D’IBERVILLE, Miss. (WLOX) - For 30 years, you wouldn’t find Jim Brown anywhere near a bowling alley, sidelined with knee issues dating back to his days as a high school football player.
But, one knee replacement surgery and one employee bowling night later, Brown found himself back in the game.
“The first night I went back, I bowled a 250 my second game, and I went, ‘oh, I need to be doing this again!’” Brown said.
That led Brown to joining a tournament Cypress Lanes in D’Iberville at the behest of his friends, not knowing just how much was at stake.
“I didn’t realize that winning or placing in the top four would get me an entry into the (National Senior Games)."
Without that added pressure, Brown went out and bowled the best game of his life - a perfect score of 300.
“I kept saying it’s not gonna mean anything until I get the first (strike) in the tenth (frame). I got the first one in the tenth, and I went ‘Oh crap! Crap!’" Brown remembered with a laugh. "You know, it was with me that day because the next two balls I threw, I threw the best balls I had thrown probably the whole time.”
Brown’s performance earned him a spot in the 2019 National Senior Games in Albuquerque, joining over 13 thousand athletes from all 50 states.
“It’s amazing," he said of the event. "It just makes you think, man, there’s life left as you get older.”
After a rough start on his first day of competition, Brown went in highly focused on day two, bowling a 742 series, shooting him up the leader board from 28th place to first.
“I think I shocked everybody, including myself," Brown said. "I know that I walked over to my wife after I had finished and I said I left every bit of what I had on the lane right there. I can hardly walk.”
Brown’s performance earned him a Gold Medal at the National Senior Games. Only shortly removed from a 30 year break from bowling, Brown returned to the Coast as a champion.
“I was in shock, and I think that it’s still gradually setting in, if you want to know the truth," Brown said. "I will say this, there were people there that were much better than I was, it was just my day.”
The soon-to-be 65-year-old isn't slowing down any time soon.
The Palace Casino’s Food and Beverage Director hopes to compete in next year’s game in Fort Lauderdale. He won’t buy his plane ticket until he qualifies - but he plans to qualify.