|8/26/2014 9:33:00 PM|
Time to spare
For 100-year-old, bowling is right up his alley
By Betsy Reason
|Myron “Duke” Paugh took up bowling at age 85. He turned 100 on Monday and is the oldest of the 80 bowlers – 20 teams of four -- in the Silver Stars league at Cooper’s Stardust Bowl in Noblesville. But some of his competitors aren’t far behind him in age, with a few bowlers in their 90s.|
|Myron “Duke” Paugh of Fishers bowled a 159 on Monday as he celebrated his 100th birthday at Cooper’s Stardust Bowl in Noblesville.|
Turning 100 is an amazing milestone in itself.
But even more so if you can pick up an 11-pound bowling ball and roll it down the lane.
And then score a strike, three spares and a 9 in the first five frames.
Myron "Duke" Paugh bowled a 159 on Monday as he celebrated his 100th birthday at Cooper's Stardust Bowl in Noblesville.
While the Fishers resident can't see as well as he used to, and he needs a little help getting positioned on the lane, Paugh's competitive spirit makes up for any deficits.
"He's an inspiration to the whole league. It gives you something to look forward to," said Guy Barger, 70, Noblesville, president of the Silver Stars, a Monday afternoon bowling league, for ages 50 and older, in its third of 34 weeks.
"He's a super competitive individual. He doesn't like to lose," Barger said.
While Paugh is the oldest of the 80 bowlers - 20 teams of four -- in the league, some of his competitors aren't far behind him in age, with a few bowlers in their 90s.
Paugh, himself, took up bowling at age 85.
"I had to give up golf, and I had to give up tennis," said Paugh, who played both sports until he was 90.
"I took up bowling, and I really like it," he said, then slowly standing up to bowl a practice frame.
"I think I bowl first on our team, so I have to be ready," Paugh said.
A couple of minutes later, Paugh - donning large black eyeglasses -- was called to take his turn.
Teammate Joe DiCandito, 86, Noblesville, guided Paugh to the lane, where Paugh picked up his red, black and yellow bowling ball, slowly moved to his position, concentrated on the 10 pins at the end of the lane, and rolls the bowling ball down the lane.
All of the pins were knocked down after the second ball of the frame, which scored Paugh a spare.
"I feel pretty lucky," Paugh said, as he sat down, waiting his turn for the second frame.
When asked if he thought of himself as a good bowler, he said, "Never was very good. Better golfer than bowler."
"But I needed a sport, something to get me going," he said.
His bowling average was 124 going into this league season. "That's not very good," said Paugh, who bowled a 200 and a 189 while in his late 90s.
"I had a 149 last week. For me, that's good," Paugh said. "It's not very good otherwise."
"I can't throw with any speed. I need to throw it harder," he said.
Nonetheless, he has a strategy: "I just try to hit the headpin," he said.
His teammates encourage Paugh every time he gets up to bowl. "He's doing very well. He's got a mark in each frame," said DiCandito, when the bowlers were halfway through their 10 frames.
"He has good games, and then he has bad ones," DiCandito said. They've been bowling together in the league for four years. "He can't always throw the ball exactly like he wants because of his age."
That's why DiCandito is right by Paugh's side. "I have to help him. He can't see the end of the alley, but he knows the pin numbers. So if I tell him what the pin numbers are, he knows what to do. If I tell him a 6-10, he knows where that is."
DiCandito said, "He's very competitive. If he doesn't bowl well, he gets upset. I tried to tell him, 'Duke, you're 99. Don't worry about it.'"
"He bowls as well as anybody around here does," said Cathy Cooper, owner of the third-generation family-owned bowling center. She said Paugh never misses a week.
"He always wants to know if we are ahead or behind. He wants to win, like everyone else," said teammate Bertie Sonnerville, 71, Noblesville, secretary-treasurer of the league. "Right now, he's doing awesome. He's showing right off, is what he's doing."
Paugh is thankful that DiCandito is always there to help him. "I'm afraid of falling down. I get a little bit dizzy," he said. "I can't walk very far."
He uses a cane to get to and from the car. He doesn't drive anymore. "They took my license away when I was about 90," he said. Paugh usually gets a ride to bowling with his son, John Paugh, 63, Fishers, with whom he lives. Paugh also has a daughter who lives in South Carolina.
As far as Paugh's health? "I think it's above average," he said of himself, though he notices tremors in his hands.
But on the bright side, he said, "I do have hair. I'm pretty lucky."
What keeps him young? "I can't answer that question. I don't know," he said.
"I have a drink in the evening; sometimes I have two. I had this doctor who said, 'One or two won't hurt you; in fact it's good for you,'" he said.
Paugh was born in Mason, Ill., and served five years in the U.S. Army during World War II, stationed in London during the Blitz. Paugh opened a GMC truck dealership in 1955 in Anderson, and built Duke's Truck Center. He experienced bowling for the first time in the mid-1960s when his company had a league team at Cooper's Stardust Bowl in Anderson. "I thought it was an interesting sport," said Paugh, who retired in 1979.
Bowling teammate Buck Lightle, 64, Noblesville, is new to the league and on Paugh's team. "When I first joined the league, our secretary, which is also my teammate, Bertie, she asked me, she said, 'What do you think about bowling with Duke, a hundred years old?' And I said, 'I'm honored to bowl with him. I think it's great. And I'm kind of jealous of him. I'm hoping I can stand up when I'm a hundred years old."
Lightle said, "Right now he's bowling better than me."
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