A perfect game in bowling is pretty rare, but how about two teammates bowling a perfect game within three months of each other? It might sound improbable, but it’s exactly what happened at the Campbell River Bowling Centre during Monday Men’s League tenpin play.
Most recently, Allan Bradshaw bowled a perfect 300 game Feb. 16. That is slightly less than three months after teammate Shane Konkle bowled a perfect game on Nov. 23.
“It’s rare,” said Bradshaw, whose last perfect game was about 12 years ago. “Some people would say it’s almost like a hole in one in golf.”
Konkle’s last perfect game was about 10 years ago, although he hasn’t been bowling for that entire time.
“I don’t know the exact odds on it, but a lot of it too is very dependent on the lanes,” he said. “Obviously you’ve still got to throw the ball and get a strike, but the lanes have been recently renovated and new lanes are in here, and that definitely makes a difference.”
In 2014, Campbell River Bowling Centre owner Ian Fong invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to refurbish the bowling lanes with synthetic laminate, as well as install new ball returners, re-carpet and paint the centre and add a new pool hall.
These improvements brought Konkle to the Campbell River Bowling Centre.
“I wasn’t bowling until they renovated it, and then I came back,” he said. “I wouldn’t be bowling here unless they renovated. I was almost considering driving to Nanaimo to bowl. It’s great that he invested the money into redoing the lanes.”
Both Konkle and Bradshaw say that moment when you bowl a perfect game is unforgettable — for them but also for everyone else at the bowling alley.
“Everybody stops bowling, the whole centre, and basically, you become the focal point for that one shot,” said Konkle.
“Once you get to the last two or three shots, especially the second-to-last one, everyone just sort of stops and watches,” agreed Bradshaw. “You become pretty conscious of the fact that you’re the only one there. And you just say a little prayer, ‘Jesus, you’re throwing this one,’ and it worked this time. For me, the last one was a little different, but this one, it was so exhilarating when you got the last one and they all went down.”
Konkle says he probably came close to a perfect game four or five times before he had his 300 game, bowling 10 strikes in a row but not being able to get the 11th and 12th. He and Bradshaw both say you do need a little bit of luck.
“Some of it’s luck, but you still have to throw the ball in the right spot,” said Konkle.
A lot goes into bowling the perfect game.
“For me, it’s focus and concentration, trying to execute the same thing over and over again, repetition,” said Konkle. “Once you throw the ball, it’s out of your control, so you have to do the best job you can.”
There is a bit of reading the lanes too because there is oil on the lanes, he says.
“You’re always going for that strike on the first throw,” added Bradshaw.
Konkle has been bowling off and on probably about 25 years and he has bowled four perfect games so far.
As well, he won a bronze medal at the Canadian Championships in the early 1990s while he was in Ontario.
Bradshaw has been bowling for close to 30 years and this was his second perfect game.
“I’ve had a 298 and a 299, which means that all the pins didn’t fall on the last ball,” he said.
Bradshaw is a past president of the B.C. Youth Tenpin Association and is a Level 1.5 certified coach for youth.
Bradshaw says he also enjoys bowling because it’s a good family game.
“My wife bowls and so does Shane’s,” he said. “My son’s an avid bowler, although he lives in Dawson Creek now and can’t bowl up there.”
Both Bradshaw and Konkle are in their second year playing with the Monday Men’s League in Campbell River.
“I enjoy the challenge but I also enjoy the friendship and fellowship,” said Bradshaw. “Bowling in men’s league makes it more competitive. “
Konkle enjoys the challenge and often compares bowling to golf.
“It’s actually a lot more technical than people think it is,” he said. “The funny thing about this sport is that you can throw a perfect shot and you never get the same results. They’re round objects hitting round pins and it’s out of your control from there.”
Bradshaw sees bowling as being a bit like curling.
“There’s a similarity in the sense of the speed of how you throw makes a difference,” he said.