Sports

300 games a family affair

Bowling can be a game of frustration and elation.

Ask anyone who has ever sighted over the top of a 16-pound or lighter ball at the rack of 10 maple pins down the oiled lane and they’ll tell you the pressure sometimes gets ratcheted up a notch or two as you approach the line — especially during league play.

You bury the ball in the 1-3 pocket or in the 2-4 if you’re a left-hander and there’s nothing like the sound of your ball hitting the wooden pins, sort of like the sound of A-Rod making solid contact and sending a pitch into the upper deck in left field.

Even if your ball slides across the head pin to the “Brooklyn side,” that sound is still there.

You complete your follow through and look up, expecting to see all of the pins flying into the pit, and then the frustration sets in.

You’ve had another 10-pin tap and there’s one left standing at the far back corner of the lane.

That’s the frustration of bowling.

The elation comes when you are fortunate enough to throw 12 straight strikes, the bowling gods are smiling, and you roll a perfect 300 game.

The most recent member of Oak Bowl’s 300 club, John Youngsman, is a veteran competitor on the lanes. Ask anyone who frequents the establishment on Midway Boulevard and they’ll tell you he is an all-around good guy.

The 63-year-old Youngsman is Oak Bowl’s manager and the most remarkable thing about his accomplishment is that he is also a cancer survivor.

“In April 2006 I was diagnosed with bone cancer and I went through a stem-cell transplant at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle,” he said.

Youngsman said he was in Seattle almost two months and resided at the Pete Gross house at the cancer center during his extended stay.

“I basically had treatments nearly every day,” he said. “The folks here at the bowling alley had several fundraisers for me and I really owe this community a lot of thanks for the support I got. Without it, I don’t think I would have got as far as I did.”

Youngsman said his cancer is in remission and he is feeling fine these days.

“I was quite sick for awhile but now I feel so good I’d like to bowl another 300 game,” he said with a laugh.

Accompanied by his girlfriend, Debra Fitzwater, Youngsman bowls in the All City Scratch League on Thursday nights and in the Movers and Shakers League Sunday nights.

Youngsman’s 300 game came during Scratch League competition Nov. 15.

It’s his first perfect game at Oak Bowl since his cancer treatment.

“I rolled a 300 game in Seattle about three years ago, but this is the first one I’ve had at Oak Bowl since 1978,” Youngsman said.

Youngsman’s son, Jason, is also a member of the 300 club having rolled three perfect games at Oak Bowl. The most recent one came about three weeks before his father accomplished the same feat.

“During my bowling career, I have rolled 23 perfect games,” Jason Youngsman said. “I got one about three weeks ago and two of them last year.”

Fitzwater herself is an accomplished bowler and is the first woman to ever roll a perfect 300 game at Oak Bowl.

“Some of John’s skill might have rubbed off on me. It’s sort of like keeping it in the family, so to speak,” Fitzwater said.

Youngsman said it’s unique to look up at Oak Bowl’s honor board and see all their names up there together.

“After 50 years of operation, we’re moving right along here at Oak Bowl,” Youngsman said. “Hopefully, we can get a few more bowlers in to enjoy the same thing

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