There is something to achieving perfection that can’t quite be explained. Renee Johnson knows that feeling well. She bowled her first 300 game Sept. 10. Rolling a 300 is the ultimate accomplishment for any bowler.
“Shooting a 300 was always a dream of mine. It was one of the happiest days of my life,” said Johnson, who has been bowling competitively since she was 15.
Prior to 1993, she felt she had hit a plateau as her average was relatively unchanged. She hovered around the 180 to 190 mark.
Then on Dec. 29, 1992, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She began treatment in January 1993, undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and finally six weeks of intensive radiation therapy.
When she was diagnosed, one of the first things she asked her doctor was how long it would be before she would bowl again. Except, what she said was, “When can I bowl again?” Her doctor responded with, “Can you bowl now?”
She missed the last four months of the ‘92-93 season, and returned to bowling just a month after completing her treatment in August of 1993.
“It seems like since I’ve come back from my time off recovering from the breast cancer, I’ve really bowled a lot better,” Johnson said.
Her average is 203, and last season she just missed throwing a 300 game three times.
Johnson bowls in the Tigress Scratch League at Players & Spectators, which is one of the top competitive women’s scratch leagues in Spokane. Four of the top women in the city compete in this league, and four others in the league have bowled 300 games.
Her goal when she begins each game is to hit her average, and whenever possible, improve it. The key to Johnson’s game is remaining relaxed.
“When I shot my 300 game, I felt really good. As soon as I released that last one, I knew. I didn’t feel nervous or shaky at all,” Johnson said.
For Johnson, bowling is a stress reliever. “I look forward to it every week,” she said.
She says she has also been a lot more relaxed since she recovered from the breast cancer, which could be why she’s been bowling so well the last few years. And now she is hitting her stride.
Last year, 723 women in the United States bowled a 300 game. When the list comes out for this year, Johnson will be able to count herself among those who have attained perfection. She’ll also count herself among the many who have survived breast cancer, and that struggle puts her achievement in a whole new light.