February 05, 2002 11:00 pm
STRIKE A POSE: Former professional bowler Jim Chadwick already has an 800 series and a 300 game under his belt. (The Observer/RAENELLE KWOCK).
STRIKE A POSE: Former professional bowler Jim Chadwick already has an 800 series and a 300 game under his belt. (The Observer/RAENELLE KWOCK).

By Raenelle Kwock

Observer Staff Writer

Bowling ball.

The Rock Bowling and Fun Center.

Jim Chadwick.

These three fit together, and it is a noteworthy connection. Last Thursday, Chadwicks first and second series were 757 and 753 at the Rock in La Grande. It was the highest series so far for the center.

However, to Chadwick, a licensed tax consultant, it was a good night.

The La Grande man said he learned to bowl shortly after learning to walk.

I actually wet my pants on the bowling lanes, he said. Chadwick kept score and watched his father bowl, who once had a perfect 300 game.

About 18 years ago, Chadwick joined the Professional Bowlers Association and competed in regional tournaments, realizing he wanted to give it a shot. He bowled at Blue Mountain Lanes in La Grande until it closed in 1991 and became a tire warehouse.

During this time, Chadwick did not make it into the Top 10 or 20, and he found it tough making a living.

Im just thankful that if I got a gift to bowl, thats great, but its not life and death, Chadwick said.

His two goals have already been accomplished: the perfect game and an 800 series (a series is three games). He got his perfect game back in 1986. He received two rings from the American Bowling Congress for his two accomplishments.

Chadwicks high average this year is 218. In order to get an 800 (an average of 266 per game), he said good breaks and skill are important.

This last summer when I had the 800 series, that was special, Chadwick said. That was something that I had always wanted to do. I had gotten close to it, but never really had made it.

Chadwick likes to bowl well and be competitive.

I think my bowling has gotten better primarily because I have figured out there are a lot more important things in the world, you know, he said.

Chadwick said the four keys to bowling at a high level are: lane conditions, mental aspect, concentration and focus.

Lane condition can easily manipulate scores, Chadwick said. Depending on the oil on the lane, someone can either get strikes or be shut out.

Aside from that, the biggest thing about bowling is the ability to adjust, Chadwick said. At the professional level, bowlers go from one bowling center to the next and encounter various lane conditions. Those bowling on the same lanes week after week are not facing the change in condition on the professional level every week.

I think thats where Im better now than I used to be, because bowling used to be such a high priority to me, Chadwick said. I think I didnt really relax. I think it actually hurt me being so intense all the time, that it was sort of self- defeating.

As of now, Chadwick is considering the senior tour and giving lessons to adults and children.

Just like these kids (that were in the bowling alley at the time), to have a kid that wants to bowl or an adult thats struggling and needs some help, if you can help them and make them better, theres a satisfaction in there.