It will be Bowling Reunion No. 2 for the father-and-daughter duo of Howard “Buster” Smith and Christy Fentress on Tuesday night.
Smith, a Thousand Oaks resident, is an accomplished bowler who has taken part in leagues for more than 60 years – since his teenage years when he worked as a pinsetter for a now-defunct Tarzana bowling center.
Now daughter Christy has embraced the game and the two bowled on the same league team for the first time two weeks ago at Harley’s Camarillo Bowl.
Christy was filling in for an absent member on Smith’s team. On Tuesday night, Smith will be returning the favor, bowling on Christy’s team in the “Guys and Dolls” league at AMF Woodlake Lanes in Woodland Hills.
Smith is certain to draw some admiring looks from his fellow bowlers. At 80, Smith has a sterling 180 average and has bowled a 299 (“I buried the ball and the seven [pin] didn’t even wiggle,” recounts Smith about his final shot.) Smith bowled a rousing 752 series that night in 2009, adding scores of 226 and 227 on his second and third games.
Christy, a Thousand Oaks resident in just her second year of league bowling, is no slouch herself. She’s averaging 143 and has made several spirited attempts to log her first 200 game.
Smith has no doubts that his daughter is ready for some bowling breakthroughs. “I’ve reminded Christy that my mother – her grandmother – didn’t start bowling until she was 60 and she still bowled some 600 series. She was still bowling when she died at 79.”
Christy, for her part, said that she’s “keeping the [bowling] legacy going.”
Christy said bowling with her dad on the day before Thanksgiving was a memorable experience. “It was awesome but stressful because I had to help his team and didn’t want to screw it up and get a low score,” she said.
Her scores that night (143, 134, 160) gave her a 437 series, which was a few pins above her average. Moreover, she scored better than her dad in the final game.
‘She should never beat me,” Smith joked, “but I’ve had that kind of season,” adding lightheartedly that “it’s been downhill ever since [his 299].”
He’s hopeful that one day he’ll still bowl his perfect game. Said Christy: “He has a bottle of wine for when he eventually bowls his 300. Hopefully, it will age well.”
Smith said bowling a perfect game in the “Guys and Dolls” league would be a suitable forum. “As long as it’s sanctioned, then I can open my good bottle of wine,” he said, laughing.