Commentary

Plano man bowls five days straight

Updated: July 18, 2010, 10:45 PM ET
By Josh Davis | ESPNDallas.com

PLANO, Texas -- Stephen Shanabrook finally got a decent night's sleep in the early hours of Friday morning. Two whole hours. He woke up about five minutes before he had to return to the bowling alley and continue with his mission.

The 24-year-old Plano resident's schedule was busy this week, but it probably earned him a Guinness World Record.

Shanabrook began bowling Monday with his sights on a world record -- five days and two hours of consecutive bowling. Saturday night, he bested the record by three hours.

[+] EnlargeStephen Shanabrook
sensoryimaging.comStephen Shanabrook is waiting to see if Guinness verifies his world record for longest bowling session. He kept rolling for five days and five hours.

The record must be officially verified by Guinness in the coming weeks, but Shanabrook said his every roll has been logged and videotaped since Monday.

"I've always liked bowling, but you just get into a routine and it gets mundane," Shanabrook said. "But then you've got to think back to why you started this in the first place, and that's for the charities it is supporting."

To beat the record, the Guinness rules state one must bowl "within the spirit of the game" at all times. For Shanabrook, that meant bowling an average of five games an hour, or about a game every 12 minutes, playing by himself.

He was allowed a five-minute break for every hour he bowled, so he let them accumulate into larger breaks to go to the bathroom, eat, do interviews and occasionally sleep. His two hours of rest on Friday morning was the longest break he took.

The Plano Super Bowl, which is open 24 hours, hosted the event. That doesn't mean there's anyone to talk to at 4 a.m.

"Usually between 1 and 6 in the morning, this place is dead," Shanabrook said.

However, Shanabrook continued bowling for a good cause. Several of them, in fact.

Other players at the alley donated $25 to bowl on the lane next to Shanabrook's. Most of the proceeds go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the SPCA, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Plano City House.

Shanabrook said the charities have helped keep him going, but his friend Sarah O'Pella, who is also part of a crew filming the bowler's achievement for a documentary short, said it isn't in Shanabrook's nature to give in.

"When he sets his mind to something, he's going to do it," O'Pella said. "He was a middle school teacher and girls basketball and volleyball coach last year and he always wanted his teams to win, and he's back at school to be a radiology tech and he just keeps pushing himself to do something better."

Shanabrook had never attempted to bowl for longer than 12 hours before Monday. He's a long way from the PBA -- his single-game high was a quality 198, and his low game was an embarrassing 5.

But the record asks only that a player "make a reasonable attempt to get the ball down the lane" and has no minimum score.

So a bad game or 10 out of more than 600 isn't too harshly judged, and the record should be verified within six weeks. But for now, it looks like Shanabrook's mark of five days and five hours is a world record.

"I've been tired from physical activity, and I knew what that was going to feel like," Shanabrook said. "But [I wasn't sure what] coupling that with only one to two hours of sleep would be like ... That was the hardest part -- the combination of physical and mental."

Josh Davis is an ESPNDallas.com intern and a writer for TCU's student newspaper, the Daily Skiff.

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