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Perfect night on the lanes

by Chris Schulte

While there is a competitiveness to league bowling, most participants would agree the best part is enjoying an evening out to socialize with teammates and friends.

Every now and then, though, someone enjoys a magical game, rolling that elusive 300. A perfect game - 12 for 12.

It was Derek Green who was perfect Monday night at Coral Lanes, in the Monday Night Handicap League. It was the 20-year-old's third perfect game, but his first on wood lanes as opposed to synthetic.

It's always fun to feel the atmosphere slowly evolve among the other bowlers as someone moves closer to perfection. At about the sixth or seventh frame the talk, almost more like whispers, begins to make its way up and down the alley that someone is working on a perfect game. Green, a 2011 D.C. Everest graduate, was probably even further into his game Monday before word spread as his team bowling was on lanes 11 and 12, the last two at Coral.

As someone works on that 300, you will see other bowlers casually walk down and glance up at the scoreboard to see for themselves that someone truly is moving closer to a 300. By time the bowler reaches the 10th frame, nearly all the eyes are on that lane where the magic is taking place.

The other teams try to maintain a sense of normalcy to their routine, trying not to ''jinx'' the bowler inching toward perfection.

With nine strikes down, Green stepped up for his 10th frame, which was on lane 12. As if it was any other frame, in any other game, on any other night, Green went through his motion and gets strike number 10. Followed by No. 11. Appearing oblivious to the attention being directed his way, Green takes his final ball.

He finds his mark, goes through his motion and lets the ball go. A few agonizing seconds later the ball meets the pin -- all 10 fall. Green has done it again -- his third 300.

As those nearest applaud, Green raises his arms in celebration and begins to accept congratulations from his teammates and other league members. His achievement is then announced, followed by another round of applause.

And just like that, a routine night of league bowling became a memorable one for Derek Green and those there to witness it.

Congratulations, Derek, and may there be more perfect nights in your future.