Although surrounded by teammates and leaguemates and curious onlookers, Paula Spano was alone with her thoughts the night of Nov. 7 as she prepared to throw the 12th ball of her second game at Holiday Bowl.
Recently, she did her best to re-create the moment that set her apart from the rest of the eyes that belonged to Ladies Variety bowlers.
Yet when she released the ball, those who seemed so distant suddenly became engaged through some magic medium.
“I give those girls a lot of credit,” Spano said recently. “Maybe it was positive-thinking energy they sent because it was really, really bad.”
The “it” she was referring to was her 12th ball.
“We were stunned that I’d thrown nine-in-a-row,” Spano in looking back on the game’s progression. “When I got to the 10th, the team we were bowling against sat quietly and let me throw the 10th and 11th. When we came to the 12th ball, I literally dropped it. I didn’t place it down well. I put it down heavy. It was a bad delivery and I didn’t think it would drive hard enough into the pins, but it did.”
That’s why Spano was amazed when all 10 pins went down.
“I gave all the girls behind me credit for that last one because it was their positive energy on my side that brought that last strike,” she said. “It was group-think that made them fall. Everybody had their fingers crossed. I didn’t expect the last one, but I got it anyway. They knew I delivered the ball poorly and weren’t expecting a strike either, but it happened. It was rolling the dice, luck of the draw, whatever.”
Such undeserving results deserve recognition for Spano, who finished with a 614 set.
In response to whether it was her first perfect game, spano said, “Yes, and probably the last, too.”
League secretary Diane Wilkos has been a member of the Ladies Variety for 18 years and can’t remember another 300.
“I believe it’s a first in our league,” Wilkos said. “It’s the first I know of,” the first-year secretary said.
The league’s next-best single this season (2012-2013) was 277 by Melissa Mettee and a 267 by Melissa Wasser.
Spano, a newcomer to the 61-year-old club, searched for the right words to describe her bowling method.
“It’s kind of a hook that travels pretty far down the lane before it takes a left-hand turn into the pocket,” she said. “It breaks late.”
Much has changed since she first broke into bowling.
“When I first started, I used a non-reactive ball that went straight down middle,” Spano said. “Over the years, I became little more tuned in to the various differences and how to put the ball down,” she said of help from Holiday pro shop personnel.
“They’re well-versed on suggesting the right equipment to suit the individual’s makeup,” Spano said: “I’d like to say I’m an expert on equipment and technology, but I’m not.”
The previous-best single by Spano, a 160-ish average bowler, was 286.
Only two women — Bev Bisconi and Patti Rapp — remain on her “The Five” team, which lost a few bowlers along the way this season.
Spano missed virtually all of the 2011-2012 Ladies Variety season with a herniated disc, but has come back strong.
METTEE on a roll
Melissa Mettee has also been going strong in Ladies Variety, most recently with a 288-757, while Susan Carter’s 279-752 highlighted Wedgewood Ladies Trio action on Jan. 15.
LOOKING BACK at beach
While searching microfilm content recently, editorial writer Dennis Mangan found a sports page with headlines about Bill Beach.
Back on Jan. 17, 1963, Beach, of Sharon, rolled a record 1,000 score during the All-Star Tournament in Kansas City.
John Bassetti writes about bowling for The Vindicator. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org