by Fred Eisenhammer
WINNETKA – It’s often said that the first perfect game is the most difficult and there will be no argument from Joe Curry.
Curry gave himself an early birthday present by drilling his first 300 game last week at Winnetka Bowl. Curry, who will be celebrating his 33rd birthday May 22, had repeatedly flirted with a perfect game, once blasting a 287.
This time the right-handed Curry left nothing to chance with 12 pocket shots. “I was really happy,” said Curry, who won the Los Angeles city tournament title for juniors in 2000. “In fact, I was ecstatic, to say the least. I finally got it under my belt. I was hoping it would be sooner rather than later.” Curry finished with a 728 series (201, 300, 227) during competition in the Tuesday “Guys and Dolls” league. Curry admitted that he was nervous on his last shot. “I’m surprised I didn’t drop the ball,” he said with a laugh. “All I wanted was to make it a good shot.” What was the best part about rolling a 300?
“Probably just being in an elite group of players who have done that,” said Curry, whose father and brother both own perfect games.
Curry averages 204 and bowls anchor for his team. He’s been averaging over 200 for the past four years. Curry and teammate Mike Hahn have provided a potent 1-2 punch for about five seasons. Interestingly, Hahn missed Curry’s history-making effort because he was vacationing in Hawaii. “I told him he probably got it  because I wasn’t there. I would have been a distraction,” joked Hahn by phone from Hawaii.
Curry is one of the most popular and gracious players in the “Guys and Dolls” league. He is mellow whether he’s stringing strikes or leaving spares (rarely).
Carol Tucker, another of Curry’s teammates, expressed sentiments that probably many in the league felt about his perfect game. “Watching Joe bowl his first 300 game has been a dream of mine for about seven years,” Tucker said.
“Being his teammate has been a true blessing for me. Joe has always encouraged me & always made it known that bowling with a fun group of connected friends is more important to him. Joe’s bowling is smooth & he makes it look effortless. I call it ‘cool.’ ’’
Added Tucker: “I was so happy his mom was there to see it. I would bet money that this won’t be Joe’s last 300 – just the first of many.”
On his final shot, Curry noticed a distinct change around his bowling lanes. “I was surprised how quiet it was,” he said. The quiet ended with a raucous cheer and extended celebration when Curry put the finishing touches on his perfect game. “I was really grateful to the league for the way everyone reacted,” said Curry, a Northridge resident. “It was very memorable. It’s something I’ll never forget.”