On November 28, 48-year-old George Holscher of Chesapeake, Virginia rolled a perfect 300 game in his Monday Night League at Indian River Lanes in Virginia Beach. When his 12th ball hit the pocket and the pins scattered, the house went wild. It was, to say the least, not your usual perfect game. In fact, Holscher became only the second person to ever shoot 300 from a wheelchair!
At the age of 25 Holscher was driving a truck when a deer ran out in front of him. His truck flipped over a guardrail and he was thrown into a tree severely injuring his spine. A few days later he received the bad news.
"When my doctor told me that I would never walk again, that was the worst five minutes of my life," Holscher said. "And that's about as long as I let it last."
Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he went out and became more active than he had ever been, playing basketball, tennis and billiards from his wheelchair. He finally settled on bowling, a sport that he had seldom competed in before the accident. He slowly improved his average from 72 to 192 and eventually won a national bowling championship in 2009 for wheelchair bound keglers. A perfect game though had eluded him. Until a few days ago, that is.
When he bowls he uses a special wheelchair that is heavier than his every day one. It has sturdier wheel locks, extra seat support and a bolted-on ball stand. Though he has some bowling balls that cost $200 to $300, he was using a 14-pounder that he bought at a yard sale for twenty bucks.
Holscher rolls his chair to the foul line and sets the brake. He scoots his hips to the right edge of the seat to make room for his swing. When he releases the ball, the left wheels of his chair actually come off the floor briefly. he ball makes its way down the lane, but seems off-target. A few feet from the pins, it breaks sharply and the pins go flying.
His best effort prior to the perfecto was eight-straight strikes to start a game. He felt the most difficult shot on this night was in the ninth frame. You have to get to the tenth to have a chance. Like in most establishments, the other bowlers tend to stop when someone nears perfection. His fellow bowlers knew they might be witnessing history and they were all pulling for him. The tension in the air was palpable.
Finally the last ball was thrown and pandemonium broke loose.
"Everyone just went crazy," Holscher said. "It was amazing."
If you think Holscher was nervous in the last few frames, you would be right. As he himself put it: "I know I said I can't feel my knees, but let me tell you they were weak."
I couldn't wipe the smile off my face as I read about this outstanding bowling feat. Congratulations Mr. Holscher. You will be an inspiration to bowlers everywhere.
A near perfect game was shot in the Rocket League for the second week in a row. A week after John Funk shot 298, Tyson Shope matched the score, leaving the 6-7 split on his last ball while shooting 717 to top the league. Steve Barnes had 654, John Funk 634, Paul Landers 625, Dave Jones 589, Beth Jones 520 and Dottie Funk 510. In the Sportsman League, Greg Tiell shot 671, Ken Bauman 658, Paul Gosche 607, Rich Yates Jr. 598, Chris Rhodes 578, Tony Selhorst 556, Mike Kisabeth 554 and Scott Hartsel 552.
Sunday Night Rock N Roll League scores included John Funk 676, Mark Phillips 646, Gary Golden 631, Dirk Nimocks 623, Janice Young 495 and Marie Meyer 472. In the Imperial-Majorette League, Ben Hoyda shot 675, Steve Steinmetz Jr. 648, Kevin Young 578, Steve Steinmetz Sr. 571, Deb Nominee 478, Linda Brookes 454, Rhonda Fitch 451 and Phyllis Hyde 432.
Jan Houk led the Alley Cats League with 550, while Robyn Wight shot 534, Robin Dickman 502, Sandy Hufford 488 and Lorrie Williams 477. In the Twilight League, Tom Tiell posted a 665 series. Ed Conrad shot 644, Brian Shane 609, Kevin Young 607, Marcus Hall 603, Rhonda Fitch 511, Robin Brownell 501 and Kristin Fitch 467. Big 8 League scores included Scott Plickert 676, Jim Ross 674, Ron Yentzer 643, Robert Terris, Jr. 643, Dave Ross 629, Rich Yates Jr. 624, Aaron Sherman 623, Jim Hershberger 618 and Mark Ratliff 618.
From the K of C Lanes, Dawn Davis had 499, Nerita Streacker 426, Marilyn Gangluff 393, Theresa Carp 387 and Carol Burmeister 385 in the Lady Knights League. Senior League scores included Ken Ritzler 573, Mike Reser 549, Herb Sendelbach 547, Dan Roessner 538, Doug Snyder 536, Cliff Jeffrey 529, Kurt Smith 519 and Tim Gassner 516. Jerry Collins led the Tuesday Night League with 645, while Mark Orians shot 629, Rick Smith 620, Justin Hoepf 606, Joe Lord 602, James Lord 583, Gary Gaietto 580 and Chris Johnson 576.
Last but not least, a couple of nice 600 scores were posted in the 55 Plus league as the veteran bowlers show that they still have game. Jim Ruess shot 628 and Bob West 610 to lead the way. Dick Gabel shot 594, Bill Mizen 587, Paul Gosche 546, Dan Coppes 523, Denny Scherger 522, Harry Smith 476, Steve Schafer 454, Jim Donaldson 451, Bob Reinhart 440, Jim Ferstler 433, Dave Everhart 431, John Ferstler 422 and Paul Fey 388.
Al Stephenson is The A-T's bowling columnist.
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