Scott and Matt Higa may be fraternal twins, but their lives have been nearly identical.
The San Francisco natives, born two minutes apart, were childhood celebrities. In the 1980s, the young bowlers were featured in People Magazine, on Good Morning America and on many local TV stations.
On Nov. 24, the Higa brothers will use their “star strike power” to strike out hunger at Serra Bowl’s Turkey Bowl IX.
The event benefits St. Anthony Dining Room and the North Peninsula Food Pantry & Dining Center of Daly City.
Serra Bowl donates a turkey for every strike that is rolled. This year, Serra Bowl General Manager Mike Leong has added a combination food drive. “You bring in canned or non-perishable food, and we’ll give you a free game,” Leong said.
The Higa twins may be found either bowling strikes for turkeys or joining with the professional bowlers in the popular “zany trick shot” portion of the day’s activities.
There were no tricks involved as the Higas collected trophies and scholarship money in junior bowling tournaments growing up. With the trophies long ago packed away by mom Judy in the family’s Golden Gate Heights home, bowling has remained a constant in their lives. The twins estimate that they’ve bowled close to 15,000 games over the past 25 years.
In addition to bowling, the boys were also battery mates on baseball teams from their little league days at West Portal Elementary, through Hoover Middle School, and on to Lincoln High. Scott was a southpaw pitcher, and younger brother Matt was his catcher.
In fact, Scott’s delivery on the lanes has a Barry Zito curve, and Matt’s bowling style resembles a catcher’s powerful throw to second base.
As students at San Francisco State University, the twins continued to reside in their nearby childhood home.
“They’ve stayed out of trouble. I think that bowling had a lot to do with it. It kept them off the streets, kept them busy,” father Tom said.
The Higa’s continue to live as a family unit. Scott moved downstairs with wife Annie after they got married. Naturally, he introduced Annie to bowling, and she sports a 147 average.
“As soon as Emma can walk, she’ll bowl,” Scott said of his newborn daughter.
The family bowls every Tuesday night in the Nikkei Invitational Leagues at Serra. Last winter, they compiled very respectable game averages: Judy 163, Tom 170, Matt 206 and Scott 211.
The brothers are so in sync, they even experienced their career highlights within two days of each other. Matt bowled a perfect 300 on a Tuesday night last January at Serra and, two days earlier, Scott had bowled an 800 series (276 average game).
Asked what makes a good bowler, Matt responded, “practice and patience are key.” Scott finishes his brother’s statement by adding, “It’s not a physical game; you don’t have to be big or strong. It’s something that everyone can do.”
Turkey Bowl IX
Where: Serra Bowl, 3301 Juniperra Serra Blvd., Daly City
When: Nov. 24, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Cost: Free (Donations accepted)
Schedule: 10 a.m.- 1 p.m.: Pro bowler zany trick shots; 10:15 a.m.: Friars from St. Anthony Dining Room bowling in their robes;
1 p.m.: Competitive lightning round of strikes by pro bowlers
Info: www.serrabowl.com or (650) 992-3444