ARLINGTON, Texas - At 107 years old, Gene Scala of Jericho, N.Y., is an inspiration to his teammates and fellow league bowlers at AMF Syosset Lanes in Syosset, N.Y.
Now, his legacy also has earned him national recognition and a spot in the United States Bowling Congress record books as the oldest league bowler in USBC history. The record previously belonged to Ted Muller of Sun Valley, Calif., who last competed during the 2009-10 season at age 106.
Scala still is relatively independent. He lives at The Arbors Assisted Living Community in Westbury, N.Y., and travels by taxi to and from the bowling center each week.
He's always one of the first to arrive for the Wednesday Leisure Seniors league, and he does so in style, usually in a suit complimented by hand-decorated shirts, ties and hats.
Affectionately known as "Gene the Bowling Machine," Scala bowls year round and still averages in the 120s.
"Gene shows up every week ready to bowl, and he really enjoys it," said Bob Gohrig, Scala's teammate of four years. "I'm just fascinated by him. I just love being around him. We all do. He's an inspiration to everyone here."
The list of oldest USBC league bowlers includes:
107 Gene Scala, Jericho, N.Y., through 2012-13 (born Aug. 21, 1905)
106 Ted Muller, Sun Valley, Ca. through 2009-10 (born Aug. 11, 1904)
103 Maude McIntyre, Fresno, Calif., through 1993-94
Jeralean Talley, Inkster, Mich., through 2002-03 (born May 3, 1899)
Lucy Severine, Johnstown, Pa., through 2008-09 (born July 23, 1905)
See the rest of the USBC records now