Gregory Bean has only been bowling for 2½ years, but the 11-year-old Oakbrook Middle School student already has achieved something bowlers many years his senior only dream about — perfection.
On Jan. 7, while bowling in the Cyber Patrol League, Bean rolled 12 consecutive strikes to become one of the youngest bowlers to ever roll a 300 game. The perfect game was the icing on what easily was his best series. His two previous games were 211 and 215, both well over his 169 average, and gave him his first 700 series. The 726 series was 219 pins over his 507 average.
“I wasn’t expecting (the perfect game),” Bean said. “In about the third or fourth frame I left a big split, then one of the pins fell and knocked the other one over. The last strike I think was the best ball I rolled.”
With each strike he rolled, the crowd of spectators grew.
“Gregory is pretty mellow and easygoing,” said his mother, Christina Bean. “He’s not a jump in the air, scream and holler type of kid. I wasn’t going to say anything to make anybody nervous, but I was wondering if he would be able to continue. It was neat to watch. He kept his composure the whole time.”
Bean’s father, Derek, said he has watched all but three games his son has bowled, and the two bowl together in a summer league.
“He went up to a 12-pound ball. When he had a 10-pound ball he was focusing on being precise. He’s a perfectionist,” said Derek, whose best game was a 298 he bowled 12 years ago.
Will Christie, the junior director at Sandpiper Lanes, said Bean is the youngest 300 bowler he has seen at Sandpiper in nearly 20 years. The youngest recognized 300 bowler is a 9½-year-old girl in Florida.
“That isn’t normally achieved until adulthood,” Christie said. “He’s a talented, upcoming bowler, but no one expected him to get a 300. I was here, but not watching. We had another league going on. Everyone was down there cheering and we didn’t know what it was about. But the word spread in about five minutes. Everybody was in awe.”