Dave Carroll stunned members of his bowling league when he was back on the lanes within a month after undergoing hip-replacement surgery in January.
Not everyone was surprised, though.
“He’s a true Carroll and missed only a few weeks,” said Kristen Carroll, who bowls on the same team with her father in their “Wednesday Stars” league at AMF Woodlake Lanes in Woodland Hills.
“I had surgery and the doctor said I’d miss two months and I missed one week. It’s in the Carroll blood. No one can keep us down.”
Dave’s bowling game was struggling before the surgery to his right hip, which he said had bothered him “all my life.” His average was down to the low 180s and for someone who ranks among the very elite of league bowlers, it was a problem that needed to be fixed.
“I could barely walk and my hip wouldn’t let me bowl correctly at all,” Carroll said. “I was going to quit.”
His first week back with an artificial hip, Carroll blasted a powerful 680 series – not far from his personal best.
“It was fun because everyone was saying I have an advantage – jokingly of course,” Carroll said.
Carroll has been steadily padding his average and it has now hit 192. Just a few weeks ago, Carroll enjoyed his biggest night of his 30-plus-years career with a sizzling 720 series. On one of his games, Carroll rolled strikes on his first eight shots before he finished with a 258, a little short of his career best of 279.
What made that game particularly memorable is that two of his teammates – aces Troy Gibson and Bob Englehart – also knocked down strikes on their first eight shots.
Carroll called that night his “biggest highlight,” and he’s had more than his share – including four league titles, two of them with his girlfriend of 13 years, Danielle McKinney.
Carroll, 54, acknowledges that he’s benefited from bowling with Gibson and Englehart, two of the most distinguished bowlers in the Valley who sport averages in the high 220s.
“One thing Bob stresses is, ‘Don’t compete with each other, just try to do our best,’ ” Carroll said.
“We don’t care who wins between us. It’s a real learning experience with both Troy and Bob. They’re constantly talking about speed and keeping your head down. They give great tips and I get results.”
Carroll bowls first on his team of stars – a position he enjoys.
“I love bowling leadoff,” said Carroll, who would bowl anchor on most teams. “Leadoff is important because you get the rhythm going. You start with a strike and you pump your team up. It gets them going. I really like it.”
Carroll has an athletic background dating to his days at Anaheim High School when he competed successfully in several sports, but sparkled specifically in wrestling.
Daughter Kristen, who has bowled with her father for the last three years, remembers her dad’s prep wrestling career her own way. “His dad always asked him how the ceiling looked because he was always getting pinned,” Kristen joked.
Dave takes the kidding good-naturedly.
He points out that he wrestled varsity for four years and met some extremely rugged opponents his first couple of years. “And I had never wrestled before. I was pretty good,” said Carroll, who has two daughters besides Kristen (twins Heather and Kelly), all three of whom played college soccer.
Carroll said he will be part of a new team during the summer because of league rules that prohibit too many high-average bowlers on one team.
One of his new teammates will be his girlfriend Danielle, who is sitting out the current season.
“I’m really looking forward to bowling with Danielle again,” he said.