NEW PORT RICHEY — Perfection in sports is next to impossible to achieve. In a sport like bowling, it doesn't take much to see it slip away, but three junior bowlers at Lane Glo have experienced a perfect 300 game this year.
Kyle Menna, Tony Grande and Rebecca Schmais are part of the Saturday morning junior bowling league at Lane Glo and have seen the top of the bowling mountain with 300 games.
Schmais, 18, had the most pressure on her because she was the first junior bowler in two years to bowl 300. Conquering her nerves came down to not thinking about it, so she tried desperately to act as if it were routine. That was difficult, however, as it was her first game of the day on Sept. 12.
"About midway through I realized what was happening," said Schmais, a student in the culinary arts program at Pasco-Hernando Community College. "I just tried to walk around and talk to people so that I wouldn't think about it. My legs were shaking, I was so nervous. It's the biggest achievement I've had in 11 years of bowling."
For Grande, 15, the Oct. 24 game was a bit more surprising because this season is only his second bowling season. His nerves quickly got to him.
"It was the third game of the day," said Grande, a student at East Lake High School. "I got to five in a row and I started getting nervous. I had to go over to my friends and have them help me calm down. By the 10th frame I just tried to cancel everybody out and finish it off. It was a really hard thing to do, though."
For Menna, 17, strategy went out the window as the crowd began to grow around his lane to watch his Oct. 10 game. Menna, who uses a two-finger grip as opposed to the traditional three-finger style, brushed off coaching suggestions and hurried through the game.
"After I got to eight in a row I really started getting nervous about it because that was the most strikes I'd ever gotten in a row," said Menna, who attends Mitchell High School. "You start thinking that you're going to mess it up with everyone around, but then I got another one. I didn't really talk much and then I sort of rushed the whole thing, even though the coaches were telling me to slow down. I just felt like that was working better."
Kevin McManus helps run the youth bowling league and has seen the kids grow as bowlers and as people over the years. With the familylike atmosphere around the lanes, crowds gather to root the kids on, turning Saturday morning bowling into a spectator frenzy.
"We've never had three kids do this in the same season," McManus said. "Before Becky (Schmais) did it, we hadn't seen a junior bowler have a 300 in a few years. Once word of a possible 300 started to get around, everyone stopped doing what they were doing and went to watch. It made them more nervous but it's more fun that way.
"We're a big family around here," McManus said. "For me and my wife, it's great. You meet the kids when they're young and you see them work at the game, and, now, they do this. It makes you proud."