Growth & Scale Report: [FULL STORY] Mr. Three Hundred
A DAY ETCHED IN HISTORY - April 5th, 2023
As he unleashed the ball down the bowling alley lane, a resounding "clang" reached the eager ears of onlookers. A perfect 300 game – a feat many dream of, but John had conquered it for the eighth time. This game wasn't just about bowling a perfect game; it was a testament to resilience and the embodiment of overcoming odds that life had thrown his way.
Many people are familiar with John from his time at Old Republic Title, where he traveled across Ohio with Jim Stipanovich, John Monacelli, Robert Wasserman and Eddy Witham. However, not as many are aware of his deep affinity for the game of bowling. Before his tenure in the title industry, his bowling journey dates back to 1969 when, at the age of 12, he was first introduced to the sport as a reward for assisting Ray Katona on his paper route.
This passion continued through 1975 when he earned the title of Rookie of the Year in the Ohio Tournament Bowlers Association OTBA, followed by Bowler of the Year 1976 and eventually turning Professional. In May 1977 at the age of 20, John began touring the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA).
But life has a way of reshaping our paths. The voice of his high school sweetheart's Sicilian father echoed, "Bowling doesn't pay the bills." With that, John put his passion on hold to seek a practical career and a marriage with Debbie.
Little did he know, the lanes he once dominated would call him back in the most extraordinary way.
THE TURNING POINT NO ONE SAW COMING - April 5th, 2020
“I was just making myself a sandwich,” recalls John, “when out of nowhere, my left foot and calf started to feel tight. I tried walking it off, but I couldn't kick the feeling. Then a few hours later my left side, including my cheek, started to feel numb.”
“They put me through a CAT Scan and MRI, to find a blockage on the right side of my brain.” It was at that moment that John was told he suffered an ischemic stroke (blockage) and his life would never be the same again.
"It really could have been worse," says John as he reflects on how he spent the next ten weeks in therapy to reclaim lost mobility, while constantly looking for environmental support to help him maintain balance (i.e. a walker, cane, desk, table, tree; anything that wouldn’t fall if he leaned on it) because of the numbness on the left side of his body.
“It wasn’t fun, but I just kept going.”
Then came April 5th, 2023 – a night destined to rewrite history. John stepped into the bowling center at Yorktown Lanes in Parma, Ohio, the echoes of his coach Phil Silia's words guiding him: "Gravity only – let the ball swing and let gravity take it."
That fateful night, his earlier games tallied 192 and 179, but the third game felt different – a stirring in the air, a whisper of something extraordinary.
Midway through that final game, a magnetic pull seemed to guide his every move. John's mind played Phil's words like a record, each frame beckoning him closer to perfection.
Over six decades, he had achieved impressive scores, but a perfect 300 tonight seemed a distant memory for him. In 2014, after scoring his seventh perfect game, he thought he might never repeat the feat. Then came the stroke, a stark reminder that merely bowling again would be a gift and victory.
And yet, on that fateful night, something magical happened.
By the 7th, 8th, and 9th frames, the weight of his history and the gravity of his journey bore down on John. Each step, each release of the ball, held immense significance. He knew the penalty for even the tiniest error.
It had to be flawless. John wasn't just in that moment; he was living it with every ounce of his being.
"I was there, yet watching like everyone else," he says, describing the mix of emotions as he approached the lane, released the ball, heard the pins fall, and then repeated the process 12 times consecutively.
“It felt magical, emotionally I could have cried, but the camaraderie of my Cleveland Athletic Club friends and hugs overcame the moment” said John.
Voso's story isn't just about bowling or strikes; it's about an indomitable spirit that roars back from adversity. If you get the chance to spend time with him, you might hear the stories of his time in the land title industry, his latest trip to Italy, his wife Debbie or children and grandchildren.
But with every sip of wine or espresso what you are really hearing is the call to enjoy life; because tomorrow you may not get another shot to do what you didn’t do today.
The Growth & Scale Report is published by CloseSimple, and explores strategies for growth and tools for scaling your title or escrow company. The report emphasizes the art of balancing growth and scale, with a focus on personal and organizational success stories. It aims to share insights from industry leaders who have navigated these challenges, providing a platform for broader conversations in the business landscape.