The 65-year-old chiropractor from Waterford bowled the highest series of his life at a perfect time.
There were eight bowlers on the two teams in the playoff championship match of the Brotherhood-Eddie Jacobson B’nai B’rith bowling league.
Seven had previously won a playoff championship. Rick Woolman was the outlier. Not anymore.
The 600 Club team, anchored by Woolman, beat the FlashDancers 15-9 for the title on April 24 after being tied 7-7 through two games. Points are awarded through match play and team scores.
“Rick bowled out of his mind,” said Gary Klinger, a member of the FlashDancers.
Indeed, he did.
The 65-year-old chiropractor from Waterford bowled the highest series of his life (227-269-260 —756) at a perfect time. His 214 average this season also was his lifetime best. His previous high series and season average were 748 and 209.
Woolman had a great battle against his good friend and sometimes doubles partner Ben Shapiro in the anchor spot in the playoff championship match.
Shapiro started the second game with eight straight strikes. Woolman began the game with a spare and seven straight strikes. Each ended up bowling a 269.
Woolman started the third game with a strike, spare, strike and spare and finished with eight strikes in a row for 260. Shapiro had a 192-269-202 — 663 series.
The playoff championship was a long time coming for Woolman, who began bowling in the Brotherhood-Eddie Jacobson league in 1985. He was out for about five years but returned.
“It meant a lot to win the championship,” Woolman said. “I didn’t want to lose and still be the only guy (among the eight bowlers in the match) without a championship.”
This was the first time Woolman bowled in a Brotherhood-Eddie Jacobson playoff championship match. He’d gotten to the semifinals previously but hadn’t moved on.
Woolman enjoys participating in the weekly league, which bowls Monday nights at Country Lanes in Farmington Hills.
“The league is competitive, but the camaraderie is fantastic,” he said. “We have bowlers of all skill levels. Everyone wants to win, of course, but we root for each other. And it’s the best-run league I’ve ever been in.”
Woolman said his bowling game has “come together” the past few years. He took some lessons before this season and learned some things he didn’t know, he said.
While he had his lifetime-best series in the playoff championship match, Woolman was quick to point out that the match wasn’t all about him. Like it has all season, he said, the 600 Club’s success was a team effort.
The 600 Club had the highest combined average in the league (828), and it won its division championship in both halves of the regular season.
Also on the team were Rob Greenfield of Huntington Woods, Mike Lieberman of West Bloomfield and Hassan Fatouhi of Commerce Township.
Greenfield had a 209 average. Lieberman was at 204 and Fatouhi at 201.
“I’ve been bowling on the same team with Rob and Mike for about five years,” Woolman said. “Hassan joined our team on a full-time basis this year. He’d previously filled in as a substitute. He came through in the clutch several times this season.”
The FlashDancers had the league’s third-highest average (812). The team was made up of Aubrey Topper (189), Klinger (205), Matt Rappaport (208) and Shapiro (210).
Team Lebowski and the Hassholes lost in the playoff semifinals to the FlashDancers and the 600 Club, respectively. Howard Halpern, Jay Weiss, Phil Ross and Gary Shurman were on Team Lebowski. Matt Kushner, Rick Spalter, Isaac Pickell and Ken Folkoff were on the Hassholes.
After missing six weeks of league play with an injured finger, Klinger returned to action and won the league’s bracket and high over-average tournaments that were held over the same three-week period as the playoffs.
Klinger bowled a lifetime-best 257-258-263 — 778 series in Week 2. He defeated Howard Waxer 233-164 on April 24 to win the bracket tournament.
Earlier in the night, Klinger beat Greenfield 222-179 and Waxer beat Steve Lotzoff 189-181 in the semifinals. Also in the Elite Eight of the bracket tournament were Jeff Berlin, Rick Sherline, Yale Weiner and Rappaport.
Klinger was 280 pins over average in that three-week tournament. He was 78 pins over average in Week 1, a whopping 163 pins over average in Week 2 and 39 pins over average in Week 3.
Harold Grossbart and Howard Mertz also had big nights in Week 2. Grossbart had a 298 game and 768 series, and Mertz rolled the highest game (276) and series (672) of his life. He was 125 pins over average for the night.
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