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When the message arrived at The Gazette newsroom announcing bowler Amos Gordon had rolled a 900 series at Fort Carson's Thunder Alley, skepticism was abundant. I expected the next call to inform us a local slow-pitch softball hitter had launched an 857-foot home run.
"I'm very surprised, too," Gordon told me Monday night. "I was just trying to get 800. My mind wasn't even on a 900. I was trying to stay calm and just bowl."
Gordon used the Roto Grip Asylum.
Gordon bowled a 900 series Friday night at Fort Carson's Thunder Alley, completing his perfect series of three 300 games at 9:30 p.m. while a crowd of 50 fellow bowlers watched. As he neared perfection, the lanes went silent.
When he completed this rare dance with bowling purity, the bowlers shouted and clapped and slapped him on the back. The shouting and clapping and slapping have not ended.
This 900 is a big deal. A massively big deal. Only 23 other bowlers have recorded perfect series certified by the U.S. Bowling Congress. Gordon's 900 already is listed on the USBC website, although there is an asterisk.
The asterisk should soon vanish, USBC spokesman Matt Cannizzaro said.
"Everything, to this point, certainly looks good," Cannizzaro said. "There shouldn't be an issue at all."
Life for Gordon since the 900 has been one long bowling party. He estimates he's shaken hands with 400 bowlers since the perfect series.
One of those handshakes was on Monday night at Harmony Bowl on North Academy. Gordon, a civilian, was there bowling with friends and recorded a 267 game and a 702 series.
But everyone wanted to talk about the perfection of Friday night.
"Amazing," Terry Hendricks said, clasping Gordon's hand. "Congratulations."
A few minutes later, Hendricks shook his head as he considered Gordon's effort.
"When you think about 36 strikes in a row and a 900, you think .?"
Hendricks paused, searching for the right word.
"You think impossible."
Marvin Williams watched nearly all of the 36 strikes. He was next to Gordon at Thunder Alley on Friday, watching from lanes 35 and 36 while Gordon bowled in 33 and 34.
"There were a whole host of things that could go wrong," Williams said.
But nothing went wrong. All the pins tumbled, thanks to Gordon's power and expert ball rotation.
"It was exciting to watch," Williams said. "To even shoot 800 for a three-game set is a monumental task."
Gordon, 29, started bowling 11 years ago when he was a freshman at Methodist College in North Carolina. First-year students were prohibited from bringing cars to campus, and this left Gordon and his friends looking for nearby fun.
They found this fun at a bowling center across the street from the college. Gordon, who is 6 feet 5, immediately showed promise.
His scores began to soar four years ago when he purchased his first bowling ball, a used one that cost $60. He studied bowlers on the Internet and polished his style.
Gordon is a decidedly non-flashy bowler. He scrunches down as he examines the pins and then takes a three-step approach before releasing. He keeps his movement to a minimum.
"I'm just a nonchalant kind of guy," Gordon said. "I learned from different things and different people and adapted different things by watching different things. I created my own style with it."
Gordon has recorded several certified series in the high 700s and one uncertified effort of 840. His average hovers near 230, and he expect all the pins to drop every time he takes his short approach to release.
But a 900 series?
Even the man who rolled his way to perfection still struggles to believe.
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