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Rolling Strong at 75
Written by Bradley Schlegel Correspondent
2015-03-04

League bowler Larry Hoff recently became the oldest bowler to bowl a perfect game at the East Greenville Fire Company lanes.

Larry Hoff rolls second 300 game

                Larry Hoff initially flirted with 300 in 1980. Competing in a traveling league at the Palm American Legion, he opened a game with 11 straight strikes.  His 12th ball firmly struck the right pocket, but left a solid seven pin.  "I threw the ball as well as I could," said Hoff, who had to settle for a 299. "I figured I would never roll a perfect game."

                In 2002, Hoff finally rolled his first career 300 game, registering 12 consecutive strikes in the Dean Steinman Memorial League at the East Greenville Fire Company.  The pressure of remaining perfect continued to build as the 10th frame approached, according to Hoff.  "I was pretty nervous," the Pennsburg resident said.

                On Feb. 19, six days short of the 13th anniversary of his first 300 game, Hoff did it again on the same two lanes.

                After opening with scores of 211 and 226, Hoff, who rolls with a short hook and aims at the lane's second arrow from the right, found his groove in the third game.  "I had the same lift and speed on every roll," he said. "I felt real good." 

                This time Hoff ignored the related tension as the strikes continued to mount, focusing on each frame.  "After my eighth strike, I knew I was going to do something big," said Hoff, 75. "I could feel a high score coming. I had the right rhythm and timing."

                On the climactic strike, Hoff watched the ball leave his right hand, but he couldn't see the result.  "I looked at the pins, but everything was blurry," he said.

                Hoff, the oldest in the league to roll a perfect game, said an outburst of cheering and applause from the other bowlers and spectators standing behind the lanes informed him of the result.

                According to Hoff, rolling a 300 game requires a combination of luck, skill and the ability to successfully repeat your delivery.  "Bowling is all about repetition," he said. "Doing it well requires finding timing and rhythm at same time."

                Hoff never expected to roll another perfect game, "especially at my age," he said.  A bowler for nearly 50 years and a competitor in the league since the 1970s, Hoff says his scores dropped after he suffered a pinched sciatic nerve.  "I noticed that I couldn't generate the arm speed I needed," he said.

                In January, Hoff returned to the league following a two-year absence. Within six weeks, he says his arm strength has improved significantly.  "The exercises I did really paid off," said Hoff, who currently carries a 178 average.


 

 

 

 

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