by Fred Eisenhammer
WINNETKA – Dick Weber and Pete Weber. Al Tripp and Tim Tripp. Johnnie Englehart and Scott Englehart. Bill Lew and Adam (and Amy) Lew. Nationally and locally, there have been plenty of father-and-son bowling dynamos. Now, we may have to add George and Justin Pluchino to the list.
George, the dad, is the first to say that he needs to make considerable improvement before he and his wunderkind 21-year-old son are ready to join that elite father-son level.
But the fact is: George is no slouch. And Justin continues to put up head-turning numbers. The two represent quite a formidable force.
The Pluchinos are now part of the same team in a Winnetka Bowl summer league on Tuesday nights. Their teammates include Jayne Pluchino, the mother and wife; and Ethan Thomas. Late last month, Justin added a perfect game (his seventh) and an 800 series (his third) to his rapidly expanding resume.
George, who averaged about 200 in the early 2000s at Matador Bowl, is averaging 172 with a 204 high during the early going of the summer season. Justin, the anchor, is averaging 220 and recently won one of the men’s titles with Bill Lew in the recent Equalizer no-tap doubles tournament. This is just the second time the two Pluchinos have bowled together in a league. “I am actually having fun,” said George, like Justin, a right-hander. “Justin is having a lot of fun – but he bowls well. I have to earn it.
Asked what it’s like to bowl with his dad, Justin’s eyes widen and he smiles broadly. “It’s really awesome,” he says. George was asked whether he taught Justin the finer points of the game to help propel him into the top-flight bowler he is today. “He got nothing from me,” said George, laughing. “I can’t take credit.” In any event, George is a talented bowler in his own right, owning a powerful 724 series. He’s also bowled two 290 games, missing a perfect game twice because of an errant shot (foot foul) on his final shot. “I killed two 300s in my life,” he said with a laugh.
The Pluchinos-plus-Thomas team, incidentally, ranks in the upper echelon of its highly competitive league. “Hopefully, I can get better,” George said. If he does, the Pluchino duo may take up residence alongside the Webers, Tripps, Engleharts and Lews.