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In the Pocket: Hopkins is unique, great bowler

In the Pocket: Hopkins is unique, great bowler

Bob Weiner's weekly bowling column
In the Pocket: Hopkins is unique, great bowler
Doug Hopkins is on the verge of winning his second straight average title in the Galaxy league.
Photographer: Bob Weiner/For The Daily Gazette

To say Doug Hopkins is one of the Capital Region’s truly unique characters on and off the lanes is an understatement.

His love/hate relationship with the game of tenpins keeps his friends and acquaintances entertained, but his funny antics overshadow his raw talent. This guy can bowl — especially when he maintains his focus and pride is at stake.

Such is the case with the Galaxy league Friday nights at Boulevard Bowl. The Amsterdam native will be 63 years old in a month, but he’s about to wrap up his second consecutive league average title with a 233 average. That’s pretty impressive stuff in one of the area’s better leagues.

“Every Friday night in the Galaxy league, I come into the place, put my bowling balls down and then drink one Red Bull, one Gatorade and then eat a protein bar. I do it every week, and I’m ready to go,” Hopkins said.

Once his preparation is complete, it’s down to business, sort of. Although Hopkins gets serious about his performance, he loves to stir the pot, joking with and challenging his teammates and opponents.

“I admit I’m a crazy guy, but, hopefully, it’s fun crazy,” he said.

Hopkins is usually in constant motion. He can be seen strutting up and down the lanes, either talking to himself, yelling out words of encouragement to his teammates or dishing out some trash talk to his foes. He’s a top-notch sportsman who rarely gets seriously upset. But when things aren’t going right — like missing an occasional 10-pin, he usually has a few favorite statements. His best: “I’ve got to get out of here.”

Hopkins often jokes that he hates bowling, but that’s far from the truth. Why would he excel at this sport and keep rolling for 55 years?

“Back in the day, I took bowling more serious. Now, I’m a fun bowler,” he said half-kidding.

Part of Hopkins’ frustrations these days is that he is passionate about so many things off the lanes.

For one thing, just take a look at this extremely muscular guy. It’s no surprise that he is obsessed with working out.

“Yes, I’m a gym rat,” he admits. “I spend two hours in the morning and a couple of hours every night at the gym. It’s at least four hours a day, sometimes more.”

The passionate fan of the New York Giants, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Lakers also loves to play golf and has improved tremendously over the last decade.

“My first love now is golf,” he said.

For someone who took up the sport very late in life and has had no formal lessons, Hopkins still hits the ball a long way, is an excellent putter and flashes a surprising soft touch with his wedges.

When not bowling, golfing or pumping iron, Hopkins plays racquetball and basketball against players less than half his age.

Yet the Amsterdam High School grad, who retired a couple of years ago after nearly 30 years in the pre-press production unit at The Daily Gazette, is proud of his bowling resume.

“For most of my working life, I couldn’t bowl in scratch leagues, because I worked nights and had Sundays and Mondays off,” Hopkins explained.

That being the case, he bowled scratch tournaments on Sundays and competed in the ultra competitive Amsterdam City League Monday nights.

Hopkins, who attended Fulton-Montgomery Community College, won eight Northern Bowlers Association titles when the NBA was considered the best tournament organization for scratch bowlers. Two of those victories were doubles titles with his longtime bowling partner, Bill Buell, the former Daily Gazette bowling columnist who is retiring as a reporter for the paper at the end of the month.

“One of the things I’m most proud of in bowling is that of my 34 300 games, 10 of them were at different lanes,” Hopkins said.

His first perfect game was when he was 18 years old. He rolled it with a classic rubber ball, the Johnny Petraglia LT48.

“My grandmother told me if I ever get a 300 game, she would give me $100, and she did come through for me,” Hopkins recalled.

He also has recorded 13 800 triples, including one this year in the Galaxy league. Among his other noteworthy achievements on the lanes are five or six league average titles, including several in The Daily Gazette league Tuesday afternoons at Sportsman’s Bowl. He’s been a member of many league championship teams over the years and has helped his buddies win a handful of tournaments, including the old Capital District Tournament at The Bowlers Club.

“Although I live down here now, I consider myself an Amsterdam guy,” Hopkins said proudly. “It was always fun bowling against my Amsterdam buddies like Ed McGaffin, Mike and Nick Miseno, Eddie Gumm and Lew LaBahn, to name just a few.”

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing “Shaq” Hopkins for almost 35 years. We’ve worked together, bowled together and golfed together. Anyone else who crosses his path would agree that he’s one of a kind. And that’s a good thing.

STRIKES & SPARES

Nominations for the Schenectady USBC Hall of Fame close April 15. Newly revised applications are now available. If you would like to nominate someone or have questions about the process, contact Schenectady USBC Hall of Fame committee chairman Chet Ciembronowicz at 518-577-8562.

Many of the Capital Region’s top female bowlers will test their talents against the best in the state when two major tournaments come to the area this month. The 83rd annual New York State Women’s Championships will be held at Kingpin’s Alley Family Fun Center in South Glens Falls beginning this weekend and continuing April 12-14, April 26-28, May 3-5 and May 17-19. Meanwhile, the NYS Queens Championship is set for April 13 at Saratoga Strike Zone in Saratoga Springs.

The revamped New Era Senior Tour will be held April 13 at 10 a.m. Town N Country Lanes. The format will be a five-game sweeper. Age groups have been redefined to what they were a few years ago: 50-59, 60-69 and 70-plus. The prize money will be distributed within each division, depending on the amount of entries in that division. Entry fee will be $75. Call Jim Burton at 518-209-4748 for more information.

After a few weeks off, the 24th annual Blizzard Bowl returns for squads this Sunday, April 14 and April 28. Entry fee for the four-person team event is $80 per team, and both singles and doubles brackets are available. Top team prize is $2,000. Call 518-374-4171 for more information.

Spare Time Latham hosts the Amateur League Bowlers Association of New York’s “The Main Event” April 28 at 9:30 a.m. Only those bowlers with averages lower than 215 and have competed in two previous singles events are eligible. There will be an expanded prize list, a stepladder finals and a complimentary luncheon buffet included.

The Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour returns Saturday at Broadway Lanes in Fort Edward at 1 p.m.

MAJOR BOWLING

Lefty Jessica Aiezza shot a 1,039 four-game series, PWBA standout Liz Kuhlkin rolled a 1,016 with a 300 game and John Askew continued his hot shooting with a 1,009 to pace the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial Mixed Doubles league Wednesday night at Towne Bowling Academy.

Schenectady USBC Hall of Famer Joe VanDerLinden delivered an 800 triple, Ed Gumm ripped a 783 and both Bob Faragon and Mark Ray rolled perfect games in the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial City league Monday night at Towne Bowling Academy.

Chris Fedden registered a 288-800, Andy Smith fired a 288-738 and Jim Parker collected a 737 to pace the Sportsman’s Majors Monday at Sportsman’s Bowl.

Anthony Scaccia put together a 979, and Ken Wilkins tossed a 945 in the Frank DePalma Boulevard Classic Tuesday night at Boulevard Bowl.

REIS GROUP KIM BROWN MEMORIAL CITY LEAGUE

Standings
Vito Sindoni & Son 25.5-13.5, Falvey Real Estate 25-14, DeCrescente Dist. 23.5-15.5, Mohawk Honda 23.5-15.5, Downs Roofing 22.5-16.5, Kristel Mechanic 22-17, J&F Lawn Care 21-18, Boulevard Bowl 18-21, Driveline Motors 18-21, Towne Bowling Academy 18-21, 20 North 17-22, D&D Lawncare 15-24, Bedrock Construction 12-27, Action Bowling Supply 12-27.
———
Driveline Motors (0)
Rob Beedleson 198-201-228 — 627, Keith Lawyer 220-230-177 — 627, Dan Rotter 213-208-214 — 635, Tony Palumbo 238-243-267 — 748. Totals: 869-882-886 — 2,637.
Mohawk Honda (3)
Ed Gumm 247-267-269 — 783, Chip Tashjian 185-250-202 — 637, Ken LaBelle 210-279-248 — 737, Mark Ray 300-225-236 — 761. Totals: 942-1,021-955 — 2,918.
———
Boulevard Bowl (3)
PJ Derenzo 207-238-226 — 671, Ken Wilkins 199-227-212 — 638, Mike Scaccia 233-248-224 — 705, Derek Foti 199-201-236 — 636. Totals: 838-914-898 — 2,650.
Towne Bowling Academy (0)
Tom Earl 257-230-247 — 734, Nunzi Manuli 205-211-279 — 695, Marty Capullo Jr. 244-217-264 — 725, Debbie Capullo 178-227-217 — 622. Totals: 884-885-1,007 — 2,776.
———
Downs Roofing (1)
Chris Tinkle 235-188-196 — 619, Nick Barnes 226-171-194 — 591, Ryan Karabin 195-225-189 — 609, Billy Wigand 268-221-213 — 702. Totals: 924-805-792 — 2,521.
DeCrescente Dist. (2)
Jessica Aiezza 238-246-258 — 742, Mark Kuhlkin 247-258-236 — 741, Scott Roger 217-245-269 — 731, Liz Kuhlkin 205-194-238 — 637. Totals: 907-943-1,001 — 2,851.
———
Kristel Mechanic (2)
Mel Kristel 238-245-170 — 653, Jeff Whitehouse 192-190-214 — 596, Jason Impellizzeri 176-210-232 –618, Bryan Kelley 240-242-227 — 709. Totals: 846-887-843 — 2,576.
Action Bowling Supply (1)
Rit Fazzone 164-177-155 — 496, Bob Messick 215-211-181 — 607, Natasha Bidwell 212-257-233 — 702, Matt Fazzone 258-175-191 — 624. Totals: 849-820-760 — 2,429.
———
J&F Lawn Care (2)
Jason Brown 247-223-259 — 729, RJ Martinez 258-194-240 — 692, Nick Stricos 255-235-241 — 731, Steve Hallenbeck 217-198-248 — 663. Totals: 977-850-988 — 2,815.
D&D Lawncare (1)
Karrie Blake 257-203-215 — 675, Laura Rotter 162-248-203 — 613, Bill Judge 257-216-235 — 708, Patti Tenyenhuis 269-228-200 — 697. Totals: 945-895-853 — 2,693.
———
Bedrock Construction (0)
Jim Geiger 236-226-268 — 730, Ed McGaffin 193-234-172 — 599, Eric Stangle 245-257-189 — 691, Steve Wagoner 279-200-233 — 712. Totals: 953-917-862 — 2,732.
20 North (3)
Marc LeClair 226-222-261 — 709, Bob Faragon 245-300-206 — 751, Joel Donato 265-233-229 — 727, Tommy Donato 240-245-213 — 698. Totals: 976-1,000-909 — 2,885.
———
Vito Sindoni & Son (1)
Scott Chastenay 147-256-219 — 632, Mike DiCerbo 180-202-239 — 621, Rich Strath 205-194-238 — 637, Joe VanDerLinden 255-279-266 — 800. Totals: 787-941-962 — 2,690.
Falvey Real Estate (2)
Dan Auricchio 193-266-268 — 727, Ron Unser 258-212-176 — 646, Jeff Young 279-184-298 — 761, Craig Taylor 238-268-255 — 761. Totals: 968-930-997 — 2,895.

SPORTSMAN’S MAJORS

Standings
Muny Grille 44.5-15.5, Guidarelli’s Liquor 37-23, Mazone’s Heating 36.5-23.5, Madison Grille 35-25, Metroland Photo 33-27 Mike’s Hot Dogs 32-28, Universal Auto Parts 31-29, The Appliance Specialist 25-35, Mohawk Tap Room 25-35, Klonowski’s Pro Shop 25-35, Sauce Baseball 24-36, IDID 12-48.
———
Klonowski’s Pro Shop (3)
Doug Bywater 200-230-187 — 617, Cliff Ruth 225-173-192 — 590, Vince Simoni 191-157-159 — 507, Jim Petronis 258-226-205 — 689. Totals: 874-786-743 — 2,403.
IDID (1)
Tony Fernandez 234-204-184 — 622, Flash Gordon 162-178-177 — 517, Jim Valentino 142-212-164 — 518, AJ Perone 179-216-194 — 589. Totals: 717-810-719 — 2,246.
———
Muny Grille (4)
Jay Diamond 237-259-224 — 720, Dave Bingham 251, John Musto Jr. 232-216-256 — 704, Jamie Diamond 235-237-243 — 715, Vacant 200-200 — 400. Totals: 955-912-923 — 2,790.
Mazone’s Heating (0)
BJ Rucinski Jr. 229-248-255 — 732, Chris Mazone 192-200-211 — 603, Len Reyngoudt 244-190-199 — 633, Ryan Gahan 214-234-204 — 652. Totals: 879-872-869 — 2,620.
———
Guidarelli’s Liquor (3)
Mike Guidarelli 246-244-180 — 670, Jim Bassotti 229-220-269 — 718, Jim Parker 234-268-235 — 737, Matt Swiatocha 224-178-250 — 652. Totals: 933-910-934 — 2,777.
Madison Grille (1)
Nick Kallner 193-258-219 — 670, Eric Hilton 278-224-231 — 733, Bill Carl 212-235-180 — 627, Jason Deitz 178-217-184 — 579. Totals: 861-934-814 — 2,609.
———
Metroland Photo (0)
Lee Quivey 218-245-210 — 673, Mike Kamm 224-179-176 — 579, Steve Renzi 211-242-254 — 707, Mike Gallitelli 211-208-245 — 664. Totals: 864-874-885 — 2,623.
Mike’s Hot Dogs (4)
Doug Semerad 183-215-254 — 652, Tammy Sader 248-236-247 — 731, Mike Giaquinto 221-214-243 — 678, Kevin Palmer 227-223-215 — 665. Totals: 879-888-959 — 2,726.
———
Universal Auto Parts (4)
Andy Smith 226-224-288 — 738, Dave Henderson 201-227-179 — 607, Keith Livengood 224-163-207 ‑594, Chris Fedden 288-233-279 — 800. Totals: 939-847-953 — 2,739.
Sauce Baseball (0)
John Leone 248-258-215 — 721, Brian Brown 193-172-191 — 556, Bob Tedesco Jr. 207-166-161 — 534, Joe D’Aurizio Jr. 216-247-209 — 672. Totals: 864-843-776 — 2,483.
———
Mohawk Tap Room (1)
Brett Rozniewski 170-199-170 — 539, Walt Jones 192-237-198 — 627, Joe Rozniewski Jr. 209-214-203 — 626, Christian Chiarito 196-202-216 — 614. Totals: 767-852-787 — 2,406.
The Appliance Specialist (3)
Steve Alexander 224-267-225 — 716, Terry Ray 247-200-184 — 631, Steve Fawcett 243-151-214 — 608, Chris Fawcett 228-219-183 — 630. Totals: 942-837-806 — 2,585.

FRANK DEPALMA BOULEVARD CLASSIC

Standings
Boulevard Bowl 42-13, Ledies 34.5-20.5, Masons Automotive 33.5-21.5, Town N Country Lanes 30-25, Karner Auto 28-27, D.A. Parisi & Co. 2-33, Team 8 15.5-39.5, Kalpro 14.5-40.5.
———
Kalpro (0)
Keith Lawyer 212-209-222-248 — 891, Chet Ciembronowicz 236-190-193-161 — 730, Joe Carusone 184-214-181-171 — 750. Totals: 632-613-596-580 — 2,421.
Town N Country (5)
Terry Ray 211-215-245-216 — 887, Matt Trestick 226-227-227-235 — 915, Anthony Scaccia 231-279-225-244 — 979. Totals: 668-721-697-695 — 2,781.
———
Boulevard Bowl (4)
Mike Scaccia 187-204-196-229 — 816, Brian Hart 212-228-193-246 — 879, Derek Foti 216-225-219-238 — 898. Totals: 615-657-608-713 — 2,593.
Masons Automotive (1)
Ron Williams 266-160-198-187 — 811, Robin Fredenburgh 211-210-186-215 — 822, BJ. Smith Jr. 247-209-188-201 — 845. Totals: 724-579-572-603 — 2,478.
———
Ledies (5)
Lee Quivey 213-202-215 — 630, Kathy Bryk 190, Mark Hansen 224-244-221-201 — 888, Dan Bryk 205-205-226-202 — 838. Totals: 617-662-649-618 — 2,546.
Karner Auto (0)
Devon Schwartz 190-191-237-180 — 798, Bryan Delehanty Jr. 205-237-171-164 — 777, Frank Heiser 191-225-161-233 — 810. Totals: 586-653-569-577 — 2,385.
———
D.A. Parisi & Co. (4)
John Mecca 207-177-233-205 — 822, Jeff Williams 231-214-175-212 — 832, Ken Wilkins 228-260-202-255 — 945. Totals: 666-651-610-672 — 2,599.
Team 8 (1)
Larry Janetsky 203-224-235 — 662, Spark Derenzo 190, Ray Haupt 233-236-171-235 — 875, Tony Bianchi 187-258-207-179 — 831. Totals: 610-697-602-649 — 2,558.

REIS GROUP KIM BROWN MEMORIAL MIXED DOUBLES

Standings
A Touch of Country Florist 182-98, Sindoni Sausage 181.5-98.5, GPS Transport 167-113, Towne Bowling Academy 166.5-113, Capital District Mobile Vet 163.5-116.5, Pete’s Auto 155.5-124.5, Strike & Spare Pro Shop 150.5-129.5, Action Bowling Supply 146.5-133.5, Next Level Detailing 146-134, Limitless Plumbing 139-141, Home Town Pub 137-143, Bellevue Builder 136-144, Debra Almay Agency 131.5-148.5, DeCrescente Dist. 129.5-150.5, Marcella’s Appliance 125-155, MAC Tools 123.5-156.5, Batten kill Motor 115-165, Fifteen Church 111.5-168.5, Decoyer 102-178, A Plus Heating 87-193.
———
DeCrescente Dist. (19)
Jessica Aiezza 246-258-289-246 — 1,039, Scott Rogers 258-205-244-243 — 950. Totals: 504-463-533-489 — 1,989.
Battenkill Motor (1)
Laura Rotter 213-217-222-237 — 889, Dan Rotter 201-172-233-205 — 811. Totals: 414-389-455-442 — 1,700.
———
Towne Bowling Academy (9)
Debbie Capullo 259-256-206-269 — 990, Ryan Gahan 269-235-188-204 — 896. Totals: 528-491-394-473 — 1,886.
Sindoni Sausage (11)
Liz Kuhlkin 300-224-238-254 — 1,016, Joe VanDerLinden 248-248-269-193 — 958. Totals: 548-472-507-447 — 1,974.
———
DeNooyer (14)
Michelle Largeteau 159-143-134-145 — 581, Bill Miglianti 194-200-195-255 — 844. Totals: 353-343-329-400 — 1,425.
Bellevue Builder (6)
Ursula Pasquerella 147-195-263-210 — 815, Bill Nolan 206-181-192-194 — 773. Totals: 353-376-455-194 — 773. Totals: 353-376-455-404 — 1,588.
———
Limitless Plumbing (13)
Lindsey McPhail 255-215-192-268 — 930, Dave McLear 236-183-225-179 — 823. Totals: 491-39-417-447 — 1,753.
Pete’s Auto (7)
Jenn Schissler 198-225-168-200 — 791, Chuckie Schissler 223-180-225-223 — 851. Totals: 421-405-393-423 — 1,642.
———
A Touch of Country Florist (12)
Janelle Irwin 225-188-230-225 — 868, Steve Irwin 226-245-228-248 — 947. Totals: 451-433-458-473 — 1,815.
GPS Transport (8)
Kim Swiatocha 184-243-221-243 — 891, Matt Swiatocha 215-199-225-260 — 899. Totals: 399-442-446-503 — 1,790.
———
MAC Tools (14)
Kylie Pasquerella 179-218-239 — 816, Keith Diamante 266-192-236-226 — 920. Totals: 445-410-475-406 — 1,736.
Debra Lamay Agency (6)
Amber Dominic 202-210-177-207 — 796, Chris Charron 225-213-245-266 — 949. Totals: 427-423-422-473 — 1,745.
———
Marcella’s Appliance (9)
 Jessica Brockmyer 205-217-191-269 — 882, Don Herrington 222-259-258-246 — 985. Totals: 427-476-449-515 — 1,867.
Action Bowling Supply (11)
Jordan Byrnes 248-226-217-245 — 936, Kenny Livengood 201-260-226-234 — 921. Totals: 449-486-443-479 — 1,857.
———
A Plus Heating (5)
Felicia Campanella 204-203-182-211 — 800, Michael Schmitt 150-169-142-177 — 638 Totals: 354-372-324-388 — 1,438.
Fifteen Church (15)
Aliyah Liberatore 176-190-215-190 — 771, Ben Empie 142-189-175-232 — 738. Totals: 318-379-390-422 — 1,509.
———
Next Level Detailing (11)
Erica Poje 168-192-233-179 — 772, JP Harrell 187-236-244-255 — 922. Totals: 355-428-477-434 — 1,694.
Strike & Spare Pro Shop (9)
Jackie Malone 233-215-186-200 — 834, Paul Dumas 210-173-203-249 — 835. Totals: 443-388-389-449 — 1,669.
———
Capital District Mobile Vet (14)
Chris Allen-Valenzuela 183-233-158-211 — 785, John Askew 279-268-234-228 — 1,009. Totals: 462-501-392-439 — 1,794.
Home Town Pub (6)
Nicole D’Amario 170-181-224-180 — 755, Tom Rogers 223-213-199-209 — 844, John Askew 279-268-234-228 — 1,009. Totals: 462-501-392-439 — 1,794.

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

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