Herald JournalHoward Lake-Waverly Herald, May 27, 2002

Bowling hall-of-famer Dick Mattson ready to roll for national competition

By Lynda Jensen

Waverly resident Dick Mattson, 71, is ready to hit the lanes in Milwaukee, Wis., competing against some of the best bowlers in the nation for the National ABC Senior Championship June 15 and 16.

He secured the spot last year when he captured the state title for the Minnesota Super Seniors State Tournament in St. Paul Dec.15.

No stranger to pressure, the Waverlyite has bowled for 55 years all around the country, from Florida and Oklahoma to Las Vegas and Reno, as well as Canada, he said.

He is listed on the Men's Minnesota State Bowling Hall of Fame, the Central Minnesota Hall of Fame, and the Wright County Hall of Fame for his bowling prowess.

There are many different kinds of lane variables, Mattson noted.

"Condition of the lanes have the most to do with pinfall," he noted. "The dryer the lanes are, the more problems you can run into."

"People that throw hard have less problems on dry lanes," he said. However, Mattson noted that he does not throw hard and the "oilier the better," he said.

On the other hand, too much oil and humidity cause problems for most bowlers, he added.

Mattson wields a 15-pound ball. In the past, he tried to go down to 14, but couldn't release the ball the way he wanted to, he said.

Advice to young bowlers? "Keep the game as simple as possible," he said. "When you watch pro bowlers , you have to remember they bowl 30 to 40 games a day, and can use an unorthodox release," he said. "Go out with friends and have fun," he said.

Physical size does not make a difference for a game that is conveniently played indoors for Minnesota winters, he noted. "We have followed snowplows to get to a bowling tournament," he said, referring to himeself and his wife and bowling coach, Renêe. "You have to go where the paying tournaments are."

Some lanes are cleaner than others, but "when you bowl, all the other bowlers are on the same conditions," he said. "Like baseball, it just doesn't rain on one team."

His family is involved in bowling, including Renêe, and sons Scott and Jeff, and grandson, Ryan.

His daughter, Lisa, was an excellent bowler as well, but had to drop it after going into the travel business, which did not lend itself to regular practice, he said.

In the past, he would bowl mixed doubles with Renêe, until her back starting giving her problems, he said.

Renêe is able to report what his arm swing was doing, he said.

This service was invaluable, since she would give him a constant flow of feedback about his game, allowing him to make adjustments as he goes along.

"All pro-bowlers have someone in the house watching those little things that a bowler does not pickup," he said. "You can watch films of your game, but that does not help at the time."

Love of the game was ignited by a neighbor's hired handyman in Waverly who talked him into trying it, he said.

As a family sport, bowling can't be beat because it can be played together or individually, he said.

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