Big ups to this bowler in the sky.
Following the death of his father John Hinkle Sr., son John Jr., a two-time NCAA bowling champion, laced-up to play one of the luckiest games of his life on April 12.
Using a ball that had been custom made with the ashes of his late dad, the 39-year-old Western Illinois University bowler set out to bowl the perfect game as tribute, bringing his brother Joe with him to their hometown alley, Landmark Lanes in Peoria, Illinois.
After the elder Hinkle died in 2016, John decided to honor his father by having the thumb hole of his ball filled with his dad’s ashes. (His two-hand technique allows for only two fingers in the ball.)
“I was talking to my brother and told him, ‘I’m shooting a 300 with this ball,’ ” Hinkle, a Peoria Public Schools counselor, told WMBD-TV. “And Joe said, ‘Do it!’ ”
John had called it. “I had tears in my eyes in the 11th and 12th frames,” he said. “I couldn’t tell you where that last ball went, I had so many tears just throwing it.”
In a Facebook post immediately following his 12-strike streak, John called it an “epic night.”
“I can’t express what tonight means to me,” he wrote.
The Division I bowler admitted he’s bowled several 300-point games in his career, but this one meant a lot. His dad, who introduced him and his brother to the sport, had never achieved a perfect score.
“It’s special. Dad shot 298, 299 — never had a 300. I had goosebumps, chills,” Hinkle said. “He was there.”
Brother Joe also joked, “This makes up for so many nights growing up when we slept in a bowing alley while our parents were finishing league night.”
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