Thursday, May 19, 2022
May 19, 2022

Linkedin Pinterest

Gleason’s first 300 game ‘just happened’ after 60-plus years of bowling

Vancouver resident says he was more focused on his team than milestone

By , Columbian sports staff

Phil Gleason was due.

A bowler since he was 16 years old, the Vancouver resident had yet to have a perfect 300 game.

“I’ve had a 299, 298, but never 300,” Gleason said.

At age 78, on the evening of Feb. 25 at Husted’s Hazel Dell Lanes, Gleason was due.

And that’s when it happened.

Bowling in the Alki-Nuts League, Gleason rolled the first 300 game of his life.

Funny thing though, he said he wasn’t even really aware of it because he was focused on his team.

“I was into the game and really didn’t see it coming because of the team aspect of it,” he said. “It just happened. Just like a hole-in-one in golf, if it’s there, it’s there. If not, well then …”

Bowling against Gleason that night was Steve Long of Vancouver.

“He’s just a nice guy,” Long said. “We decided to be easy on each other going into that night.”

Long, who said his highest game has been a 279, was beat in the first game by Gleason.

“The second game was a stupid 300!” Long said laughing. “But I was really happy for him.”

Gleason said when he got to the 10th frame with nine strikes in a row he told himself how he had been in this position before.

“I was still most interested in the team,” he said. “I just got up and hit my mark, followed through, and there it was.”

He didn’t even realize the large crowd of people gathered around to see if he could do it. Many of the other league matches had already ended.

“I heard cheers, but I was in my zone,” he said. “Got to the 11th and threw a strike.”

The 12th strike was just as solid.

“My line was good,” Gleason said. “It was just a good pace.”

Gleason said he didn’t even feel any nerves until it was over.

“You realize what you’ve done,” he said. “It feels good.”

Gleason, retired since 2013, said his bowling average is down this year to about 185, but he’s usually around 195.

Above everything else, Gleason just likes the social aspect to league nights.

“I enjoy bowling because of the competition and the whole team aspect of it,” he said. “The people you meet and compete against. And it’s good exercise. Not stressful.”

Especially now that the elusive 300 game is in his back pocket.

Support local journalism

Your tax-deductible donation to The Columbian’s Community Funded Journalism program will contribute to better local reporting on key issues, including homelessness, housing, transportation and the environment. Reporters will focus on narrative, investigative and data-driven storytelling.

Local journalism needs your help. It’s an essential part of a healthy community and a healthy democracy.

Community Funded Journalism logo