Sometimes sports can provide a haven for people who need something constant in their life.
Cody Malone and his family are some of these people.
Cody, 14, has become one of the brightest young stars in the area thanks to his first-career perfect game. When he threw the 300, he became the third youngest to accomplish the feat locally and the youngest ever at Spring Hill Lanes. Following in the footsteps of his family, Cody has taken to the lanes like a fish to water.
Meaning he has his sights set on a 200-average in the near future.
His father, Larry Malone, began teaching Cody to bowl about nine years ago when the family lived in Jackson, Mich. Competing alongside his older brother, Josh, Cody started modestly. He averaged 86 in 45 games at nearby Stockbridge Bowl just five years ago. That average zoomed up to 182 in 51 games last season in the Young Adults League at Mariner Lanes.
Larry averages a 210 at Mariner in the Coca-Cola Classic League on Monday nights. Last season, he averaged a 219 in the same league, which is the highest of his career. Oddly enough, it was at Spring Hill last summer where he threw his first and only perfect game and accomplished the honor score in the Summer Youth/Adult League bowling with his sons.
"It felt great to match my Dad when I threw my perfect game because he coaches me a lot and helps me so much," Cody said. "Now, I just have to throw an 800 series."
Sherry Malone, Cody's mother, has also been competing at bowling centers since she was a girl. She averages a 148 at the Monday Night Ladies League at Spring Hill. Her career-high game is 246, but she wasn't surprised with Cody's accomplishment although definitely proud and impressed.
"I just knew it would happen eventually," Sherry said. "He has such great form, and for someone his age to be able to make the adjustments he does is amazing."
Moving when you're young is never easy. Making new friends and adapting to a new place becomes a lot less difficult when you have an activity such as bowling to share with others. Cody credits the sport for a lot of positive things in his life.
"Bowling was a big part of growing up because it helped me meet the friends I have now," Cody said. "Dealing with the different houses and different lane conditions has made me the bowler I am today."
In November at Mariner Lanes, Cody tossed a 290 game on his way to a 706 series. It was his first 700 series, giving him confidence to believe there were bigger things in store. He proved it by knocking down 12 pin racks in a row for a perfect game and a 736 series at Spring Hill only three and a half months later.
Josh, 17, is averaging a 199 in the Young Guns League at Mariner. He isn't a stranger to U.S. Bowling Congress honor scores either. He has a 295 game to his credit.
With a family full of competitors, it's no wonder why Cody's passion for the sport runs so deep.
"Bowling is one thing we can do as a family," Sherry said. "As the kids get older, it keeps their interest going and keeps us together."
Submit feedback, story ideas to [email protected]