John Colbert has been bowling tenpins for over 30 years.
That bowling career started at Fort Lee, Va., when he served in the Air Force. Now the Baltimore resident does all his league bowling at Brunswick Normandy in four leagues -- Tuesday Doubles, Friday BGE, Saturday Weekend Wonders and Wednesday Anytime/Funtime.
In May 1993 he posted a 300 game and just a few weeks ago he came very close to an 800 series.
Colbert, a right-handed down-and-in bowler, also came close to another 300 game.
"That first game [in the Tuesday Doubles] I opened with a spare and said to myself, 'Well, might as well strike out,'" Colbert laughed, "And that's what I did."
For a 289 game.
The next game he kept right on striking for a 267.
"Man, I wanted that 800 set so bad I could taste it," Colbert said. "In the last frame I needed a strike to sew it up and I left the 10-pin standing."
The result was a 233 game and a 789 series, the best of his career.
Colbert was using a 16-pound Torq, fitted and drilled by Jerry Sieglein, The Thumb Doctor Pro Shop owner, and he knows exactly what happened with that last ball.
"I know I took my eye off my spot," he said. "And I didn't come through the ball, I let my hand come around the ball and that was enough to make the 10-pin stand there laughing at me."
2& But that series helped Colbert and
his partner, Tim Sandusky, win the Normandy Tuesday Double League, beating along the way Ed Lanehart and Monty Smith, who had to settle for second place.
First 300 game
Jim Cooke has been bowling tenpins "for about 10 years now."
That's long enough for Cooke, who has a 177 average, to have been locked in some battles for first place. But no victory could have been sweeter than the one in the Wednesday Mixed Fivesome at Brunswick Normandy last month.
Cooke's team, "The Cobras," was tied with two teams for the league championship.
"I've been close to 300 games before," Cooke said. "And I've been close to a 700 series [his career high series of 676] but I wasn't thinking about a 300 game that night, just winning [the league championship].
"I was bowling anchor and that's always helped me concentrate. And since I sure wasn't expecting to have a perfect game. I was very relaxed."
In the first game of the three-game set for the league crown, Cooke stepped onto the lane in the first frame and fired his 16-pound Turbo X bowling ball into the pocket for a strike. He followed with 11 more for his first perfect game -- and the championship.
That's a great way to finish the winter season, with a perfect game and the league championship. Both feats accomplished on the very last night of competition.