Practice makes perfect: Parizo has 34 300s
EVANSVILLE Bowling was a simple game for Evansville’s Jesse Parizo.
“You didn’t have four balls,” said Parizo, who recently was inducted into the South Central Wisconsin Bowling Association Hall of Fame in Janesville. “I was talking to a friend, and we remembered when all you needed was a $20 ball, a $10 bag and a $5 pair of shoes.’’
The 64-year-old Parizo admitted the obvious.
“Yeah, I’m old school,” he said.
The basic equipment was fine if you wanted to just bowl, but Parizo didn’t play the game for giggles. He took that $20 rubber ball and made it dance to his tune.
“In 1971, my first league average was 139,” Parizo said. “A guy led the league with a 189 average, and I set my goal to have the high average the next year.’’
Parizo couldn’t shop for a high-tech ball or three. He was stuck with that rubber ball, and all he could do was practice.
“Back in the 70’s, I practiced 50 games a week for a good six months,” Parizo said. “I raised my average to between 179 and 203.’’
Parizo secured a reduced per-game rate as part of his pay for cleaning a bowling house.
“I’d clean on Sunday and bowl for free,” he said. “I’d get paid to work there from 8 to (noon), and I’d get to practice for two hours.’’
Parizo became a spot-on spot bowler.
“I was an AMF three-dots bowler,” Parizo said. “I had a high average of 234 with a non-resin ball. I averaged what I average now. But now, it has to do with equipment because it’s so much better.’’
Parizo has rolled—hang on to your hat—34 perfect games. His first 300 game was April 1, 1980, at Sport Bowl in Middleton.
“It was April Fool’s Day. That’s how I remember it,” said Parizo, who marked his 34th perfect game this past summer. “I’d been bowling for about 11 years and never got (a 300). I had a lot of accomplishments, but I resigned myself to thinking that I would never bowl a 300.’’
After Parizo’s breakthrough, the 300s kept coming.
“The flood gates opened,” Parizo said. “I got lucky sometimes. I’d have two bad shots, and they carried.’’
Parizo got so hot that he bowled three 300s in four days in the mid-1980s.
“I just had a run,” Parizo said.
Parizo has 11 800-sanctioned series and more than 1,000 sanctioned 700 series. He won 10 Janesville city championships from 1996 through 2010, when he teamed with Dan Ripp, Todd Williams, Herb Kimpel and Pete Kirchner for the team scratch title.
“Jesse is a lot of fun,” said Kirchner, a fellow South Central Hall of Famer. “He is one of those guys that is great for the game of bowling. They believe in the sport.”
Not only did Parizo bowl, he served as a television color commentator for several bowling shows, doing 30 shows for a local Madison cable company and WHA.
Parizo owned Justice Pro Shop in Madison and sold bowling equipment, and he closed that to open Street Rags, an embroidery and screen-printing business in Evansville.
An Eau Claire native, Parizo moved to Madison to play Class 1 fast-pitch softball. He bowled in the winter to stay competitive.
Parizo won 10 Madison city titles and is in the Madison Bowling Hall of Fame.
Parizo made Evansville his home after a chance meeting with Bill Hall, the Evansville Bowl proprietor.
“It was a fluke meeting, and we hit it off,” Parizo said. “He asked me to sub in Evansville. I started there, and I liked the people. By chance, I met my wife.”
Bowling as an amateur, Parizo finished 31st in 1974 at the PBA Tour’s Miller Open that was held annually in Milwaukee.
“I was in second place,” Parizo said. “I was ahead of Earl Anthony and Dick Weber. I trailed Dave Davis by only 162 pins.”
Parizo has followed the lanes from Madison to Evansville to Janesville and beyond and left his mark.
“I’m a bowling bum, in a sense,” Parizo said. “I’ve been to a lot of places.’’
Using those old-school lessons along the way has served Parizo well.