Sports

Apr 19, 2013 3:42 PM by Greg Smith

Local athlete could be the best female bowler ever

One of the best bowlers in the country, maybe ever, lives right in our own backyard. And when you find out who it is, you'll be surprised.

With a 238 average and 25 national titles, the best bowler in the state is a woman who's been beating men her whole life.

"On a given day, I do believe a woman can beat a man," says Tish Johnson. "But not on a long period of time. Their rev rate is a lot higher than ours, you know, they can get pins to fly around. I can get pins to fly around, but not like them."

But she can do it like them. In one tournament, after she became the only woman to ever beat a field of men in a megabucks event, she received what has to be one of the biggest compliments a woman bowler can get.

"They wrote me a letter actually and asked me not to come back."

Tish Johnson has been beating men and women since she turned pro at 18, racking up 97 perfect games so far. The most of any woman in history.

"I had my first 300 when I was 15--three in a month or four a month--and then I won't shoot one for another seven months."

But maybe the most impressive number she owns is 48. The number of years she's been able to stay on the lanes. Something she attributes to the excercise she gets just from playing.

"Every time you swing a bowling ball," Johnson says. "It's 75 pounds just of the G-force. Every three games you bowl, you walk 2.3 miles. You use 92 percent of every muscle in your body. Bowling is a sport. It's just hard to get people to realize that."

Convincing everyone that it's a sport is about the only thing left for Tish to accomplish in bowling. But that doesn't mean she's slowing down.

"Well I just had a break. I was off for eleven weeks. It killed me. I just love it. I love competing. I don't like to lose, so if I don't think I can put my shoes on and win, I don't do it. But as long as I still think I can beat you, or I can beat Pete Weber, or Walter Ray Williams, I'm going to do it. Because I think I'm just as good as they are."

After all, now that she's 50, she qualifies for senior events. A whole new crop of men, and women, to beat.

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