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An appreciation of bowler Tim Tschappat

Tim Tschappat once bowled a 269 game.
Tim Tschappat once bowled a 269 game.
Fred Eisenhammer

A day after the news broke at AMF Woodlake Lanes in Woodland Hills that Tim Tschappat had died, veteran bowler Tom Martino was talking to a friend about the shock of losing a compadre on the lanes.

“I’ve been thinking about Tim all day,” he said. “He was very soft-spoken and genuine. It’s really sad.”

Tim was only 55 when he died two weeks ago at his Winnetka home. He was a longtime bowler in the San Fernando Valley who showed up for league action armed with a huge-breaking hook and a dry wit.

Friends described him as easygoing and friendly and dependable. But he was more than that.

He was a gentle soul who was quietly affable. This was no braggart. This was someone who just liked to go to the lanes, bowl his best and then go home.

This was not the stereotyped bowler who screamed and yelled when he made a strike. Tim never made a spectacle of himself.

“He was an easygoing guy and that’s all you can say,” said Adrienne Roseberry, who bowled on the same team as Tim.

That wasn’t a putdown. That was just a declaration that Tim made his mark by being a nice guy, which isn’t a bad distinction.

Still, Tim knew how to have fun in his inimitable fashion.

“Tim and I were always trash-talking,” recalled bowler Jamie Beeler, adding that Tim was “a very good person.”

Tim also was a surprisingly productive bowler. He may have averaged 140, but he could do much better at any particular time. He once rifled a certified 269 with his guided-missile strike ball and very accurate spare ball.

“Sometimes the lanes are kind and sometimes they throw me for a loop,” Tim once said.

And when he didn’t get the breaks, he never cursed his luck. He just walked up to the line the next time and calmly shot his big-breaking, big-action-inducing hook toward the pocket, scattering pins everywhere.

He was a gentleman in every sense of the word.

“He was a good man,” said Tim’s younger brother, Scott Tschappat. “He treated everyone with respect and that’s all you can ask.”

He certainly will be missed.