Over the Moon: City Man Bowls Perfection and Shatters RecordBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Saturday, October 29, 2005
North Adams – Richard “Rick” Moon bowled his way to glory on Oct. 27, when he delivered back-to-back perfect 300-score games at the Mount Greylock Bowl.
|Richard "Rick" Moon bowled two consecutive perfect score ten-pin games at the Mount Greylock Bowl on Oct. 27. He also broke a Berkshire region and Mount Greylock Bowl record for three-game total score.|
While he was at it, the Massachusetts Avenue resident shattered both the “house” and Berkshire region record, with a three-game total score of 867. The previous records were set in 2004 by Shaun Leonard of Pownal, Vt., who bowled an 858 three-game total.
And according to Moon, he wasn’t aware that he was bowling toward a record. Gary Superneau, the owner of the bowling arena, had to tell him what he’d done, Moon said.
“I had no idea,” Moon said during an Oct. 29 interview. “It was just another night out with the guys. After bowling was over, Gary came up and said ‘You know, you just broke the house and the Berkshire County record.’ I didn’t even say anything, I wasn’t sure what had happened.”
"Super" Bowl Rings
Fellow bowlers and spectators had ideas that Moon might set a record or two; when he threw his final strike, onlookers crowded around him and nearly pushed him across the lane’s foul line. Had Moon stepped over the line, the throw would have been void and Moon would not have been able to claim a second perfect score.
“From what I understand, people were standing around and calculating my score,” Moon said. “And there I was, just bowling and having fun, not even thinking about it.”
Superneau said that he’d believed the record set by Leonard would stand for much longer than a few months.
“When the 858 was set last year, I thought that would stand for a long time,” Superneau said. “Rick’s ability is amazing to begin with, and he just carried this off. He bowled two perfect games.”
The United States Bowling Congress will acknowledge Moon’s skills with two rings; one that commemorates the perfect score and another that honors a three-game total score of 800 or higher, Superneau said.
Moon Rise on Snow-y Lanes
Savoy resident Christopher Snow has also bowled back-to-back perfect games, and it was Snow that Moon was challenging during the Thursday night men’s league play. Moon and Snow were bowling the same lanes as Snow when he achieved his dual perfect scores.
Bowling one perfect game is cause for celebration, said Superneau, who added that bowling two perfect games in a row is cause for hero status among ten-pin bowlers. And as for three consecutive perfect games, Superneau said he believes only nine people in the world have accomplished the feat.
Bowling two consecutive perfect games is “unheard of,” Moon said, which may explain the reaction of Moon’s wife Tammy when he telephoned her to share the news.
“She said ‘OK, you’re joking, right?’ and I said ‘no, I’m not joking,’” Moon said.
Tammy Moon said that once she realized that her husband had indeed bowled two perfect games and set two new regional ten-pin records, she was excited.
“I’m very proud of him,” she said. “When I told my six-year-old daughter what he’d done, she said ‘well, did he win a prize?’”
Moon became an instant celebrity on Saturday morning; when Superneau announced Moon’s accomplishment over a loudspeaker during youth bowling activities, parents and children swarmed Moon to offer their congratulations.
After hearing about Moon's bowling accomplishments, several youth bowling league bowlers wanted to be photographed with Moon. Chelsea Brien, 5, Tonilee Therrien, 7, Anna Dix, 4, Elizabeth Lavigne, 5, and Jordan Dix, 7, said that they were proud of Moon.
Moon began bowling as a youth at the Mount Greylock Bowl and has been bowling for about 37 of his 41 years, he said. In the mid-1980s, he passed up a full college scholarship to pursue professional bowling.
“My mother was not happy about that,” he said.
He competed as a professional bowler throughout the United States, and focused mostly on East Coast tournaments. Moon said he finished with scores good enough win prize money, and the winnings were enough to finance his career.
“But don’t think it was all the time,” he said. “You don’t always have good games.”
He retired from professional bowling during the late 1990s, after he married.
“It was time to settle down,” he said.
He is employed as a technical administrator at the North Adams Public Library.
Moon said that he bowls with a 16-pound ball. Bowling balls range in weight, with the lightest weighing seven to eight pounds. The lightest weight balls are mostly used by children during youth league bowling.
A Kids' Game
Bowling is a very positive pursuit for youth, Moon said.
“My thoughts, from growing up in bowling leagues, I think it’s great,” he said. “It’s team competition and the kids get to meet other kids. Parents are usually involved, and when the kids accomplish something, everybody thinks it’s great.”
Most children and adults can improve their bowling skills and that builds confidence, especially for youth, he said.
“There’s a mechanics to bowling that can be taught and mostly everybody can show improvement, feel like they are getting better, and have that sense of accomplishment,” he said. “You can learn to bowl and you can just enjoy yourself.”
While Moon bested two records within a year's time, Superneau said he believes Moon’s records will have some longevity.
“I think these records will stand for quite a while,” Superneau said.
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 802-823-9367.