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Norwalk native bowls 800 series

By RON SIMPSON • Updated Feb 13, 2018 at 2:03 PM

NORWALK — Have you ever had that feeling that no matter what you did, everything went right?

We’ve all experienced it at one time or another, and it happened to Gary Rock big time in the Sandusky City bowling tournament.

Rock, 49, of Norwalk, bowled in the team event on Feb. 3 and blasted through a 276-279-259 games for an 814 series. It was Rock’s first 800 series in his bowling career, with his previous high series being 724 a few years ago.

Rock has rolled a 700 series 10 times in his lifetime, but nothing close to the score he hit at Cedar Lanes. He pounded the pocket for 31 out of a possible 36 strikes, and had only one open — the first frame of the third game.

“Honestly, I never even thought of the 800, all I was thinking of was hitting a 700 series,” Rock said. “In the final frame of the last game, I did think if I went off the sheet (struck out) I could hit an 800 — but that’s the only time it entered my mind.”

Rock said nerves never played a factor — because he was content with what he had already done.

“Actually, I was kind of calm,” he said. “I thought to myself, ‘I’ve already bowled better than I ever have.’ So I just took a deep breath, kept the same routine, and pounded the pocket all three times. All three were flush pocket.”

Everyone thinks bowling a 300 game is the hardest feat in bowling — but more times than not, rolling an 800 series is much more difficult.

You have to be almost perfect all three games, instead of just one. The odds of the average league bowler throwing a 300 game is about 1 in 12,000. Bowling an 800 series is about three times those odds.

Gary’s high game in his bowling career is 279, and he’s thrown that score a couple of times. His highest average was 208 in 2003 at Riverview Lanes in Huron. He currently averages around 190 in two leagues, one on Monday night at Kenilee Lanes in Norwalk, and he also bowls in the Thursday night trio league at Riverview in Huron.

His brothers, Terry and John, influenced Rock into bowling. Terry has bowled multiple 300 games.

“With me being the youngest, they got me in to it when I was younger,” he said. “I didn’t really get into bowling until after I was out of high school. I always enjoyed the brotherly competition, so bowling with them definitely influenced me.”

An avid sports fan of all the Cleveland teams and the Ohio State Buckeyes, Rock is also golfs regularly.

He averages in the mid-40s, with a best score of 36 for nine holes. Rock’s next goal is to get a hole-in-one golfing and a 300 game in bowling.

The best advice Rock can give a bowler?

“Throw it straighter down the lane, especially if you’re a little older,” he said. “Cranking the ball is for the younger guys.”

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