HAMMOND | Will Rybarczyk could only grimace as he opened his fourth game of the 64th annual Times/Pepsi Bowling Classic with a gutter ball Saturday afternoon.
Sulking on his way back from the lane, Rybarczyk’s father Lee approached and told him getting a spare was still an option.
Will not only picked up the spare, but he threw five straight strikes after the opening frame, each one widening the smile on Lee’s face.
It was just another day at the lanes for the father and son from Dyer who look for any way they can to spend time together.
“I’ve always enjoyed getting out and competing with him,” Will said. “We have a lot of fun together, but we’re always looking for a competitive edge against one another.”
The pair are regulars each year at the Times Classic, with each qualifying once in their respective careers.
Lee qualified in 1982 and Will qualified in his first attempt in 1995 when he was 15 years old. The two were both in contention halfway through the day on Saturday.
Qualifying concludes at Olympia Lanes today.
Lee (703) ended the first round of the day tied for 16th with Jerry Michalak and Paul Bredsen in Class SA while Will (696) was in 12th place in the Men’s B Division.
“This is fun and all, but we’re here to qualify,” Lee said. “He doesn’t have the pains that I have and I’m getting a bit older, but we’re both here trying to advance.”
The camaraderie between the two was put to the test early Saturday when the father and son were matched together during bracket play.
While bowlers are aiming to qualify for the next round of the overall tournament, many chose to participate in smaller tournaments throughout the day.
Lee rolled a 246 to advance to the second round in his first game while Will won his opener with a 232.
The pair competed against each other in the second round with Will winning by two pins, although neither knew they were bowling against one another
“I went to look at the list after the second game and just laughed,” Will said. “I went up to him and said: ‘Looks like I got you.’ It’s all in fun with us.”
Bowling isn’t the only sport the Rybarczyks compete against each other in. The pair are avid golfers and have battled against each other during the Pepsi Illiana Golf Tour.
“We just golfed against each other (Friday),” Lee said. “I’ve done my best to teach him the games and he does really well.
"These are games he’ll be able to play for the rest of his life and we’ll be able to share them together.”