Six years ago, Michael Starliper bowled in one league, rolled 87 games and averaged 196.
Then, he got serious about bowling.
Last season, the 52-year-old right-hander competed in five leagues and occasionally substituted in a couple of other leagues. As a result, he rolled a York County-high 583 league games, while averaging a high of 229.
In addition to his league activity, Starliper typically practices every Sunday morning. This past summer, he also practiced daily at Suburban Bowlerama.
"I wanted to become more consistent," said Starliper, explaining his increased bowling activity. "I wasn't necessarily focused on increasing my average, but that tends to be the result of becoming more consistent."
The Dallastown resident has tallied 14 perfect games and 14 800 series, including a high series of 856. Most of his honor scores have been achieved in the past three years. He cracked the top-25 averages for York County men for the first time when he averaged 232 for 96 games at Suburban Bowlerama during the 2016-17 season.
Starliper said although most people think of bowling as a simple game, it's very complicated.
"The lane conditions, your ball speed, the rotation of the ball, your hand position and your mental approach, all affect your performance. I had to learn that not everything is the lane's fault," he laughed.
Starliper said competing in leagues helps increase his focus. It also gives him an opportunity to see if what he has practiced works in competition.
During practice, he works on his weak points, plays different parts of the lanes and tries to consistently repeat shots.
"Michael has an intense desire to get better," said Terry Miller, proprietor of Suburban Bowlerama. "He doesn't hesitate to ask questions and tap into other bowlers' knowledge. Plus, he reads bowling publications and websites. He's dedicated, and he puts a lot of time into practicing."
Starliper credits Miller and other bowlers, such as Andy Carson and Greg Bruff, with helping him improve and being supportive.
"Bowling is the one thing that I've noticed that if I practice, I can see my improvement," Starliper said. "That's very motivating to me."
Reach Barry Sparks at sports@yorkdispatch. This story was provided through the York County Bowling Proprietors Association.