There’s no special secret to bowling a perfect game, said Jim Yankovich, an 85-year-old Kansas City, Kan., resident who accomplished the feat on Sunday, Dec. 22, at KC Bowl, 82nd and State.
“I don’t think there’s any secret to it, really,” Yankovich said. “It’s something I was looking forward to doing, and it fell into place for me, so I’m very pleased with it.”
Yankovich has been bowling for fun and recreation since 1989 and usually participates in team league bowling on Tuesdays on the Gamblers team and Thursdays on the Eagles team, and bowls with friends on Sundays.
It’s his first perfect game, he said. He got close to a perfect game once before, with a 288, about eight years ago.
When he rolled the perfect game Sunday, he stayed cool, calm and collected as he usually is, he said.
Yankovich said he likes to bowl to get out of the house and have fun socially, mentally and physically. The KC Bowl’s proprietors are wonderful people to bowl with, he added.
Bowling played a role in Yankovich’s recovery from heart surgery. Doctors told him he had to wait to get better to bowl again, and his daughter stated that was a motivator for him to get better. A few years ago, he returned to bowling a few months after open heart surgery.
“Before the operation, I told the doctor, don’t mess with my left arm,” Yankovich said. “I’m a bowler and a leftie.”
He started again with a 13-pound bowling ball, and now is back to using a 14-pounder, he said.
Retired from his work as a home remodeling contractor, Yankovich is an Army veteran who served in Korea and Japan in 1951 and 1952.
Yankovich is not the oldest person ever to bowl a perfect game. That record goes to an 89-year-old, he said.
Yankovich’s daughter, Cynthia, is excited about his accomplishment and stated that the whole family will get together at his home this holiday season to celebrate the holidays and his achievement.