The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 21, 2013

Brian Holtzapple's bowling column: Perfect game not hard to roll this season


Daily Item

---- — A perfect game is supposedly hard to roll. But that hasn't been the case so far this year.

Roughly a dozen 300s have been rolled since September, by both adult and junior bowlers alike.

In several occurrences lightning has struck twice for some lucky keglers, and you'll read about their successes in future columns.

Beginning it all was Mifflinburg's Matt Beaver. He had the year's first perfect game on Sept. 13 while competing in Best Bowl's Thursday Night Men's League.

The 300 was Beaver's 28th perfect game of his career, and as he's discovered throughout that time, there's no rhyme or reason as to when they happen during the league bowling season.

"You never know when it will happen. I've had some on the first nights of bowling and some at the end of the year. It only comes when you are rolling the ball good and making the right adjustments, along with a little luck," said Beaver, whose lucky number happens to be 13.

Up until this year Beaver coached the Mifflinburg High School bowling team along with his wife, Heidi, who actually had to step away from the program she helped rise to prominence a few years ago due to time constraints with her new job working at a veterinary office.

Matt Beaver finally decided to step away from the team before this year when other priorities began spreading his time too thin.

In addition to his busy day job as a supply chain manager at Heister House Millworks, Matt, along with Heidi, are program managers for Best Bowl's Junior Bowling Program as well as becoming new parents fairly recently.

So something had to give.

"It's not that we are not coaching any longer. I was torn as to what I should give priority to and I started burning myself out. I did not think it would be fair if I could not make the commitment (to the high school team)," he said.

"I miss the kids very much, they were all great kids. We did not have the strongest of teams over the past several years, so it was more about the individual accomplishments and seeing them learn that I miss the most. It is hard being in the bowling center when their match starts. I will never say never to not coaching high school bowling again but for my foreseeable future unless something drastically changes, no.

BOWLING DIVERSITY: Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Although the civil rights leader was said to be good at several athletic endeavors (swimming, badminton, netball, hockey, cross country running), bowling unfortunately wasn't among them.

But thanks in part to the work of MLK, African-Americans have become an integral part of the bowling landscape.

All minorities were banned from the American Bowling Congress until 1950, but it wasn't until shortly after MLK's assassination in 1968 when African-Americans began being honored for their work in the sport.

In 1970 William Hall Sr. became the first black elected to the ABC Board of Directors, and then in 1978 J. Elmer Reed became the first black inducted into the ABC Hall of Fame for meritorious service. Reed was instrumental in the desegregation of the ABC. Fourteen years later Tom DeChalus became the first black elected Vice President of the ABC.

The first perfect game rolled by an African-American was Aubrey Harrison in 1980, and it was a torch completely taken over in recent years by Virginia's Fero Williams and Georgia's George Gohagan III.

Williams, 31, has been credited for rolling 135 perfect games through the 2011-12 season, plus he has at least 120 series of 800 or better. He owns the USBC record for rolling 22 perfect games and 27 series of 800 or better in 2006-07.

The exploits of Gohagan out on the lanes are almost as ridiculous as Williams'. In 2007 Gohagan rolled an 899 series after throwing 35 strikes in a row. The 29-year-old has over a 100 perfect games in his career.

Until next time, stay out of the gutters.

n Brian Holtzapple is a correspondent who covers bowling for The Daily Item. Email him at keglerskorner@dailyitem.com.