AMHERST – Most bowler’s skills begin to fade long before the age of 96, but not always. Just ask Florence LeBlanc.
“My bowling average is over 80. It went up this year,” said LeBlanc. “And I bowled a 300 (averaging 100 in three games) two years ago.”
It’s not just her bowling skills that have remained sharp. She also plays a mean game of darts.
“She’s still a very good dart player,” said her son Mike LeBlanc. “She had a take-out (collected 301 points, and then doubled out) 17 times this past season.”
The bowling and dart seasons wrapped up in late May, and 96-year-old LeBlanc was honoured during the 2018 bowling and dart banquet held at the 50-Plus Club in Amherst.
“She’s an inspiration for others to see her going as good as she does,” said Merrill Murray, president of the 50-Plus Club.
During the bowling and darts season, LeBlanc bowls once a week in the Knights of Columbus, Tuesday night bowling league at King Pin Bowling, and she plays darts in the 50-Plus Club dart league. All year round she plays cards and gets out for a walk almost every day.
“Being active keeps me young,” said LeBlanc.
LeBlanc’s husband Eddie passed away in 1979. Mike is the second-youngest of eight children, six boys and two girls. He was 18-years-old when his father passed away.
“She was a stay-at-home mom with eight kids, so she was a busy woman when we were growing up,” said the 57-year-old.
He said she was always easy-going.
“She had a lot of rules but we didn’t follow them,” he said with a laugh.
He says his Mom is very caring and never has a bad word to say about anybody.
“She doesn’t have any enemies,” said Mike. “She’s one of those people that likes everybody and everybody likes her.”
“I’m easy to get along with,” added LeBlanc.
She lived in the family home until two years ago when she moved into Victoria Manor.
She says they provide many activities to keep her busy.
LeBlanc turns 97 in August, and the 2018-2019 bowling and dart season starts up again in September.
“Every year she says it will be her last year but another year comes along and she ends up doing stuff she said she wouldn’t be doing,” said Mike.
Some people say it’s not safe for a 97-year-old to remain so active.
“My thought is that if she’s healthy enough to get up and throw a bowling ball and wants to do it, then let her do it,” said Mike.
And what does Florence think?
“God willing, I’ll bowl and play darts again next year,” she said.