Bowling Insider: The Funks, father and son, have memorable league night, with Dad rolling a perfect game
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org March 2, 2014 10:28PM
Ryan and Ron Funk | Supplied photo
Updated: April 4, 2014 6:13AM
When it comes to bowling, Ron and Ryan Funk are “like father, like son.”
Ron, the father, is a lefty, while Ryan throws right-handed. And on their two biggest nights bowling together at Arena Lanes, both times dad did a little bit better than his son.
On the first, during the 2012-13 season of the Friday Southwest Businessmen’s League, both were hot on the trail of their first career 800 series. Ron got there with an 802. His son came up just short with a 789.
On Jan. 31, Ryan strung 11 strikes in a row in the first game before smashing into the nose with his 12th ball and leaving a 3-6-9-10.
The next game, Dad opened with five in a row.
“The team we were bowling against, they were kidding me like, ‘You can outdo your son now,’ ” Ron Funk said. “I said, as a joke, ‘Yeah, I’ll shoot a 300 now, just to show Ryan how it’s done.’ ”
And then he did.
“The last three shots ... I didn’t hear anything,” Ron Funk said. “It was dead quiet. Even when the ball hit the pins I didn’t hear it. Then when people started clapping (after the last ball), everything just came back into place.
“You try to stay focused, but you get nervous. If you say you don’t, you’re lying.”
Ron Funk added the first eight strikes in the third game for good measure before leaving a ringing 9-pin in the ninth frame.
The father-son duo are among the top bowlers in their league, Ryan Funk at 230 and Ron Funk at 220. Ryan also bowls on a team full-time at Orland Bowl, where he averages 221. His dad subs on the team and has a 210 average.
Ron Funk, 58, of Midlothian, works as a technician at L.A. Fitness. He has been bowling since age 9.
“I used to go watch my dad and mom bowl,” he said. “My mom bowled with (PWBA Hall of Famer) Marion Ladewig, who was a big women’s bowler in the ’50s and ’60s. I really like bowling because you’re with people you want to be with.”
Ryan, 23, played baseball at Marist. During his senior year he joined the bowling team.
“One of my buddies wanted to do a club bowling thing for fun, and it kind of went from there,” he said.
Ryan averaged 180 at Marist before joining his first adult league as a sub on his father’s team. He said his average began to rapidly improve under the tutelage of Jimmy Williams, a pro shop operator at Oak Forest Bowl.
“I literally would live at Oak Forest Bowl during the summer,” Ryan Funk said. “We worked on things like footwork and arm-swing, and I cleaned that up. Now, when I’m up there practicing he’ll be giving lessons to a high school kid and have him come over and watch me and ask me questions about what I was working on at that (age).
“I enjoy giving back because I came the exact same route they did.”
Ryan Funk, who threw a 300 game last season and this year rolled his first 800, finished fourth in the Beat the Champs Sectional at Arena Lanes. He’ll be competing in the finals Sunday at River Rand Bowl in Des Plaines.
Tony Castro, of Burr Ridge, was the best of 72 competitors and won $1,000 and the first Tournament Bowlers Club handicap singles event Feb. 22 at Palos Lanes.
Castro had the top three-game series of the day with a 720, and won both of his match play games against runner-up Theo Prayer (210-180) and third-place finisher Ted Spiliopoulos (243-226).