Mike Glasco has a fresh perspective these days -- not only about bowling, but about life.
Recovering from a stroke when you are in your mid-30s tends to change a person's outlook.
Glasco was told his stroke was caused by a blood clot.
"It was in June 1999. June 23," Glasco said, the date now fixed firmly in his consciousness. "All I remember is waking up. I was in a coma for five weeks.
"Doctors said when I came out of it I should (eventually) be OK but I was not able to walk and function as a normal person does. I'm just about back. I figure I'm about 70 percent, but it will take more time to get all the way back."
Before the stroke, the 36-year-old Buffalo resident's bowling career included seven 300 games, competing in four or five leagues a season, including Amateur Bowling Association tournaments and traveling leagues.
Glasco won an ABA tournament in 1998 and finished sixth that year in the Buffalo area's final standing. His high average was 215 in a Wednesday league at Broadway Sports Center.
But in his early days of recovery, bowling or many of life's pleasures were not in his thoughts.
"There were times when I wanted to give up and do nothing," Glasco said. "My left side was completely paralyzed. I felt I couldn't be the same person as I was and there was no use in trying.
"Because of my family (his mother Everlean Glasco and grandmother) I made it through. Friends (like James Manney) stayed with me and helped. In the hospital I wouldn't use my left side. They would grab my arm and move it for me. They bought me therapy tools and made me use them and wouldn't let me give up on myself."
Glasco has been doing his rehabilitation at Amherst General Hospital and Terrie's Super Firm Workout Center on Hertel Avenue. "I do a lot of aerobic activity and weightlifting, a lot of walking and stretching," he said. "At first I used a walker, then a cane." He shed the walker after three weeks of rehab, then got rid of the cane another four weeks later.
The sessions last about 45 minutes two to three times a week at each venue.
Bowling is also part of his therapy, including a 300 game at Kenmore Lanes in June during an ABA tournament, but he's not as active in the sport as he was before the stroke.
"Bowling is harder for me now," he said. "It's helped in my recovery in that it gives me better coordination and makes me stronger."
At the urging of Robert Alessi and his wife, Marlane, he also bowls every other Sunday at Kenmore, averaging 179, in the Mixed Nuts couples league.
The former McKinley High School football player is 5-foot-9 1/2 , and 215 pounds. He said before the stroke he weighed 252. "I had a lot of muscle. I worked out every day but laying there in the hospital for six weeks everything started to deteriorate.
"After the stroke I never imagined I could do it," Glasco said of his ABA 300. "I couldn't believe it but everybody (at the lanes) said they knew I could do it. I think they were more happy about it than I was."
Happy is a relatively new concept for Glasco, who said he used to be serious about everything.
"I didn't have fun," he said. "Bowling was like a job. I was too serious. Now I go out and have fun. It's totally different. I do more around the house. Before I wouldn't do much and now I don't mind it at all. I always took a lot for granted but now I enjoy things because I'm alive to do it.
"Not knowing (how to enjoy life) just makes me mad I had to learn it this way. I aim to make the best of it now."
Around the lanes
Frank Formicola is running the Canandaigua Open PBA qualifiers today and Oct. 1 at the tournament site, Roseland Bowl. Today's squads are at 11 a.m., 1:30 and 4 p.m. Next Saturday's times are 10 a.m., 12:30 and 3 p.m. Entry is $65 with $50 going to the prize fund. First place is a tournament entry and a Track ball. The top eight qualify for match play. Based on 50 entries, second place is $400, third is $275 and fourth is $175. Call 394-5050. . . . The BPA Buffalo Beverage Miller Lite All Stars bowl today at Southgate at 3 p.m. . . . Team USA member Janette Piesczynski of Cheektowaga has been named to the U.S. squad of six men and six women for the World Tenpin Team Cup tournament Dec. 3-7 in Puerto Rico.