A perfect ending for father and son

Mike Snow (left) was the first member of the Snow family to bowl a perfect game. Three weeks later, father John bowled one too.

Andrew Miller

Like father, like son. Or in this case, maybe it should be like son, like father.

Three weeks after watching his son Mike bowl a perfect game during a state-sanctioned tournament in Columbia, John Snow lined up in the 12th frame with a chance to become the second person in the family to reach the 300 mark.

"I think, in some ways, watching Mike go through it was more difficult than when I went through it," said Snow, who started to bowl competitively just two years ago. "I was so nervous watching Mike go through it, and then three weeks later, I was in the same position, trying to get a perfect game."

Mike, 15, was the first member of the Snow family to achieve perfection in bowling. With his father watching just a few feet away, Mike threw strike-after-strike for 12 straight frames.

"I couldn't believe it was happening," Mike said. "I was feeling pretty good, I was hitting my marks, but as the game went on, I was getting more and more nervous."

In between frames, Mike's teammates were trying to calm his anxious nerves. In the fifth frame, Mike thought he'd missed his mark, but the perfect game continued when all 10 pins fell.

"My friends were coming up to me between frames and telling me to relax and not to think about a perfect game,"

Mike said. "That's a lot easier said than done. By the 10th frame I was shaking pretty badly."

It wasn't much easier on John.

"I was in total shock because I couldn't believe what was happening," John said. "I was so excited and so happy for him and nervous all at the same time. I don't know who was more nervous during his game, him or me."

When news spread about Mike's perfect game, members of John's bowling team, the Outlanders, didn't let him forget about the fact that son had beaten father.

"It was good-natured stuff, but they were letting me hear about it," John said. "They definitely were not going to let me forget about the fact that Mike had a perfect game before I had one."

On the final night of the regular season, John jokingly told his Outlander teammates he was going to roll a 300.

"I was like, 'yeah, I'm going to do it tonight'. I'm going to get a 300, but I think everyone knew I was kidding"' John said.

It wasn't until the seventh or eighth frame when John realized he had a realistic shot at his first perfect game.

"Everyone kind of left me alone," John said. "I don't think anyone wanted to jinx me. I kind of felt like a pitcher throwing a no-hitter. No one wanted to be around me between frames. During the 11th and 12th frames, everyone stopped bowling and watched me. I was all by myself out there. I don't think I've ever been that nervous in my whole life."

When the final pin fell, Marrington Lanes on the Naval Weapons Station erupted in celebration.

"There's not a better feeling in bowling," John said.

Mike didn't get a chance to watch his father roll a perfect game.

"I was during some homework, but he called me during the 7th or 8th frame," Mike said. "I could tell he was a little nervous, but I was really happy for him."

Reach Andrew Miller at apmiller@postandcourier.com.