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Broken bowling balls don’t stop Garrow’s quest for 300 game at Superior Lanes

One of few with more power than lanes equipment can handle

October 30, 2012
By STEVE BROWNLEE - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

Somewhere, maybe in one of those science fiction parallel universes, there's a bowling column being written on behalf of the bowling pins.

In that one, bowling balls are the enemy and guys who throw them like Rick Garrow are Public Enemy No. 1, the way he shreds pin racks like so much kindling for a winter fire.

So please don't be upset if the pins announce a national holiday every time the Marquette-area resident breaks another bowling ball.

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Yes, breaks them, as in they crack and either sound hollow when they hit a bowling lane or sometimes the surface begins to look the way you'd expect the ground to when it's hit by an earthquake.

But even in our own world, we don't have to feel sorry for Garrow, just because he was stuck using his 4-year-old, $65 budget bowling ball.

Not with the sixth perfect 300 game he bowled in the Friday 800 Mixed League at Superior Lanes on Oct. 19.

Garrow, 38, who works in construction for Payne & Dolan, was only bowling for the third time this season because his seasonal workload had been keeping him busy even on Friday nights.

He hadn't had a chance to look into buying a new ball or two, either, though now that the weather's getting colder, he is going to have more time on his hands.

But I'd rethink the new bowling ball purchase - wouldn't you?

He used his 15-pound AMF Angle reactive resin ball to open the night with 12 straight strikes, then tacked on games of 215 and 204 for 719.

"In warmups, I wasn't feeling it at all," Garrow told me by telephone on Sunday. "I was pulling it through the nose and throwing it way wide."

In other words, missing the 1-3 righthander's strike pocket by a lot.

As soon as the shots counted, however, he was locked in.

"I thought I was throwing it good, even after the first game, but I must've left four or five 9-pins," he said.

Those 9-pins, one of the pins in the middle of the back row, are a hallmark of someone hitting the pocket who throws with a ton of power - read lots of revolutions, or spin, along with pretty decent speed.

And watching Garrow since he came up into the adult ranks, he's always had plenty of that to spare.

One of the strangest things I ever saw in bowling was watching Garrow bowl one night when the center was known as Windmill Lanes back in the 1990s.

There was some problem with the oiling machine and apparently it happened while they were doing Garrow's pair that night. On one other pair that night, the guys on it told me they couldn't keep the ball from hooking like crazy.

I thought they were the ones who were crazy, because everybody where I was bowling could barely make a ball wrinkle - hook, that is.

Garrow ended up with one lane of each. So I watched him throw a couple shots, and on one lane, he threw the ball straight down the lane about a foot away from the gutter and saw it hook at the end and hit the pocket.

For him, that was the oily - no-wrinkle - lane. Yes, really.

Then he gets up on the other lane, and he's actually standing probably farther left than anyone I know would stand to throw cross-lane at the 10-pin in the right corner.

He fires the ball off his hand, harder than even is normal for him, and the ball gets within about three or four inches of the gutter about three-quarters of the way down the lane.

Then, zip! The ball makes a really hard left turn as it's about to fall in the gutter and slams the pocket for a strike.

I guess you can call that versatility without even trying.

Oh yeah, before I forget, there were almost two 300s at Superior that week, since the night before, Terry Kirkum just missed his first perfect game with a 299 in the Thursday Marquette General Hospital League.

After he admitted that he was throwing his 15-pound Brunswick Ultimate Inferno resin ball all over the place, some hitting the head pin square, some crossover Brooklyn, he put the final ball of the game perfect in the 1-3 pocket. And left a solid 10-pin.

Like Garrow, his 300 was his first game of the night.

Now onto the Mining Journal Bowlers of the Week.

Pacing the men was Alex Salfai from the Monday Northern Michigan University class at Superior Lanes, who shot 172 pins over his 129 average with 559 on 181, 179 and 199.

He was followed closely by Michael Kelly in the Friday 800 Mixed at Superior, at plus-155 over his 182 mean with 701 and a 277 top game.

For the women, Keri Magadenz of the Tuesday Night Mixed at Superior was 82 over her 133 average with 481, including a 187 best, while leaguemate Julie Dellies was 71 over her 129 average with 458 including a 178.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.



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