The last thing any athlete wants is an unusual distraction in the middle of a hot streak.
That’s exactly what Todd Peffer encountered Nov. 6 at Midway Bowling Center.
With a career-best series essentially under wraps, the 43-year-old was eyeing up the house record of 847 midway through the third game of the night. But the pair of lanes he was bowling on broke down in the eighth frame.
Peffer, his team and his opponents in the Monday night Men’s Continental league had to move to a new pair and find their shot with just a few frames to go. That can be a jarring experience for any bowler, much less one in a rhythm like Peffer.
And that was with the added pressure of going for that aforementioned house record, set in the sometime around 1980, Peffer said, by Butch Mengle.
“I was nervous,” Peffer said.
Well, it didn’t seem to matter. Peffer, throwing a Radical Guru Mighty all night, struck on the new pair until the final shot in the 10th frame, leaving a 10 pin. He finished with a three-game set of 300-300-278 for an 878.
Peffer, a 2015 Greater Harrisburg Bowling Association Hall of Famer, struck on his first 27 shots, leaving the 7 pin in the fourth frame of the third game to ruin a shot at 900. His 300s were Nos. 8 and 9, he said.
Peffer is familiar with having the hot hand. He said Nov. 6 felt similar to other big nights, but the biggest difference was the pins just kept falling.
“When I shot the first two 300 games, I knew what the house record was at Midway,” Peffer said in a phone call Thursday. “I just wanted to keep striking.”
Peffer has been bowling at Midway since he was 5, he said, and his parents, who bowled regularly and introduced him to the sport at a young age, were there to witness the milestone night. Peffer, who said he averages around 220, has shot an 800 series four prior times — his previous best was an 809.
“I bowl with my dad, so I’m always glad that he’s there,” said Peffer, whose mom was bowling in the women’s league right nearby.
“That’s one of the good things about our league, people are supportive,” he said. “They were cheering me on.”