by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
“Old Friends, Old Friends, sat on their park bench like bookends. A newspaper blown through the grass; falls on the round toes, of the high shoes, of the old friends.” Words from the famous “Bookends” album of two of my favorite recording artists, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. This lyrical description of those of us with a few extra inches near the waist line coupled with a few extra inches of forehead leads me to mention the coming National Senior Games to Bloomington this July. My favorite whipping entity, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, recently had a ten or twelve page tabloid insert regarding the Senior Games, but in their infinite wisdom, they neglected to mention the bowling event which will be held at Southtown Lanes the first week of July. The Strib did include running events along with a number of ads for assisted living, funeral arrangements, and final expense life insurance.
Anyway, “The Metro Bowler” had a fine article September 3, 2014, noting all players who qualified locally last year for the national finals this summer. There are many names on this list, but I am happy to mention a few qualifiers here: Men’s Doubles: 55-59 Ken Holets and Tim Racette; 60-64 - Roger Blad and Tom Havlish; 65-70 – Doug Burnikel and Tom Buntzen; 70-74 Don Theis and Larry Almstead; 75-79 – Bob Hanson and Dick Hansen; 80-84 – Herb Marth and Jim Bigelbach. Last but certainly not least – age 50-54 Smilin’ Carl Fietek and Sam Lantto. In addition to Senior Games honors, I am happy to mention Sam Lantto’s induction into the USBC Hall of Fame this Spring. Sam owns the highest average in ABC/USBC competition for bowlers with 30 years or more at 216. He owns two team all events eagles from the nationals also.
I had seen Sam bowl in CBA competition but my favorite story came around 1993 in the Minneapolis Masters tournament at Texa Tonka lanes. My book average at Stardust was around 205, but I had not had the pleasure of competing at the friendly confines of Tex. I was assigned to a pair of lanes with Sam Lantto and Don Breeden. Both of these gentlemen are making a showing on the PBA50 tour these days. Anyway, I started with a 279 and was feeling pretty good about being high on the pair after game one. I think I finished with a 710 that day and ended third on the pair to a couple of 750+ sets, but it was fun finishing just a couple of strikes behind those two masters. Congratulations Mr. Lantto for your well deserved honor. Now the only question remains: Why are there two “t”s in your surname when one would be sufficient?
Finally, now that league seasons are wrapping up, the 10th annual 700 club tournaments are coming in early May. St. Paul division will be at Flaherty’s while the Minneapolis event is at Southtown. This is a four game scratch tournament for anyone who had rolled a 700 or better series in league sanctioned competition. There are four divisions – A 199 & under AA – 200 & over; B Age 60+ and 199 & under, BB Age 60+ and 200 & over. Good Luck!