Twin brothers Anthony and Vic Oliver probably couldn't have taken more different roads in their bowling careers. While the Olivers, 37, both averaged a 220 over the course of more than 300 games, their beginnings at the bowling center in Franklin Square, N.Y., as kids started what became divergent paths.
The sons of two bowling coaches, Anthony and Vic started very young. Vic, a left-hander, became serious about his performance around 13, and from that point forward, always was ahead of his brother — something that would bother any sibling.
When right-handed Anthony moved to Florida in 1995, he focused on improving his game on the lanes and improved by leaps and bounds. Then carrying a 180 average and only a 250 high game, things began to turn around as he topped a 200 average.
"When I moved down here, I just really applied myself," Anthony said. "I bowled like 20 games a day for three months."
Two years later, Vic moved to the area and the sibling rivalry was renewed. Coming into this season, the southpaw held a major advantage in career statistics: 22 perfect games to six and eight 800 series to none. According to Anthony, the momentum shift began last summer.
Playing in the 2008 PBA Southern Regional Spring Hill Open at Spring Hill Lanes last July, Anthony led the field after fives games of qualifying. The field included solid professionals and his brother.
Suddenly, averaging 230 in a fall league was no longer a lofty expectation, but more a possibility. On Friday night at Mariner Lanes this season, Anthony finished with a 228 average, his highest career mark. At one point, he was at 236 in the league, but as the oil patterns began to shift in the second half, his average began to drop.
"Friday night is a fresh oiled shot. We don't have to follow anyone," Anthony said. "I always bowl well on fresh oil."
When it was all said and done, he finished with more 290-plus games than anyone in the county for the 2008-09 season. Vic, who is familiar with success of that magnitude, attributes his brother's rise to motivation provided by, well, himself.
"Personally, I think it was because I was blowing him away in every category," Vic said. "He doesn't like when I beat him."
Although he is one of the area's top bowlers, Vic's most memorable moment also came last summer. Competing in the Monday Night Singles League at Mariner, Vic threw two perfect games in the same night last year. Despite that success and the impressive stats, Vic was disappointed with his year. To stay at the top, working on their games is a must. In the end, looking over each other's shoulders might keep them there.
"To be honest with you, I didn't reach the goals that I wanted to reach," Vic said. "It might have been good for a lot of people, but it was not to my personal standards."
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