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Cloven's Almost Perfect Game

April 16, 2012
By Dax Dollens of Centralia High School Activities

 Cameron Cloven, 18 years of age, has been bowling since before he can remember. Standing six feet tall, with a slender build, bright blond hair, and a smile that he isn't afraid to show on any given day, Cameron has always loved bowling, and he plans to bowl for the rest of his life.

Imagine this scene:  it's an early Saturday morning in March, and Cameron has just woken up, eaten breakfast, and headed off to the bowling tournament in Kansas City. He is filled with anticipation as he travels down Highway 70 in hopes of bringing home another trophy to put on the wall. Cameron has his own ball, but to my surprise, it doesn't have a name like “Lucky” or “Killer” written on it. All jokes aside, when Cameron left this house this particular Saturday in March, he had no idea that on this day he would have the greatest day of bowling in his career.

Cameron did not sit down with me for a formal interview simply because he and I frequently get together on the weekends to fish, hunt, and just enjoy each others' company. Most of my interview occurred on a lake near my home in Thompson, Missouri, where we like to go bass fishing. The Sunday after the tournament Cameron talked about the tournament:  “ I almost bowled a perfect game!” Cameron said ecstatically.  A perfect game is when someone bowls all strikes from the beginning to the end of a game. The score then adds up to three hundred and the bowler will most definitely remember that day for the rest of his or her life. Bowling a perfect game is to a bowler, what a hole in one is for a golfer. It's a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment for most.

Cameron explained a bit about that day.  He mentioned that he left the tenth pin on frame 4, which was the only pin he had missed all game. This one pin ended up dropping his score to a two-hundred ninety even, which is as close to a perfect game as a bowler can get. Cameron even gave the pin a clever name, which has been known to give him and his family trouble in the past.

When asked why he developed such a passion for the sport of bowling, he replied, “I really don't know why I love it, I just do.” It was no surprise to me that he didn't understand why he had this obsession with the sport--many people have a hobby in their life and just don't know why they enjoy it. Anytime Cameron and I get together on the weekends and we are all out of things to do, Cameron tells me, “We should go bowling for a while.” Cameron just can't stay away from the bowling alley.

Although Cameron enjoys chasing a perfect score, bowling has always been a way for Cameron and his family to spend time together. Cameron's family has a great passion for bowling. Cameron's mom, dad, and brother all like to go to the alleys on the weekends and bowl a few games just for fun. When I asked if Cameron was a better bowler than his brother Clayton, Cameron truthfully exclaimed, “Clayton is better than me but not by much.” Although Cameron likes to bowl for fun with his family, there is always a little friendly competition within the family to help Cameron when it comes to the real action.

The day Cameron almost bowled the coveted perfect game is one that will always be remembered. From the smell of the pizza and hot dogs wafting through the lanes, to the sound of pins crashing simultaneously from all locations up and down the lanes, to even the strong handshake he and his dad shared after Cameron's almost perfect day, the feeling of almost perfect is what will keep Cameron coming back time and time again in search of the perfect game.


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