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Never too late for perfection Shober, 79, rolls first 300 game
TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
, Staff Writer
"Dear Lord, I have but one request and I shall not ask for more, that I, before I’m laid to rest might bowl a perfect score."
-The Bowler’s Prayer
Jim Shober remembers it like yesterday.
Back on Dec. 15, 1988, the Stevens man rolled 11-straight strikes and came within one shot of his first-ever perfect 300 game. But as fate would have it, three pins cruelly stayed standing on that final roll, giving him a score of 297. And with that, Shober figured he’d never get another opportunity for perfection.
"I thought that was it," he said.
But that wasn’t it, as the 79-year-old found out last Wednesday morning at Dutch Lanes while bowling with several other senior citizens.
In his second of three games of the day, on Lane 29 to be exact, Shober literally got on a roll. He threw nine-straight strikes and entered the 10th three strikes away from that elusive perfect game.
We’ll let him finish the story.
"I got up there in the 10th frame and I thought, I guess I’m going to end with a dumb split in the 10th frame like I used to do," he said. "And I threw the ball, and they all went down. Then I threw again, and they went down again. Then on the last one, I didn’t think anything different. I just threw the ball and they all went down. I couldn’t believe it. They just all went down…I was amazed myself."
The man who began bowling seriously in the ’50s and had come oh so close back in ’88, had finally reached perfection at the ripe old age of 79.
"People were all watching and started clapping and stuff," he said, recalling the reaction of those who witnessed his game. "And the girl at the desk announced it over the loud speaker… It was pretty neat."
The man with a 182 average closed out the day with an impressive 709 three-game series. He also rolled a 172 in game one, and then closed out the day with a solid 237 following his 300.
But he had ice water in his veins during his perfect game.
"I didn’t get nervous at all," he said. "I just kept doing it, just like it’s another frame. It was just like it wasn’t really happening but it was an amazing thing. Usually you think about it (when you get close), but I just got up there and threw balls and (the pins) just kept going down. I never gave it much thought at all."
He did say that there were a few close calls.
"Not all of them were good, solid hits," he said. "Even on the last ball, there was one pin that went down a little late. I remember seeing one pin on the right hand side wobble a little bit, but then it fell. Then that was it."
"That’s the only way you get it," he added. "They got to wobble a little bit and whatever…just as long as they fall over. That’s how you get a 300."
Spoken like a seasoned veteran.