When a triplicate eluded Jeremy Garside, the 16-year-old bowler took aim at a bigger accomplishment.
Garside bowled 203 in his first tenpin game during YBC league play at Duncan Lanes on Wednesday, Oct. 20, then came within a pin of matching it in his second game, hitting 202 when he left one pin standing in his final frame. Bob Linde, one of his coaches, was teasing him for missing a chance at a triplicate — three identical scores — when Garside pulled out his phone and scrolled to an episode of Married… with Children in which Al Bundy is trying to bowl a perfect game, but his wife Peggy bowls one instead.
After having a laugh over the Bundys’ exploits, Garside bowled a perfect game of his own.
An accomplished bowler with more than his share of regional and provincial accolades, Garside was into the sixth or seventh frame of his 300-point game before he realized what he was on the verge of. It really clicked after a close call in the eighth.
“That’s when I started getting nervous,” Garside said. “I looked back at the scoreboard and saw how many strikes I got in a row.”
Until then, Garside had been going through the motions of a usual Wednesday afternoon game: getting up and bowling, sitting down, watching a little TV between balls. Things suddenly got a little bit more tense as his grandparents and coaches, Duncan Lanes staff, and other onlookers gathered around.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Garside admitted.
His last frame seemed to pass in slow-motion as one pin remained standing until another fell across the lane and knocked it down.
“I was more in shock than anything,” Garside recalled. “I was smiling away though.”
With a previous high score of 239, Garside had envisioned bowling a perfect game, but never expected it to happen at such a young age.
“I had always hoped,” he said. “I didn’t think it would come this soon though.”
Garside is definitely the youngest to bowl a perfect game in the Cowichan Valley. That can be confirmed by Michael Frehlick, whose family has owned Duncan Lanes since 1972 and brought in tenpin bowling. There have been “40 or 50” perfect games over the years, but none by a teenager. It’s possible, but can’t be confirmed, that Garside is the youngest to accomplish the feat on Vancouver Island.
“Victoria does have a long history of bowling,” Frehlick noted. “But I guarantee he’s the youngest in the Valley.”
A student at Cowichan Secondary School, Garside has been bowling since he was four or five, and keeps putting in work to improve his game.
“I come to almost every practice,” he said. “I try and do better.”
His coaches, including Linde and Karen Smith, are proud to see Garside’s progress over the years.
“It’s pretty exciting to watch a youngster do something like that,” Linde said. “He’s gotten serious about it in the last four years.”
And what does Garside plan to do, now that he’s reached perfection?
“Just enjoy it and hopefully one day make another 300,” he said.