by Fred Eisenhammer
WINNETKA — For someone who’s bowled about 50 years in leagues, Art Rosenberg didn’t expect his most memorable achievement in the sport to come at age 65.
But on Oct. 13, 2015, Art turned in a performance at Winnetka Bowl that was absolutely striking – and unexpected.
Art blasted a 256 game in a 646 series that far outshined his previous honor scores of 300 and 297 that he achieved in 1997 at Corbin Bowl.
What made Art’s 256 so special?
Art used a newly developed no-step approach where he just planted himself on the line and powered his trademark right-handed hook into the pocket. This radical move came out of necessity because of Art’s arthritic left knee that sidetracked his five-step approach.
“When you walk up to the line, it’s totally different from standing,” said Art, who was able to continue bowling with fiancé Debbie Prince.
“It was very difficult to control the ball and keep it on the lane. Then all of a sudden, it clicked. I finally got the concept of what to do and how to do it.”
Dustin Markowitz, a top bowler and co-host of the rapidly expanding Bowling Evolved website, said what Art achieved was “nothing short of fantastic. He found a way to succeed and still compete in his sport with an injury because of the modifications he made.
“In 25 years of bowling, one thing stands out. Bowlers who love to compete find a way to compete because of the love of the game. It doesn’t matter how old you are and how broken you are, the heart of a champion lives on forever.”
That Art would be able to formulate a winning style and then apply it shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise. A former assistant manager at now-defunct Rocket Bowl in Chatsworth, Art is a certified bowling instructor.
And he made good use of his knowledge.
“To me, [the no-step] was just another adaptation that I’ve done,” said Art, who racked up a powerful 752 series in 2002. “I started out with four steps and then went to five steps. I felt my extra step would result in better timing.”
Now Art faces another challenge.
He hasn’t bowled in about six months because of a severed tendon in the arch of his right foot. It’s caused him a lot of pain and he’s facing surgery in an effort to repair the injury.
Despite being out of the game for a half-year, Art attends his league’s weekly sessions and cheers on his fiancé.
He remains optimistic and good-natured. He’s overcome injuries before and he hopes he gets the opportunity to do it again.
“I really would like to go back on the lane,” said Art, a Canoga Park resident. “It’s gnawing at me.”
Still, Art allowed that the decision as to whether he returns or not will rest with his doctor after his surgery.
“I would really like to get back,” he said. “If I can’t stand up, I’ll try to figure out another way of doing it. If I have to sit in a wheelchair and take off the armrests, I’ll do it.”
Art has already been somewhat of a role model. One of the bowlers in his “Guys and Dolls” league, Karen Beeler, copied Art’s no-step approach after she recovered from an injury. She witnessed the success Art enjoyed with the no-step approach and has found her own success.