MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
Comfortable grip, a couple deep breaths, approach the lane straight, focus on the mark, release the ball at a consistent speed, follow through after release and hope for the best.
Those are the fundamentals that led Gunnery Sgt. Charles Mitchell, the staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Installation Personnel Administration Center customer service office, to achieve a perfect 300 during a bowling tournament.
The United States Bowling Congress tournament took place over two weekends at the Air Station Bowling Alley, March 2-3 and 8-9.
According to Chris Wildenthaler, the bowling alley manager, it has been 10 years since a perfect 300 has been bowled at the Air Station Bowling Alley.
"Not many people can make this accomplishment," said Gunnery Sgt. Charles Mitchell. "I think it’s awesome that I bowled a 300, it’s the first time this has ever happened."
Mitchell said six or seven strikes in a row is not uncommon for him. He has an average of 206 in the bowling league which plays Wednesday nights on the Air Station.
Once he got the ninth strike he thought to himself, "Wow, I’ve never done this before."
Throughout the game, Mitchell’s teammates were teasing and joking around calling him Mr. 300, not knowing that it would become a reality.
"Once my teammates saw the 10th strike, they all went quiet," said Mitchell.
Mitchell didn’t think too much about his performance with 10 strikes in a row because he had bowled over his average in the two previous games by at least 20 pins.
Once he hit the 11th strike on the final frame, Mitchell said that’s when the nerves started kicking in.
"I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be," said Mitchell. "I released the ball hoping for the final strike and it hit. Everyone started yelling."
According to Glen McCarthy, the Air Station avionics technical representative for Naval Air Technical Data and Engineering Service Center, both teams continued to joke around no matter what.
"We all thought it would be better to keep the atmosphere as normal as possible," said McCarthy. "We believed that anything other than a normal atmosphere would ruin his concentration. Since he was bowling so well we didn’t take that chance."
Based on Mitchell’s performance during the tournament, McCarthy said that some people may think he practices a lot. However, that is not the case.
"I’m not one of those guys that need to practice five times a week," said Mitchell. "I may practice at least once a week but that’s only when my family and I bowl together on the weekends."
One day, Mitchell would like to become a professional bowler.
"Everything that I have done in both bowling leagues and tournaments over the past years has qualified me to become a professional bowler," said Mitchell. "However, it’s going to have to wait until after I retire from the Marine Corps, because with how many professional tournaments there are, it would mean a lot of time on away."
To commemorate all the accomplishments made during the tournament, an award ceremony is taking place at the Air Station Bowling Alley, April 5.