» Perfect is good enough

Perfect is good enough


Getting close is good enough in horseshoes, but for Michael Loidolt, an avid bowler and the customer service representative/agent at Grand Rapids State Agency, achieving a perfect game in bowling has always been a goal.  Wednesday night, Michael’s dream came true.

“I had told my boss, Mike Olson, that if I ever bowled a perfect game I wouldn’t come to work the next day,” said Michael. “But I came to work anyway because Mike was on vacation this week, and I couldn’t leave Becky (Irving) shorthanded.  I have to admit, however, that I was a little preoccupied that morning.”

For those GRSB blog readers who are non-bowlers, a perfect game is 300 points.  If a bowler rolls strikes (knocking down all 10 pins on one throw) for 10 consecutive frames, they’re entitled to two additional throws.  In order to score 300, the 11th and 12th throws must result in strikes, too.  Michael tells the story about the last few rolls.

“I’ve had a perfect game through the front seven (frames) 20 to 30 times before,” Michael explained, “so until the eighth frame I wasn’t too bothered.  In the eighth frame I had a misstep on my approach.  I made my throw, and the 7-pin didn’t want to fall.  Something came out of the gutter really late and knocked it down.  ‘I got away with one,’ I said to myself.

“The throw on the ninth frame came in well and everything fell.  About this time, I knew that everyone in the house knows I’ve got a perfect game going into the 10th, which is a big deal,” Michael continued.  “The scores are posted electronically above every lane, so everyone sees everyone else’s scores.  This is league, so we’re competitive anyway.

“I kept my mind occupied between frames by recording both my and the other team members' scores and pin totals on the score sheet” he said.  “I didn’t want to dwell on this.  When it was my turn in the 10th, I missed my spot a bit, but everything fell.

“So now I have two more throws, the extra 11th and 12th roll. My 11th throw was off a bit, too, but everything fell again.  I didn’t look around; I didn’t really want any feedback from my teammates.  I was in my own little world at that point, trying to concentrate on sticking to my pre-shot routine.”

“I had been to the last ball once before, and I threw a split.  There was a little pressure, I have to admit.  I always take a deep breath before I throw anyway, but on my 12th throw, I took two deep breaths to help calm my nerves.  The ball ran down the alley and everything exploded.”

“My dad is on my league team, and I gave him a big bear hug.  It was pretty special having him there to celebrate.  He’s the reason I started bowling in the first place, so it was pretty cool.”

Michael bowls for the Blueberry Hills Golf Course team in the Commercial League at Thunder Alley XL in Grand Rapids.  His teammates last Wednesday night were Larry Loidolt, Larry Nelson, Don Koski and Dave Carlson.

Michael has been bowling since he was 15. He bought a new bowling ball this year and thinks that may have something to do with his success.  Even before last Wednesday, this has been his best season.  

“My next goal is to bowl an 800 series,” said Michael.  “To put that in perspective, in the 60 years the bowling alley has been open in Grand Rapids there have been only 10 800-series, while I threw the fifth perfect (300) game this year.

“It was an experience I won’t forget,” said Michael. 

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