Brian Fink looked up at the TV monitor with disgust.
“Not great,” he mumbled. “Not great at all.”
His distaste was aimed at his score. A 119 isn’t what the 14-year old has grown used to seeing after eight frames of bowling.
“My average is a 209,” he explained.
A 209 score would almost certainly put a permanent grin on many bowler’s faces. When other bowlers see Brian do it, always in his trademark sunglasses, they stand in awe.
“A lot of people are amazed at the scores I’m putting up compared to the scores they’re putting up.”
Brian was born with an eye condition that doctors still can’t properly diagnose. His color-blind, blurred vision, one of two possible conditions, leaves him unable to see clearly past a foot in front of his face.
With the pins over 60 feet away, the strikes are somewhat surprising.
“He works harder than most people,” said fellow teen bowler Tyler Burkhart. “Yeah, he goes in there and practices for hours”
Being legally blind is something that Brian hasn’t accepted graciously. He, like his grandfather, turned to bowling to exert his frustrations.
“It’s my release,” he says.
Four years ago Brian told his mother, Laura, that he wanted to try bowling after going to an Eagle Scout party at a bowling alley. In the beginning, he needed bumpers to get to a score of 86.
“Yep,” he said with a chuckle. “I needed those bumpers.”
He gradually improved to the point where he has won 15 amateur tournaments. He’d like to become a professional bowler someday.
“It would be such an amazing experience to win on such a prestigious level,” he said during an interview, shortly after knocking down another strike.
He set goals like that for himself and reached a big one this past summer. In July, bowling a perfect game – a 300 score, 12 straight strikes.
It’s a sign that he’s on the right path.
“I mean, everyone has a purpose and I guess God gave me the gift of almost no vision so I guess I can inspire people to strive for what they do best,” he said.
Brian achieved his goal of becoming an Eagle Scout a year early. He planned to accomplish the feat by 15 but was awarded the coveted Boy Scout honor this past year.
His next bowling tournament is Dec. 10 in Orlando.