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Bowling couple from Spring Grove still going strong after more than six decades on lanes

BARRY SPARKS
717-505-5403/@ydsports
Dick Morelock, 92 and Mary Morelock, 88,  have been bowling together for more than 60 years. They are from Spring Grove.

When Mary Morelock's cousin asked her and her husband, Dick, to join a mixed league at the Clearview Lanes, the couple decided to give bowling a try to see if they liked it.

That was September of 1960, around the same time that presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon engaged in their first televised debate; the American Football League made its debut and Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals in the Rome Olympics.

Now, more than 60 years later, the Hanover center where they started is gone. The Morelocks, however, are still going strong. Dick, 92, and Mary, 88, are both still on the lanes, bowling together in the Thursday Afternoon Senior League at Hanover Bowling Center.

"We knew right away that we enjoyed bowling," Dick said. "We got a late start (Dick was 31 years old), but we have been bowling together every year since 1960."

The Spring Grove couple, who bowls year-round, always look forward to coming to the center.

"We have made so many friends through bowling," Mary said. "It's great to get out and be social. There's so much camaraderie among bowlers."

Not just social outings: For the Morelocks, however, bowling is more than a social outing. They are competitive bowlers. Dick averages 175, while Mary averages 145. Each laments that their average has slipped through the years. Ten years ago, Dick averaged 216 and Mary averaged 165. Occasionally, they have to be reminded that their averages are outstanding for their ages.

Dick, a member of the York-Adams Bowling Hall of Fame, holds a number of local senior records. He is the oldest York Countian to roll an 800 series and a 300 game. He was 82 when he rolled an 815 series and 88 when he notched his sixth career 300 game.

Dick and Mary each have reluctantly cut back on the number of leagues they compete in due to the physical demands. At one time, they each competed in three leagues and substituted regularly.

"I would bowl three nights a week, if my legs didn't get so tired," Dick said.

"Amazing couple:" Kristen Gessner, manager at Hanover Bowling Centre, said: "The Morelocks are an amazing couple, on and off the lanes. They're a great example of love and friendship in a marriage and that bowling is truly a lifetime sport."

What advice would the Morelocks give to other senior couples?

"Give bowling a try to see if you like it," Mary said. "You may be surprised. Don't let your age stop you. Bowling is a wonderful experience, and you can get so much out of it."

The Morelocks say they have no plans of retiring from the lanes.

Reach Barry Sparks at sports@yorkdispatch.com.