Bowling Memoirs of Johnny Petraglia – God Bless John Forst

These past few weeks I had a good swing on the west coast. At the end of the swing, I finished 3rd in the Super Senior Championship, and followed up with a 12th in the Senior Masters. The highlight being my match with Norm Duke. I was up 490-473 after two games. In the final game, Norm shot 279 and I shot 300. It was a great match to watch (video below).

Because I bowled well, a lot was said about my age. Many people congratulated me on my performance. Most complimented me on bowling so well at the age of 69. So why am I telling you this? It’s because it brought back a story that happened about a decade ago. It was the last time we bowled in Bradley Bowl in Windsor Locks, CT. I was standing on the concourse when a man (about my age) came up to me with a book and asked me for my autograph. I said sure, and as I started to sign he said,

“I’m trying to get all the old guys BEFORE THEY’RE DEAD!”.

As I handed him back the book, instead of saying thank you he said, “Do you know where Schlegel is?”. I hope that guy reads this blog. I would like to tell him there was NO RUSH!!…..I wonder if he’s still alive.

We were at Bowl Expo this week. It was a great show with a tragic end. John Forst, PBA Champion, Mike Aulby’s roommate, and all around good guy was there to receive an award. He had brain cancer and was expected to only have a couple of months to live. He was being pushed around in a wheel chair by his wife Tracy. They were in the casino when Tracy went to the bathroom. When she came back John was gone. He somehow got up, took a walk and ended up going through a door the workers use, and so he wasn’t able to get back in. Maybe it was the extreme heat, or something else, but John eventually collapsed and passed away. We won’t know the cause unless an autopsy is done.

My heart goes out to his wife and family, and all his many friends. John was one of the true good guys of the tour. A terrific bowler and a credit to the game. You can always judge a person by his close friends. When you count people like friends Mike Aulby and Bob Handley as your close friends, you know the kind of person John was.

God Bless John Forst
Johnny Petraglia

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