With 11 perfect frames behind her, Seymour’s Amberly Bohall watched her bowling ball roll down the maple lane — and fell to the ground, as all but the No. 5 pin fell to the ground.
Bohall sprawled out on her back, with her arms crossed over her eyes in disappointment … until a loud, collective cheer erupted at Kingpins Bowl behind her.
She sat up and witnessed that one of the pins had swung around and knocked down the final one for a score of 300.
On Oct. 2, Bohall became the first woman in Seymour United States Bowling Congress (USBC) history to record a perfect game.
“I missed my mark and hit Brooklyn (when a bowler obtains a strike by throwing the ball into the opposite pocket) leaving the five pin,” Bohall said. “As I fell back on the floor feeling extremely disappointed, I heard the crowd behind me cheering, and I looked up and another pin knocked it down, giving me my 12th strike. It was surreal.
“I think my mom was more excited than I was. She came running up on the lane crying and hugging me. She basically tackled me.”
Bohall had gotten very close to a perfect game in the past, scoring a 297.
“After the front 11, I was so nervous that I could barely stand, let alone throw the ball down the lane,” Bohall said of the 297 score. “I left a 7 count and was so frustrated that I told myself, ‘When I’m in that situation again, I’m going to do whatever it takes to calm my nerves.’
“Bowling is like riding a bicycle, so I think the main reason I was able to roll a 300 this time was keeping my mental game in check. I stayed focused, which is not an easy task for me, and allowed my body to just do what it knows how to do. My dad is constantly reminding me to slow down and take a deep breath so I made sure I took his advice. My legs still felt like rubber, but I was able to hold it together this time.”
While she took a little break from bowling after starting at a young age, Bohall started playing more competitively again in her adult live.
“I started bowling at Starlite Bowl in the Bantams and Preps League when I was 5 years old,” Bohall said. “I was almost a teenager when bowling took a backseat to other activities and sports. The high school did not have a bowling program when I was there, and neither did Franklin, where I attended college.
“I was eager to bowl again when I moved back home in 2004. I started on our Thursday Night Ladies’ league and have been competitively bowling in different leagues since then.”
The sport is now an activity she enjoys with her kids.
“I can’t say that I was ‘drawn’ to the sport of bowling. I just didn’t know any different. It is just a part of life for my family,” Bohall said. “My grandma, Clara Brooks, was the first woman in Seymour to put up a 600 series. My other grandparents loved bowling, especially my grandpa, who would have been happier than anybody to see my 300; my mom and dad bowl, and my brother used to bowl here, as well.
“The center is really like a second home to me. Now my kids come out and play and beg for quarters just like I used to do. I’m hoping that their time spent at the alley will turn into a love of the sport like it did for me.”
Moving forward, Bohall has a new set of achievements she hopes to accomplish.
“I am a very self-competitive person, so I am always trying to set and reach new personal goals,” Bohall said. “And although being the first woman in Seymour to roll a 300 has always been at the top of my list, I have plenty of other achievements I want to earn, the biggest being an 800 series.
“I am bowling one night a week on Friday Nite Mixed. I rarely bowl in the offseason, and I do not participate in tournaments anymore but am hoping to eventually get back into that once my kids get older. Bowling doesn’t discriminate, so even if I’m old and feeble or even disabled, I plan to continue until it’s no longer an option.”