I am entering the 2017-2018 bowling season with the least amount of preparation imaginable. I hadn’t touched a bowling ball since last season, so it’s safe to say that I entered the bowling alley on Friday night almost as cold as ice. I came into this season with last year’s average of 164, so that was the mark I had to try and hit from the door. And “try” is all I can say I did on the first day.
That’s right, I start the season with a bag full of excuses:
- The first week comes with the chaos of paying for league registration and lineage, not to mention getting answers to all the questions I ask at the beginning of each year (ie “who do I pay?” , “Can I pay with cash?”, “Do I check the ‘standard’ check box or something else?”) This stress probably [definitely] it affected my game.
- My shirt was tight around my shoulders, restricting my range of motion.
- My shoulder hurts since my wife put me on a Full Nelson a couple of weeks ago (true story).
- I’m really not that good at bowling to be honest.
Bitterness aside, I’m excited to get back to my routine of ending the work week with a bowling-filled Friday night and catching up with old friends. There is something about the challenge of bowling, a perfect game that keeps me coming back every year. I’ve never come close to doing it, but the opportunity is there. I’d be lying if I said playing 300 wasn’t on my wish list.
As I’m about to discuss how the night was, I wish I had taken a frame-by-frame photo of my score. Instead, I will go from memory. Next week I’ll get more evidence to back up my story about how things went. I just know that I’m being honest in telling you that I started with three straight spout balls and a total of six pins across two frames.
I was only able to climb from there.
I’m pretty sure I opened four frames before I got my first mark, but man made that spare feel good. Getting that replacement gave me a little more confidence going forward as I picked up a strike on my next ball. After a few more ups and downs in Game 1, I finished with a measly 104. Even though I was 60 pins lower than my average, I’m happy it wasn’t a sub-100 game.
Game 2 was not as bad as the first. It had the same ups and downs with sporadic open frames and marked frames. It turned out a 128, not a huge improvement, but an improvement nonetheless.
If you’re unfamiliar with bowling, a high score requires consecutive marked frames for point bonuses. For example, if you throw a replacement ball, your next ball counts as double pins. If he throws a strike, his next two balls count as double. So to put that in perspective, starting a game with three strikes will put you at 60 points across three squares.
Game 3 started as it always should, with a strike. I managed to bag a turkey in frames 4-6. A turkey, or a “devourer,” as I like to call them, occurs when a bowler lands three strikes in a row. I had a great opportunity to erase my average, but due to some glitches in the second half of the final game, I finished with 163.
Because we were missing two of our teammates, or Nads (yes, our team’s name is Nads and I’m Nad 2), I’m not sure how we did it against our opponents during the first week. There is a good chance that they will beat us in all three games, but it is possible that the averages of our teammates have helped us to win. I highly doubt that we have earned the full pin. I guess now we are 1-3 going into the second week. I’ll provide an update on that for the second week’s article.
Bowling is a sport that I like to compare to golf. Consistency in hitting and playing on the field can greatly affect your score. While muscle memory in bowling is extremely important in maintaining proper ball trajectory, location, and speed, you still need to be aware that oil on the lane is pushed at night. It forces you to adjust your game, similar to choosing a certain golf club depending on your lie. That’s where practice comes in. Basketball players constantly work on their shot, so they can bring that memory and muscle experience into games. The same is true of certain aspects of soccer, baseball, and even golf or bowling. Crazy, right?
Since I mostly bowling for the good times of joking around with friends and family, I don’t invest in my bowling skills in the off-season. And I agree with that. So I can sit here and joke about my incompetencies as a bowler.
I look forward to sharing my scores throughout the season, providing a unique perspective on what it’s like to bowling in a league. You can expect a weekly recap of my successes and failures throughout the long bowling season.