Dec 08, 2008, 09:25AM

Life is not a blurb

A man in Muskegon, Michigan, passed away immediately after bowling a 300.

And let cherubic bowling pins accompany you...

Among the relatives and friends watching the short ceremony were the 80 members of the Commercial League, which bowls every Thursday night at 6:30. One of the five-man teams is called Nutt Farms, and it recently had to recruit Doane’s replacement.

They set aside their beers and cigarettes and conversations and huddled in silence, just as they did a few Thursdays ago when the volunteer firemen and the paramedics tried to revive Doane.

This was where Doane, 62, bowled the first 300 game of his life. This was where he received the hugs and high-fives. And this was where he turned to shake another hand and collapsed of a heart attack.

“I often wonder if the 300 game caused it, or if would have happened anyway,” Frank Coletta, an 80-year-old with a 166 average, said between frames.

Long ago, Coletta was director of the recreation center, and he knew Doane as a Little League player. But now he remembers shaking Doane’s hand and telling him, “Looks like anybody can bowl a 300 game,” and Doane, always the likable smart-aleck, responding, “Even a guy your age.”

Those might have been Doane’s last words. Coletta, like everyone else there that night, remembered Doane falling, the ensuing mayhem, and the eerie silence. Coletta also remembered his wife asking why he was home early. He remembered not being able to respond, then crying.


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