When I was 16 there were great pot games at my home lanes. About 30 to 35 guys would bowl every Saturday afternoon. A smaller group would bowl on Sunday, and sometimes they would bowl during the week. I started bowling in the pots when I was 16. Two of the guys that bowled were Kenny Kutch and Joe L. I’ll just leave it at Joe L. and not put his last name down. Kenny was this big heavy-set guy who glided up to the foul line like he was wearing slippers and always did well in the pots. Joe L. was the best bowler in the area….all you had to do was ask him. To describe Joe’s personality, if you asked him what he thought of a certain bowler and Joe thought he was good, he would say. That guys terrific, he’s almost as good as me!
One Saturday for the first time in my life I had the first 11. This would be my first chance for 300. It wouldn’t be sanctioned, but having 35 of the best bowlers in the area watching, it was a special moment. Remember this is 1963, so when somebody had the front 11 the whole bowling alley stopped to watch. I threw the last shot thru the nose and left the 4-6 for 298. Everybody in the pots came over to congratulate me. I felt bad about making a bad shot, but was not too upset because I won the pot. Then Joe L. walked over and said, “You choked kid. Don’t worry you’ll probably get another chance.” I said, “Have you shot a 300 Joe?”. It was a legitimate question. Not too many people had a 300 at that time. He said, “Me, I’ve had 12-300’s, 22-299’s, and I can’t even count how many 298’s.” I’m 16, I don’t know what to say. I’m just thinking, “Why are you ruining my moment?”. There’s a lot of things I wanted to say, but I had just started bowling in the pots and most of these guys were 15 to 20 years older than me, so I just keep my mouth shut. Then Kenny Kutch walks over. He says to Joe, “Hey Joe, you’ve had so many 298’s you’ve lost count?”. Joe says, “Yeah!”. Kenny says, “Wow, you must choke a lot on the last shot!”. Then he looks at me and smiles and walks away.
Thank you Kenny Kutch
cento anni’… Johnny Petraglia