Despite the fact that 75-year-old Charlie Milan III has gone skydiving and whitewater rafting in the last few months, he insists he has no bucket list.
Rather it might be a subliminal message that the 24-time Maine state singles candlepin bowling champ is eager to contribute when his USA East team begins its title defense in the 27th World Team Candlepin Bowling Tourney in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next week.
The whitewater rafting trip occurred, Milan said, after his daughter asked him if was interested because a local Boy Scout troop was making the trip.
For the skydiving, a friend asked if he was interested and Milan decided to take the leap along with two grandchildren and his son-in-law.
“It was fun, you jump out, hooked to a guy,” Milan said. “You can’t be afraid because that would be a bad place to be — 10,000 feet up there, that wind’s coming right at you and you have to jump sideways because of the plane. He says one, two, three, push and off we go.”
It was a memorable experience that Milan may attempt again.
“What a sight. It was 85 and all blue sky,” he said, “It was beautiful and I’m flying like Superman. At 5,000 feet, he pulls the chute and it pulls you right up.
“Then, you have another 5,000 feet, it’s complete you, no sound, nothing. I’ve never experienced anything like that. Then, when you’re about 800, 900 feet from the ground, you ought to hear the noise — clicks and clang, clang — really loud until you hit the ground.”
When the world team tourney begins with the singles knockout on Monday, it will be the first time Milan will be competing without his wife, Marie, in his corner. They were married for 51 years when Marie died in July after a 41-month bout with pancreatic cancer.
He said he has received lots of support from family and friends and has also turned to bowling a bit more as he recently competed in the Can-Am tourney at his Bangor-Brewer Bowling Lanes to prepare for the team tourney.
Milan expects to lend a supporting role to USA East, picking up spare strings to spell his teammates in the demanding tourney in which in each team competes in three, three-string daily matches starting at the Halifax Fairlanes Bowling Center on Tuesday until the playoff rounds begin on Friday. The semifinals and finals are held Saturday.
USA East features Brewer’s Shawn Morrison, who is enjoying one of the best years of his bowling career. The 30-year-old Morrison has won two state singles titles as well as the International Candlepin Bowling Association singles crown.
Morrison joins a talented contingent that includes Massachusetts bowlers Chris Sargent and Gary Carrington, who averaged 127.6 and 123.7 a string, respectively, in last year’s team tourney. Morrison averaged 124 a string in the tourney while teammate Nate Nealey of Portland averaged 118 a string.
The tourney features 24 teams, 13 from the U.S. and 11 from Canada, with a $10,000 prize to the first-place team, $5,000 to second place and $2,500 each to the next two teams.
Other U.S. teams expected to challenge for the team title are Massachusetts teams Maria’s Sub, Crazy Train, Fenway Painters and Lucky Strike, which finished second last year.
Before last year, Canadian teams had dominated the tourney and have won six of the last eight titles. Canadian contenders include 2009 champ A+Fairlanes of Halifax and MacLaughlin T&T of Halifax ,which has won several recent tourneys.
Maine teams also competing include Vacationland Lanes of Saco, led by Joey Hutchinson (128.1 average in ‘10 team tourney); Downtown Jewelry and Engraving of Rockland, led by Eric Denault (121), Big 20 Bowling Center of Scarborough with Scott Sirois (120), and Hobbs’ Lucky Lanes of South Paris, led by Eben Hobbs (120).