After bowling a perfect game, the first in her life — and she has been bowling since the age of 7 — the 42-year-old Dot Grossman dropped to one knee and cried.
Asked if he’d gotten “the shot,” her husband, Ian, who is the East Hampton Bowl’s general manager, and who watched the singular perfect game unfold, said he had not, though it would have been hard to do, he added, “because everyone ran to her and enveloped her in hugs.”
“She’s one of the best female bowlers I’ve ever seen,” said the general manager, who is his wife’s coach, “and the first woman ever to bowl a 300 on these lanes, which date to the 1960s.”
Because Grossman’s 12-straight-strike feat took place during a Nine-Pin TAP league (in which nine pins down equal a strike) on Oct. 15, “her score can’t be sanctioned,” said her husband, “but all of Dot’s strikes were real — her name’s going up on the board.”
The lanes’ general manager said that he, himself, had bowled “a few 300s,” but added, “I don’t care how many you’ve bowled, your knees start to shake at the end and your heart rate accelerates. . . . Bowling a perfect game is extremely difficult.”
For her part, his wife, who grew up in Locust Valley, said she began bowling with her mother, who would take her to Madison Square Garden, “where there were a lot of leagues.”
As for falling to one knee and tearing up, she said, “I never thought I would actually ever get one [a perfect game]. I always thought I’d leave the 10-pin. “Oh yes, I was shaking — there are so many chances to not throw a strike. . . . I bowled a 283 once, many, many years ago, and I’ve had 279s and 280s, but never this.”
Asked why she thought women had not fared quite as well as men in the sport, Grossman, who’s averaging 205 in three leagues at the Bowl — the aforementioned one, the Wednesday Mixed, and Thursday’s women’s league — said, “The men have always thrown a heavier ball, which makes for greater speed and torque, while women have generally used a lighter ball — 12 to maybe 14 pounds — which results in lower speed and less deflection. Though now, the new equipment is enabling us to throw a ball equivalent to what the men throw.”
The new 300 club member said she used a 15-and-a-half-pound ball (16 pounds being the heaviest) that had been drilled for her recently by Paul Sanchez of Riverhead. “He knew I had a birthday coming up.”
She said she also wanted to thank the Bowl’s mechanics, Jeff Jager and Will Garbowski, who had laid down the oil pattern that night.
Asked what came into her mind when preparing to bowl the game that came after her 300, Grossman said, “I thought I’m exempt from bowling well for a while!”
“The expectation level’s so high now, but that’s okay.”