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Late son on mind of season’s first 300 bowler

September 18, 2012
By STEVE BROWNLEE - Journal Sports Writer ( , The Mining Journal

Harold "Rice" Reichardt doesn't pretend to have any special insight into the beyond, and neither do I.

But I believe him when he said he felt his late son Jamie's influence on the lanes and links recently.

Rice made news last week for bowling the first 300 game of the season in the league he's secretary-treasurer of, the Northern Electric Automotive Industrial League that bowls on Monday nights at Country Lanes.

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Now Rice, who bowls just once a week and carries an average in the 170s to 180s, had never before flirted with perfection, saying the most strikes he'd had to start a game was "maybe six or seven," though he's had a few 278s and 279s that often include 11 of a possible 12 strikes.

It's a whole different ball of wax, though, when the strikes start mounting from the start and the possibility of 300 becomes more and more real.

As he got to the eighth and ninth frame, he thought about Jamie and said to him, "It's you and me."

Jamie Reichardt was only 34 years old when he passed away on May 14 at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor from complications due to liver failure.

His health problems came about quickly, and though Rice didn't say it in so many words, it was apparent that Jamie's death hit him, and by extension, his family, hard.

"Time doesn't heal, but it does allow you to adjust," was one thing Rice told me after the 300 game last Monday night.

His father also said Jamie's first love was golf, but he enjoyed bowling in the Industrial League on the same team with his father for nine months of the year, too.

In fact, during the summer, Rice said he used one of Jamie's putters at a scramble golf tournament and sank an up-and-down putt of around 60 feet that he felt he never would have made otherwise.

Last week, when a few league members came up to congratulate him, one of Rice's comments really stuck with me: "Jamie bowled 160 of it and I bowled 140."

As I mentioned at the top, I can't speak for anybody's religious faith, but even if that's not what you believe, I think feeling the presence of someone departed is at the very least a solid form of positive thinking.

That's because even though league bowling usually is done on a team, a 300 game is a completely individual feat. And having somebody to lean on, rather like a doubles partner, can take a lot of that pressure off.

Looking at his scoresheet that night, the run at perfection must've caught Rice a bit off-guard. Already on opening night, a secretary-treasurer keeps extra busy, dealing with new bowlers, sanctioning and some other housekeeping stuff to get the league up and running.

Then he got off to fairly ordinary start with games of 206 and 182 before the big game for a career-high 688 series using his new 15-pound Storm Anarchy reactive resin ball.

"I got it last spring, about a month before the season ended," Rice said about a popular ball at the Ishpeming center that lanes manager Steve DeBakker suggested to him. "And (last week) was the first time I picked up a ball since the end of last season."

He said that while every ball was solid in the 300 game, one ball felt like it came off his hand a little bit off, but still made it to his 1-3 strike pocket.

While it's not for an official Mining Journal Bowler of the Week honor - I want to wait until October to restart that so everyone has a few games in - it still exceeded last year's 172 ending average by 172 pins.

One other thing Rice told me was that he decided to forego having a business sponsor for his team this season, instead paying the fee himself so he could name it Jamie's Team.

A fitting name for the only squad in Marquette County that can say it has a 300 game this season.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.



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