Credit: Jim Newberry

If you want to witness the Babe Ruth of local bowling—as in, the hardest-hitting bowler in town—show up at Timber Lanes on a Monday night during the men’s league, which runs from September through May. Then head in the direction of the loudest-crashing pins. You’ll come face-to-face with Keith Porter, a 53-year-old barrel-chested man who doesn’t knock down the pins so much as blast them to smithereens. A head chef at the Children’s Home and Aid Society—he prepares meals for the kids—Porter’s got a 200 average. He learned to bowl as a teen at Starlite Bowling Lanes, which was at 87th and Cottage Grove. “I grew up on the west side—I rode two buses to the south side to bowl in a Saturday league,” he says. “I took the game seriously.” The key to smashing the pins? “You got to give that ball a little flip when you release it. You want to hit those pins so hard that the one pin says to the other pin, ‘Damn, man, here he comes again.'”