If I Could Be Like Mike...

Dec. 25, 2010

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

Mike Johnson is a natural at knocking things over.

He should be, as an offensive lineman standing 6-4, 304 and possessing good quickness and strength.

While all of those assets work well when battling a similar-sized man who is lined up inches away and trying to avoid him, none of those assets do much good in bowling, where the opponent is a triangle consisting of 10 stationary, three-pound, six-ounce pins, located 60 feet away and the only weapon one has is a 16-pound (or thereabouts) spherical projectile.

Johnson, a Stephenson High School grad and Lithonia, Ga., native, showed he is good at knocking things down there, as well. He bowled a 256, the high score on Friday at the Team Bowling Before the Bowl match, a just-for-fun event held at Holiday Lanes.

“I beat whoever was the closest to me, by like 70, 80 pins or something,” said Johnson, with a laugh.

He wasn’t bragging — although he admitted he is proud of the bragging rights he earned. He is just used to being perfect, a feat he has achieved on the lanes.

How do you think he does it? What makes him so good?

Johnson has factors working in his favor. He’s on the Dean’s List with a major in Building Construction. So maybe that knowledge of how to build things and keep them up gives him an idea on how to knock things down.

Or maybe it’s being born in Brooklyn, N.Y., as Brooklyn is a bowling term for a strike where the head pin is hit on the opposite side from which a bowler throws (it’s considered something of an ugly strike).

“I just put a little spin on my ball and it just kind of works out for me that way,” he said.

He similarly didn’t delve into the techniques of a perfect game.

“I don’t know but after about six or seven strikes, you can’t lift your hand, it kind of goes numb,” he said with a laugh.

The laughs came aplenty from the entire team Friday, as the event marked the end of a day full of activities, which included a tour of Barksdale Air Force Base.

“I think it’s very valuable,” Johnson said of the bowling match. “People are just trying to calm down a little bit and just let a little bit of steam off. Things like this are some of the best ways we can have to really allow everyone to come together as a team, so I think it’s great.”

Johnson, who is attending his third bowl with the Yellow Jackets, believes there could be a future in the team-bowling event and he is certainly anticipating defending his title in the coming years.

“Hopefully we’ll keep going to bowls every year and this will kind of become an event that we do,” he said. “I’ll try to hold [his title] down whenever we go to a bowl.”

And who could be on the horizon as competition?

“I was bowling with Quayshawn [Nealy], one of the freshmen here,” he said. “He threw like a 180, which is pretty good. He was really good. He was trying really hard to get to 200. He was really competitive. It was a lot of fun.”

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