Editorís Note: The Press Gazette is counting down the top sports stories of 2012. Here is No. 11, Mike Hamada bowling his first 300 game.



Mike Hamada marked something off his bowling bucket list recently when he bowled his first 300 game.

Hamada, a left handed bowler who has come close on several occasions, will occasionally wear the ring he received from the United States Bowling Congress for achieving the feat.

"When I let go of that shot I remember hearing myself say carry," Hamada recalled of the night. "For me it was a dream come true to finally bowl my first 300 game.

"But I missed my other goal of having an 800 series that night by finishing with a 786."

Hamada, who runs the pro shop at Oops Alley, would have to average 267 for three games to achieve the 800 series, but he finished with a 262 on the night.

Despite his excitement, Hamada put his feat into perspective.

"I know a lot of really good bowlers who haven't even gotten close to bowling a perfect game (300)," Hamada said. "There is always that shot or two that seems to get away from you."

So when did reality set in on Hamada, who currently bowls in three leagues this summer plus run his business.

"When I got up in the 10th frame I really started thinking about it," Hamada said. "Then when I got my 11th strike I heard some people behind me which gave me chills, but by the 12th strike everyone in the house was behind me and the place went nuts."

Ironically the sport of bowling can quickly humble you despite all the well-wishers and questions.

"People asked me the next week if I was going to bowl a perfect game again," Hamada said. "But doing something like this is not easy and I know I didn't bowl some of my best games the next week."

Hamada pointed out one bowler he knew bowled a perfect game and in the two previous games shot a 160 and 140.

"It is just not an easy thing to do," Hamada pointed out.

Some feel it may be easier for a left-hander to do since the lanes do not change as much, but Hamada quickly rejects that notion.

"I don't know if being a left-hander is an advantage or not," said Hamada, who started bowling 20 years ago in a church league after taking a long break from the sport. "A lot depends on the transition of the lane and how the oil is carried down to the end.

"Sometimes the track gives way and other times you might have another left-handed bowler, but I don't think there is any difference."