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After nearly 70-year wait, York County bowler finally rolls first perfect game at age 82

BARRY SPARKS
717-505-5403/@ydsports
Larry Wolfe
  • York's Larry Wolfe recently rolled his first 300 game at age 82.
  • He became the oldest York County bowler ever when rolling his first 300.
  • Wolfe first started bowling nearly 70 years ago, when Harry Truman was still president.

It was a scene repeated numerous times over the past four decades.

Larry Wolfe, 82, would gather up his bowling equipment twice a week, kiss his wife, Kathleen, goodbye and she would say: "Get your 300 today." Or ask: "Are you getting your 300 today?"

Week after week, year after year, however, Wolfe came home empty-handed.

Almost every week, however, his wife would still ask about his 300 or encourage him to achieve bowling perfection. It got to be a bit of a joke. After all, he had been bowling nearly 70 years without recording a 300.

After 63-year wait, York County bowler Tim O'Donnell finally finds perfection — twice

All that changed on Wednesday, Sept. 16, when Wolfe rolled his first 300 at Suburban Bowlerama. He became the oldest York County bowler ever when rolling his first 300. The distinction had belonged to Tim O'Donnell, who rolled his first 300 at age 78 in 2018.

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"I was tickled to death with the 300. It was as great a feeling as I imagined it would be," said Wolfe, who has been chasing a perfect game since Harry Truman was president.

He had never given up on goal: Despite the long drought, Wolfe said he had never given up on the idea of rolling a 300. He has a 299 game and a 297 game to his credit.

"I have been close before and ended up disappointed," said the York southpaw, who averaged 187 last year. "So, I didn't start to think about a possible 300 until late in the game. For some reason, I was calm and comfortable. I wasn't nervous at all."

When he got on the approach to roll his final ball, he reminded himself to repeat what he'd been doing. And, he hoped for a little luck.

His final shot pounded the pocket, scattering all 10 pins and ending a near-70-year quest.

As the scoring monitor flashed 300, dozens of his bowling mates congratulated him on the achievement.

"Good times come to those who wait," reflected the patient Wolfe.

No plan to retire from game: The octogenarian has no plans to retire from the lanes, so another perfect game isn't out of the realm of possibility.

Regardless of what happens, he will always treasure his long-sought 300 game. The best part of the special moment was getting to tell his wife about it.

"She was quite surprised," said Wolfe, with a smile and a twinkle in his eye.

Reach Barry Sparks at sports@yorkdispatch.com.