Everyone around Tuolumne resident Jerry Fischer seemed to become silent as he rolled the final ball of his first-ever perfect 300-game.
“Honestly, I felt pretty nervous,” Fischer said by telephone Wednesday night. “Your legs kind of feel like spaghetti in the 10th frame and then on the last ball everybody stops bowling to watch and it gets really bad.”
However, Fischer didn’t let the pressure get to him and nailed his 12th strike in-a-row to accomplish one of the sport’s rarest of feats.
Avid bowler and Union Democrat columnist Ruth Abreo bowls in the Umchu Full House league on Thursdays with Fischer and said the first eight or so lanes at Black Oak Casino stopped to witness the moment.
Abreo said if Fischer truly did have rubbery legs like says, he certainly wasn’t showing it.
“He was like a cucumber,” said Abreo. “Cool, calm and collected.”
But that’s also simply his nature, according to Abreo, who describes Fischer as a typically “quiet and reserved person.”
“When it was his turn he just got up and rolled the ball,” Abreo said. “You would have never known he was working on a perfect game.”
When Fischer got that final strike, the crowd that had gathered around him on Lane 5 went wild.
“I got swarmed,” Fischer said. “Everybody was shaking my hand and telling me, ‘Nice game,’ and all that good stuff.”
Fischer has been bowling since he was 16 years old and the closest he’s ever come to rolling a 300 occurred about two weeks ago, when he rolled a 278.
His “Upscale Nails” teammate, Barbara Persson, of Tuolumne, has been a longtime fixture of the Tuolumne County bowling scene and said Fischer’s 300 marked the first time she’s had someone on her own team achieve perfection.
“I was very proud of him,” said Persson, who has known Fischer since he was a child. “It was really exciting to watch him do it.”
Fischer, who turns 60 on Friday, said he had drifted away from the sport after Sonora Bowl closed its doors in 2010, and it was Persson who convinced him just this past fall to join her team.
Fischer said he’s had a blast ever since teaming with Persson and hopes his perfect game will bump his average above 200, which was previously at 198.
But Fischer wasn’t the only one reaching perfection last week.
Just a day before Fischer’s 300-game, local pro Derek Gregory rolled his second since November 2009.
Abreo said Gregory told her the moment was made more significant by the fact he was using a ball he’d never rolled before that was given to him by the late PBA Tour champion Tony Reyes, who died in a car accident last September.
“Derek has been a PBA bowler and was acquainted with Tony,” Abreo said. “So it was special for him.”