In the annals of sports, the cliche 'close but no cigar' haunts thousands of athletes around the globe.
In Major League Baseball, a pitcher's perfect game has been spoiled by the 27th batter, or umpire, 13 times. In 2000, Tennessee Titans receiver Kevin Dyson came with in mere inches of scoring a game tying touchdown in Super Bowl XXXIV against the St. Louis Rams.
And imagine the feeling if Wilt Chamberlain missed his last basket on March 2, 1962 and finished with 98 points instead of 100.
In the sport of bowling, perhaps the greatest individual achievement is scoring 900 for series, or three consecutive 300 games. In the US, there have been only 34 recorded 900s. Toledo bowler Earon Vollmar accomplished the feat on January 19, 2015.
In Toledo, Steve Jones was poised to be the next person accomplish the rare feat.
Jones has bowled seriously for two decades. He averages a score of 235 per game in the two bowling leagues he plays in around the city. He scored a 300 in 37 individual games.
On Tuesday at Southwyck Lanes, Jones Bowled a perfect 300. His second game of the three-game series, he bowled another.
"I was enjoying the moment," Jones said. "Because you never know the next time this is gonna happen."
Jones continued to score strike after strike. By his final bowl, he had amassed 35 consecutive strikes over the series, one strike away from a perfect series.
"No time to get nervous because if you do, you’ll mess up," Jones said. "If you’ve thrown enough 300s, you aren’t gonna get nervous. You want to execute the shot.”
Jones bowled the ball toward the pins for the 36th time. He heard the knocking of pins falling down. Then, Jones saw that a little more than sixty feet away from him stood a lone, stubborn pin - the 10 pin. He finished his series with a tantalizing score of 899.
For Jones, that one pin haunts him in a similar sense that an old fisherman may be haunted by the "one that got away."
“It does. All day," Jones said. "Last two days, that’s all I’ve thought about!”
As for the stubborn pin, Southwyck let Jones take it home. It now stands as a reminder of his incredible achievement, and how came so close to perfection on a cold December day.