Two short stories, one about Dick Weber and one about Carmen Salvino.
In the 70’s the Hawaiian Invitational was bowled in 6 or 7 different centers. There was no qualifying, we bowled round robin match play in all the centers. It was either 48 or 56 games, with the top 5 making TV at the end. I still remember clearly some of the very details of that day as we took pictures and had them developed for a photo album.
One of the centers (I think it was Pali lanes) was underwater for a while due to a hurricane. The center was old and the lanes needed to be resurfaced. Add to that, they were underwater so they were warped. Remember we were bowling on actual wood!
I was bowling Dick Weber. My wife pat and Juanita Weber were sitting together watching the match. This pair was particularly bad. Weber’s ball reaction was so bad that everything he tried didn’t work. However he made everything he shot at. He made the baby split, the washout, the 3-6-9-10, and other symmetrical designs. After 9 frames he was on a 182 pace, and clean (9 spares, no strikes, 18 pins loss in wood). His ears were so red he had steam coming out of them. He sat down on the bench while I got up to bowl my 9th and 10th frame. Juanita leaned forward and said in her own cheery way, “You’re spare shooting is very impressive Dick.” Weber turned around and looked at his wife and said,
“It’s a long swim home Juanita.“
For a few seconds none of us said or did anything, and then we couldn’t help it. All three of us stared laughing at the same time. It was a a magical moment, even Dick started laughing. I teased him about that moment for 30 years. All memories of Dick Weber always warm my heart.
This past year Carmen Salvino was bowling in the Tournament of Champions in Indianapolis. Carmen was struggling and was in last place (after all he’s 80 years old). To make matters worse he was crossing with Jason Belmonte who was in first place. However, if you didn’t look at the score you would have thought Carmen was right in the mix. He was running them out and trying as hard as he could on every shot.
On one particular shot Carmen knew he threw it perfectly. He started running it out right away. The ball hit dead flush and split the 8-9 for a strike, and Carmen did one of his famous moves. As Belmonte was getting ready to bowl, he said to Carmen, “You knew that ball was going to split the 8-9 as soon as you let it go….didn’t you?”. Carmen’s answer was, “Boy!! I knew that ball was going to split the 8-9 before I got on the approach!!!”. I could tell stories about Carmen all day, but it would be a big book. I’ll tell some more in the future.
cento anni’..Johnny Petraglia