Janesville bowler’s rare feat: two consecutive 300 games
JANESVILLE Ken Pollard of Janesville can’t wait for September.
The reason Pollard is in such a sweat to peel away the calendar is the once-in-a-lifetime experience he had on the last day of the league bowling season in April.
You could call Pollard’s situation a perfect irony.
Pollard checked in at RiversEdge for the last meeting of the Saturday Night Leftovers couples league. It had been a long year, and Pollard was happy it was ending.
“I bowl Tuesdays in the Stokes Pub League, and when you get to the end of the year, you just don’t feel like bowling anymore,” Pollard said.
But there was a little incentive hanging on the line that renewed Pollard’s spirit.
“My wife (Tina) told me I’d better bring my ‘A Game’ because we were close to winning the league,” Pollard said.
Pollard noticed the lane conditions were ripe for good bowling and passed the word to his teammates.
“I told the other couple, ‘Hey, it’s a nice easy shot tonight, just hit your mark and let the ball do the work,’ ” Pollard said.
Pollard let his ball do the work—perfectly for 24 straight strikes, and the guy who was tired of bowling was the owner of back-to-back 300s.
“Everything just clicked,” he said.
This wasn’t Pollard’s first rodeo. He had seven 300s on his resume, but bowling two straight is another thing.
“It’s true it gets easier the more (300s) you bowl,” Pollard said. “But I never thought I could have a chance for two in a row.’’
According to mathematicians, the odds of any adult male bowling a 300 game are 11,500 to one. The odds of a professional PBA bowler rolling a perfect game are 460 to 1.
Upping the ante to two straight perfect games makes the odds that much greater.
Todd Surovell, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Wyoming, and blogger for the BM Report: The blog of bowling aficionados, said rolling two straight 300s is no easy feat.
“It’s a difficult question to answer,” Surovell emailed. “Let’s say you strike on average 65 percent of your frames. This is an extremely high rate, even for professional bowlers.
“To roll two straight perfect games, you need to bowl 24 strikes in a row. The chance of doing this is approximately 0.00032, or 1 in 30,909. If you strike on average 50 percent of your frames, something I wish I could do, the number goes up to around 1 in 16.8 million.”
Pollard wasn’t thinking about the odds when his second 300 was within reach.
“I just told myself, you’ve done it before,” Pollard said. “You can get through this.’’
Pollard said he concentrated on keeping a steady pace and hitting his mark.
“The best advice I ever got was just when you think you are ready to go, you are not. Just take one last breath and then bowl.’’
After marking 300 No. 2, Pollard turned his attention to No. 3 and the possibility of a 900 series.
Pollard nailed his 25th strike, but missed his 26th. The pressure was off, and Pollard scored a 202 and an 802 series. Pollard ended the year with 231 average in the Saturday Night Leftovers and 225 in the Stokes Pub league
“It was more like, finally, I can relax a little bit,” Pollard said. “Buried the next ball for a strike, and after that I wasn’t carrying the stroke.’’
For Pollard, the highlight of his big night was having his wife, daughter Emily and son Zach, witness the feat. They had never seen any of his previous 300 games.
Pollard, a 1985 Parker High graduate, hasn’t picked up bowling ball this summer.
“I still think about it once in a while,” Pollard said of his back-to-back perfection in April. “I didn’t feel like bowling, and now I can’t wait to start bowling.”