Not by design, but Karen Donbar waited until the final week of the Monday Senior Mixed Doubles League at Camelot to register the league’s best of the season: 611.
“The ball was just rolling good,” Donbar said of the April 23 afternoon. “It’s a deal that I could do no wrong that day. It makes you feel good to get 500, but it makes you feel better when you get 600.”
The 611 to conclude the regular portion of the 32-week season was one of four 600s rolled by Donbar, an Akron native, and the first in “a long time,” which translates into roughly 10 to 15 years.
If any explanation could be given for the last-day 611 it could be as simple as “pure luck.”
The 611 included a season-best 227 in the league in which she averaged 162.
“I throw the ball the way I throw, and it was going into the pocket and I picked up the spares,” Karen said. “I did my best which is what I try to do every week.”
The right-hander aims for the first arrow on the far right of the alleys.
“I did what I normally do,” Donbar said of trying to hit her mark. “I don’t throw a hook and I don’t throw a fingertip. It’s just an old, conventional ball.”
Her 227 was a clean game: all marks and no open frames.
Donbar of Columbiana bowls twice a week at Arrowhead Lanes, but she’s a newcomer to the Monday Senior Mixed, which takes place early afternoons.
The 2011-12 season was Karen’s first at Camelot, where she and three friends migrated for the first week back in September.
“This was a new league for us,” Donbar said of herself, Mary Lou Miller, Marge Sponcil and Dolly Knight. “We just started because we thought we’d enjoy it.”
The foursome — two from Columbiana and two from New Waterford — car pool to Camelot. The four women compose The Hen House team, which will bowl I Don’t Know on Monday in a championship showdown of first- and second-half winners.
“Nadine talked to Dolly about it and Dolly asked us if we wanted to go and we did,” Donbar said of Monday Senior Mixed secretary Nadine Heaton’s overture to Knight asking if she had friends who were interested in making the trip north to Boardman.
Before Donbar moved from Akron 15 years ago, she and her husband, Ken, took their children to Goodyear Hall, which was in the basement of one of the tire and rubber company’s office buildings, where Ken worked at the time.
“That was back in the ’70s when we took our kids when they were learning to bowl,” Donbar said. “The building’s still there, but the lanes were closed probably 20 years ago.”
The 66-year-old Donbar admitted that, although she’s up to 25 years younger than some of the Senior Mixed bowlers, the opponents aren’t pushovers.
“I’m maybe 20 years younger than some and we have a couple in their 90s, but they can out-bowl us — and they have. We’re just seniors getting out to bowl and have a good time.”