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In the Pocket: Shoulder surgery helped Mecca's game

In the Pocket: Shoulder surgery helped Mecca's game

The latest Capital Region bowling news from Bob Weiner
In the Pocket: Shoulder surgery helped Mecca's game
John Mecca
Photographer: Photo Provided

When John Mecca finally agreed to shoulder surgery that put an end to several years of excruciating pain, he thought he might never bowl again. Fortunately, the longtime scratch bowler and former Schenectady USBC board member is back in the game and extremely grateful to remain competitive in his favorite hobby.

Mecca, who still helps out the Schenectady USBC as a special assistant to association manager Lloyd Denny, is now using 14-pound equipment (a Storm Intense Fire drilled by Bob Tedesco) rather than the 16-pounds balls he used for most of his career. But that hasn’t prevented the 61-year-old New York State Thruway Authority communications supervisor from resuming his longtime passion. Mecca is averaging a solid 221 in the Frank DePalma Boulevard Classic Tuesday nights at Boulevard Bowl. That’s not bad at all, especially considering that he almost had to give up the sport two years ago.

“I’ve been bowling since I was 13 years old,” he said. “I have really enjoyed the game all of these years. But in 2014, I started feeling pain in my shoulder. I just thought that’s the way it is because I was getting older, but it got worse. I had an MRI in 2015, it showed a lot of damage, but I continued to bowl. It never healed, and the doctor told me if I could stand the pain, I couldn’t do any more damage. I bowled all of 2016, but in 2017, I couldn’t take the pain any more, and I had the surgery in Feb. 2018. It took me eight months to get back on the lanes.”

Mecca had surgery on the ligament that connects to the rotator cuff in his right shoulder. The doctor had to drill a hole to re-attach that ligament, and he also had some damage to his labrum repaired.

“The physical therapy was brutal,” Mecca recalled. “I had to sleep in a chair, and I couldn’t lie down. The physical therapy was like a torture chamber, but after a lot of hard work, I finally got back on the lanes. Even now, I’m still in a little pain, but at least I can bowl.

“I really appreciate the game more now. I took it for granted before. All of a sudden you realize that you might not be able to do it any more, and the reality sets in. Golf is fun, but I don’t take it too seriously. Bowling is very important to me. I’ve been a scratch bowler for a long time, and I love competing. There’s nothing like needing to make a 10-pin spare to win the game. That’s fun for me.”

Originally from Hamburg, just south of Buffalo, Mecca was a pin chaser at several bowling centers for five years in his late teens and early 20s.

“When I worked at the bowling alleys, I could bowl for free,” Mecca said. “That’s all I did. I learned about oil conditions, and I learned how to work on the machines. We hung out with all the better bowlers and learned the game. It was a great experience. Nobody really taught me the game, but I started bowling when I was 13, and I picked up a lot of knowledge.” 

Mecca moved to the Capital Region in 1986 and joined the now defunct Schenectady League at Rolling Greens Lanes.

“I bowled with Larry Janetsky and Art Sgambelluri,” he said. “I was in my early 30s, and I learned a lot from them. I was never an upper-echelon bowler, but I was in the middle of the pack. One year, I almost won the average title, but I finished behind Dick Peckham. Bowling with Dick in Scotia after the old Rolling Greens’ on Hamburg Street moved there, rejuvenated my game. It was tough to score there, but I averaged 220 in that house. You had to have good timing and be accurate to score there. That’s why Peckham was so great.”

Mecca averaged as high as 225 at Scotia and once averaged 226 at Boulevard. He’s recorded nine perfect games and owns a couple of 800 triples, including a high of 820. His high four-game series is 1,050.

Mecca was a Schenectady USBC board of directors member from 2011 through 2016. He was part of the merger transition team two years ago and had to sit out at least one term after the merger, but he still enjoys helping out the association. Giving back to the game is very important to him.

“I enjoy helping [association manager] Lloyd Denny in the office on Monday nights, and I try to do what I can to help Keith Lawyer at the Schenectady USBC Open Tournament,” Mecca said.

Helping others is part of Mecca’s DNA. At the NYS Thruway Authority for 35 years, Mecca supervises all emergency communications on the Thruway.

“We dispatch the state police and oversee all traffic management on the Thruway,” he said. “I’ve got about 40 people working for me.”

SCHENECTADY USBC UPDATE

Entries are up considerably for the Schenectady USBC Open Championship at Towne Bowling Academy. There are more teams signed up so far this year (60) than in the last 15 years, and they have come from as far away as Hartford, Conn., Carmel, Rochester, Port Jervis and Otisville. Teams have entered from the Albany and Troy bowling associations, as well.

According to Denny, the switch in format to three-person teams has paid off, as well as the fact that bowlers can compete in singles without having to bowl again, using their team score. All the money collected for the optional singles competition goes toward the singles prize fund.

The tournament continues Friday at 9:30 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m., noon and 2:30 p.m. Entry fee is $25, with additional optional events for handicap singles and doubles, as well as scratch events, for $10 each.

STRIKES & SPARES

Professional Women’s Bowling Association star Liz Kuhlkin and Schenectady USBC Hall of Famer Joe VanDerLinden captured the Superbowl Baker Doubles Tournament Sunday at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy. Competitors rolled eight games, moving pairs, with each partner only bowling five frames on the same lane. Kuhlkin and VanDerLinden shot 1,886 and earned $1,200, plus a free entry into next year’s event. Rounding out the top five were Matt Fazzone with Natasha Bidwell (1,873, $700), Tom Donato with Tom Earl (1,847, $400), Brian Boghosian with Mike Lichstein (1,837, $300) and Kyle Brown with Nick Harris (1,789, $250).

A clarification for those wishing to watch high school sectional bowling next week. The boys’ Class C/D tournament will be held Monday, and the boys’ Class A tournament will be contested Tuesday. I had it the other way around in previous columns.

The Kingpin’s Alley Family Fun Center Scratch Doubles event will be held Sunday, with squads at 9 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Entry fee is $160 per team and $140 for re-entry. Qualifying will be four-game blocks. First place will be $2,500, based on 60 teams.  Call 518-793-9606 for more information.

The Women’s 500 Club Snowball Scotch Doubles Tournament is set for Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. at Sportsman’s Bowl. Entry forms are available at all three Schenectady USBC bowling centers. They must be returned to Marie Moorhead before Feb. 17.

Boulevard Bowl’s second annual Baker Team Tournament will be held Feb. 17 at noon. Entry fee is $30 per person for the five-person event. Handicap is based on the total of the five averages divided by five and is 80 percent of 240. There will be 12 games of qualifying, followed by a best two-of-three stepladder final. Call Boulevard Bowl at 518-374-4171 to reserve your spot.

The 24th annual Blizzard Bowl, in memory of the late Jack Scaccia and Frank DePalma, will begin its five-squad run at Boulevard Bowl on March 3 at 11:45 a.m. Entry fee is $80 per four-person team. Other squads, all starting at 11:45 a.m., will be March 10, April 7, April 14 and April 28.

Leanne Hulsenberg, Wendy Macpherson and Donna Conners will comprise the first Professional Women’s Bowling Association Hall of Fame induction class in 16 years. Hulsenberg, 51, captured 26 PWBA titles, including the 1999 USBC Queens and the 2011 U.S. Open. She is third on the all-time PWBA victory list. Macpherson, also 51, won 20 PWBA crowns, including six majors. Conners, 63, is the founder and executive director of the PBA/PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles tournament and is a USBC Silver coach, as well as the co-owner of Carol Norman’s Pro Shop.

MAJOR BOWLING

Craig Taylor posted an 815 triple, Rich Strath drilled a 269-791, and Debbie Capullo rolled a perfect game en route to a 729 in the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial City League Monday night at Towne Bowling Academy.

Kuhlkin continued her recent hot streak with a 300 game and a 1,079 four-game series, Matt Swiatocha rolled a 289-1,004 and Keith Diamante recorded a perfect game in the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial Mixed Doubles league Wednesday night at Towne Bowling Academy.

Lee Quivey tossed a 787, Christian Chiarito recorded a 300 game on the way to a 760 triple, and Tammy Sader shot a 258-759 in the Sportsman’s Majors at Sportsman’s Bowl Monday night.

Matt Trestick put together a 992 four-game series, Mark Hansen fired a 962 and Anthony Scaccia connected for a 961 in the Frank DePalma Boulevard Classic Tuesday night at Boulevard Bowl.

REIS GROUP KIM BROWN MEMORIAL CITY LEAGUE

Standings
Vito Sindoni & Son 15-0, Falvey Real Estate 10-5, Towne Bowling Academy 9-6, Downs Roofing 9-6, Driveline Motors 8-7, J&F Lawn Care 7-8, 20 North 7-8, Kristel Mechanic 7-8, Mohawk Honda 6.5-8.5, Boulevard Bowl 6-9, Bedrock Construction 6-9, Action Bowling Supply 6-9, DeCrescente Dist. 5.5-9.5, D&D Lawncare 3-12.
———
20 North (1)
Marc LeClair 220-213-219 — 652, Bob Faragon 171-242-181 — 594, Joel Donato 208-276-201 — 685, Tommy Donato 197-242-222 — 661. Totals: 796-973-823 — 2,592.
J&F Lawn Care (2)
Jason Brown 236-246-223 — 705, RJ Martinez 245-233-224 — 702, Nick Stricos 232-227-210 — 669, Steve Hallenbeck 265-225-235 — 725. Totals: 978-931-892 — 2,801.
———
Driveline Motors (3)
Bob Beedleson 226-225-217 — 668, Keith Lawyer 200-178-215 — 593, Dan Rotter 216-246-224 — 686, Tony Palumbo 211-266-266 — 743. Totals: 853-915-922 — 2,690.
Action Bowling Supply (0)
Rit Fazzone 161-178-202 — 541, JP Harrell 254-246-214 — 714, Natasha Bidwell 27-258-230 — 705, Matt Fazzone 204-226-234 — 664. Totals: 836-908-880 — 2,624.
———
Vito Sindoni (3)
Scott Chastenay 279-228-257 — 764, Mike Dicerbo 218-258-193 — 669, Rich Strath 243-269-279 — 791, Joe VanDerLinden 259-235-266 — 760. Totals: 999-990-995 — 2,984.
Towne Bowling Academy (0)
Tom Earl 236-257-238 — 731, Nunzi Manuli 194-174-213 — 581, Marty Capullo Jr. 225-215-276 — 716, Debbie Capullo 300-213-216 — 729. Totals: 955-859-943 — 2,757.
———
D&D Lawncare (1)
Chad Propper 181-279-228 — 688, Laura Rotter 215-205-234 — 654, Bill Judge 259-199-225 — 683, Patti Tenyenhuis 184-223-207 — 614. Totals: 839-906-894 — 2,639.
Boulevard Bowl (2)
PJ Derenzo 218-207-183 — 608, Ken Wilkins 238-170-199 — 627, Mike Scaccia 227-214-189 — 630. Totals: 885-910-790 — 2,585.
———
Mohawk Honda (1.5)
Ed Gumm 223-246-202 — 671, Chip Tashjian 226-206-233 — 665, Ken LaBelle 248-258-247 — 753, Thomas DiBell 193-290-224 — 707. Totals: 890-1,000-906 — 2,796.
DeCrescente Dist. (1.5)
Don Herrington 208-247-203 — 658, Dave Samborin 199-288-234 — 721, Scott Rogers 267-172-211 — 650, Liz Kuhlkin 233-223-258 — 714. Totals: 907-930-906 — 2,743.
———
Kristel Mechanic (1)
Mel Kristel 184-206-225 — 615, Jeff Whitehouse 244-227-245 — 716, Ed White 02-202-233 — 637, Bryan Kelley 231-245-261 — 737. Totals: 861-88-964 — 2,705.
Falvey Real Estate (2)
Dan Auricchio 225-232-225 — 682, Ron Unser 225-204-222 — 651, Jeff Young 230-218-233 — 681, Craig Taylor 279-277-259 — 815. Totals: 959-931-939 — 2,829.
———
Bedrock Construction (1)
John Confalone 235-180-188 — 603, Ed McGaffin 237-216-175 — 628, Eric Stangle 214-226-208 — 648, Steve Wagoner 259-182-202 — 643. Totals: 945-804-773 — 2,522.
Downs Roofing (2)
Chris Trinkle 190-259-230 — 679, Nick Barnes 218-210-225 — 653, Ryan Karabin 215-215-241 — 671, Billy Wigand 217-183-258 — 658. Totals: 840-867-954 — 2,661.

SPORTSMAN’S MAJORS

Standings
Muny Grille 20-4, Mazone’s Heating 17-7, Guidarelli’s Liquor 16-8, Madison Grille 16-8, Metroland Photo 15-9 Mohawk Tap Room 13-11, Universal Auto Parts 11-13, Sauce Baseball 10-14, Mike’s Hot Dogs 9-1, The Appliance Specialist 8-16, IDID 5-19, Klonowski’s Pro Shop.
———
Mohawk Tap Room (0)
Brett Rozniewski 188-175-198 — 561, Walt Jones 162-19-177 — 518, Joe Rozniewski Jr. 191-185-191 — 567, Christian Chiarito 300-230-230 ‑ 760. Totals: 841-769-796 — 2,406.
Muny Grille (4)
Jay Diamond 228-214-208 — 650, Dave Bingham 210-23-258 — 708, John Musto Jr. 290-221-231 — 742, Gary Bingham 205-209-266 — 680. Totals: 933-877-963 — 2,773.
———
Mike’s Hot Dogs (3)
Bill Heaphy III 202-198-270 — 670, Tammy Sader 254-258-247 — 759, Mike Giaquinto 191-223-200 — 614, John Leone 199-224-213 — 636. Totals: 846-903-930 — 2,679.
IDID (1)
Tony Fernandez 179-181-223 — 583 Flash Gordon 178-168-181 — 527, Jim Valentino 255-178-215 — 648, Mike Piotrowski 247-196-180 — 623. Totals: 859-723-799 — 2,381.
———
Guidarelli’s Liquor (1)
Mike Guidarelli 205-225-179 — 609, Jim Bassotti 217-224-222 — 663, Tom Siatkowski 257-249-206 — 712, Matt Swiatocha 235-216-186 — 637. Totals: 914-914-793 — 2,621.
Metroland Photo (3)
Lee Quivey 269-243-275 — 787, Mike Kamm 202-214-200 — 616, Steve Renzi 266-203-195 — 664, Mike Gallitelli 247-215-149 — 611. Totals: 984-875-819 — 2,678.
———
Madison Grille (1)
Nick Kallner 156-243-200 — 599, Eric Hilton 205-205-168 — 578, Bill Carl 257-247-236 — 740, Jason Deitz 213-213-214 — 640. Totals: 831-908-818 — 2,557.
The Appliance Specialist (3)
Steve Alexander 170-174-202 — 546, Mike Liberatore 156-150-159 — 465, Steve Fawcett 205-173-178 — 556, Chris Fawcett 232-243-202 — 677. Totals: 763-740-741 — 2,244.
———
Sauce Baseball (4)
Zach Porter 237-229-244 — 710, Joe D’Aurizio Jr. 201-223-277 — 701, Mike Smith 278-226-177 — 681, Kalynn Carl 257-237-192 — 686. Totals: 973-915-890 — 2,778.
Klonowski’s Pro Shop (0)

Doug Bywater 206-193-181 — 580, Cliff Ruth 192-210-235 — 637, Vince Simoni 192-204-233 — 629, Jim Petronis 184-242-222 –648. Totals: 774-849-871 — 2,494.
———
Universal Auto Parts (0)
Andy Smith 246-196-242 — 684, Dave Henderson 202-168-181 — 551, Keith Livengood 168-172-178 — 518, Chris Fedden 210-172-199 — 581. Totals: 826-708-800 — 2,334.
Mazone’s Heating (4)
Joe Paone 235-200-279 — 714, Chris Mazone 194-265-192 — 651, Len Reyngoudt 204-227-246 — 677, Ryan Gahan 215-293-206 — 624. Totals: 848-895-923 — 2,666.

FRANK DEPALMA BOULEVARD CLASSIC

Standings
Boulevard Bowl 12-3, D.A. Parisi & Co. 12-3, Masons Automotive 8-7, Ledies 8-7, Town N Country 7-8, Karner Auto 6-9, Kalpro 5-10, Team 8 2-13.
———
Masons Automotive (4)
Ron Williams 256-225-214-195 — 890, Robin Fredenburgh 237-184-255-247 — 923, B.J. Smith Jr. 200-205-215-225 — 845. Totals: 693-614-684-667 — 2,658.
Karner Auto (1)
Devon Schwartz 236-226-190-171 — 823, Vince Villano 200-223-196-180 — 799, John DeVarnne 248-256-217-219 — 940. Totals: 684-705-603-570 — 2,562.
———
D.A. Parisi & Co. (5)
John Mecca 215-180-237-259 — 891, Jeff Williams 180-226-161-242 — 809, Ken Wilkins 201-245-228-237 — 911. Totals: 596-651-626-738 — 2,611.
Kalpro (0)
Keith Lawyer 191-202-204-214 — 811, Joe Carusone 203-181-202-193 — 779, Mark Landolfo 170-201-212-203 — 786. Totals: 564-584-618-610 — 2,376.
———
Team 8 (0)
Lee Quivey 175-212-226-246 — 859, Ray Haupt 193-224-26-214 — 857, Tony Bianchi 205-246-171-176 — 798. Totals: 573-682-623-636 — 2,514
Boulevard Bowl (5)
Mike Scaccia 248-228-234-233 — 943, Brian Hart 212-228-238-258 — 936, Derek Foti 192-233-235-213 — 873. Totals: 652-689-707-704 — 2,752.
———
Town N Country (3)
Jake Shank 179-237-237-213 — 866, Anthony Scaccia 269-278-234-180 — 961, Matt Trestick 246-258-243-245 — 992. Totals: 694-773-714-638 — 2,819.
Ledies (2)
Kathy Bryk 213-205-246-234 — 898, Mark Hansen 244-204-267-247 — 962, Dan Bryk 175-200-247-181 — 803. Totals: 632-609-760-662 — 2,663.

REIS GROUP KIM BROWN MEMORIAL MIXED DOUBLES

Standings
Pete’s Auto 100-40, Sindoni Sausage 97.5-42.5, A Touch of Country Florist 87-53, GPS Transport 86.5-53.5, Towne Bowling Academy 81-59, Bellevue Builder 80-60, Capital District Mobile Vet 77-63, Strike & Spare Pro Shop 76.5-63.5, Action Bowling Supply 74.5-65.5, Limitless Plumbing 70-70, MAC Tools 68.5-71.5, DeCrescente Dist. 62.5-77.5, Marcella’s Appliance 62-78, Battenkill Motor 62-78, Next Level Detailing 59-81, Debra Lamay Agency 57.5-82.5, Home Town Pub 57-83, A Plus Heating 48-92, Fifteen Church 45.5-94.5, DeNooyer 44-96.
———
Action Bowling Supply (13)
Jordan Byrnes 269-227-243-171 — 910, Kenny Livengood 216-227-219-211 — 873. Totals: 485-454-462-382 — 1,783.
Pete’s Auto (7)
Jen Schissler 255-259-177-235 — 926, Chuckie Schissler 179-195-147-172 — 693. Totals: 434-454-324-407 — 1,619.
———
Fifteen Church (15.5)
Aliyah Liberatore 164-215-191-162 — 732, Ben Empie (absent) 170-170-170-170 — 680. Totals: 334-385-361-332 — 1,412.
Home Town Pub (4.5)
Nicole D’Amario 170-172-168-166 — 676, Tom Rogers 192-224-193-193 — 802. Totals: 362-396-361-359 — 1,478.
———
Towne Bowling Academy (10)
Debbie Capullo 236-266-232-238 — 972, Ryan Gahan 223-245-192-212 — 872. Totals: 459-511-424-450 — 1,844.
Marcella’s Appliance (10)
Jessica Brockmyer 161-247-195-200 — 803, Don Herrington 205-268-247-257 — 977. Totals: 366-515-442-457 — 1,780.
———
Strike & Spare Pro Shop (9)
Jackie Malone 226-219-225-279 — 949, Paul Dumas 199-255-253-214 — 921. Totals: 425-474-478-493 — 1,870.
GPS Transport (11)
Kris Impellizzeri 185-247-248-189 — 869, Matt Swiatocha 203-279-289-233 — 1,004. Totals: 388-526-568-453 — 1,873.
———
DeCrescente Dist. (8)
Natasha Bidwell 213-259-236-247 — 955, Scott Rogers 21-224-238-235 — 918. Totals: 434-483-474-482 — 1,873.
Debra Lamay Agency (12)
Amber Dominic 196-248-223-235 — 902, Pete Dominic 244-246-166-232 — 888. Totals: 440-494-489-467 — 1,790.
———
Sindoni Sausage (16)
Liz Kuhlkin 300-268-246-265 — 1,079, Joe VanDerLinden 217-204-204-219 — 844. Totals: 517-472-450-484 — 1,923.
DeNooyer (4)
Michelle Largeteau 156-147-137-126 — 566, Bill Migliani (absent) 197-197-197-197 –788. Totals:  353-344-334-323 — 1,354.
———
MAC Tools (17)
Kylie Pasquerella 253-241-225-182 — 901, Keith Diamante 182-300-247-187 — 916. Totals: 435-541-472-369 — 1,817.
Limitless Plumbing (3)
Lindsey McPhail 246-200-224-194 — 864, Dave McLear 177-226-238-217 — 858. Totals: 423-426-462-411 — 1,722.
———
A Plus Heating (9)
Felicia Campanella 175-191-178-184 — 728, Tony Pasquerella 124-213-140-184 — 661. Totals: 299-404-318-368 — 1,389.
Battenkill Motor (11)
Laura Rotter 233-150-178-286 — 847, Dan Rotter 202-184-189-205 — 780. Totals: 435-334-367-491 — 1,627.
———
Bellevue Builder (16)
Ursula Pasquerella 214-247-206-218 — 885, Bill Nolan 235-213-236-223 — 907. Totals: 449-460-442-441 — 1,792.
Next Level Detailing (4)
Rebecca Barringer 194-244-181-211 — 830, JP Harrell 215-238-198-200 — 851. Totals: 409-482-379-411 ­ 1,681.
———
A Touch of Country Florist (16)
Janelle Irwin 235-184-200-234 — 853, Steve Irwin 208-182-207-279 — 876. Totals: 443-366-407-515 — 1,729.
Capital District Mobile Vet (4)
Chris Allen-Valenzuela 198-192-213-207 — 810, John Askew 216-289-208-226 — 939. Totals: 414-481-421-433 — 1,749.

Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected] or @BobWeiner58 on Twitter.

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