicted to tenpin bowling" but still has a lot of fun.
Fox, who has a high game of 279, always wanted to thrown a 700 set.
"I was subbing in the Lane Changers League at Laurel [Jan. 13]," Fox said. "I shot games of 246, 243 and 225 for a 714 series. This was my first 700 series ever and it was the first time I ever bowled on synthetic lanes."
Fox used a 16-pound Ebonite Turbo X bowling ball that was drilled by Matt Carter at his Laurel shop.
Now Fox can concentrate on his first 300 game.