League bowlers are a hearty lot. We will brave any kind of weather to get to the lanes to challenge the pins. Week after week. Month after month. "It's fun," we cry in unison. Of course, if you were to watch us in action, you would wonder just what kind of fun we are talking about.
We rant, we rave and we even curse a little. Oh, not every bowler. Some bowlers shoot great scores week in, week out. Others wonder what the heck they did to make the bowling gods unhappy. We wonder why the 10 pin is part of the dadgum house. How is it that "we" never get any breaks?
I bowl in two leagues, one in Tiffin and one in Fostoria. I am struggling in both leagues, and hopefully I have reached my low point in both houses. I had the dreaded curtain at Dunn's Lanes. Only needing a mark to win the game, I proceeded to only get half the pins on my first ball. Unfortunately I did not get the "other half" on my second ball. A curtain and frustration.
This past week I may have hit rock bottom in Tiffin as well. I threw the second gutter ball of my life. The first one, which occurred a few years ago, hit a pebble before shooting right into the channel. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!) This one had no help. It just went in, much to my chagrin. I was hoping nobody noticed, but such was not the case. A member of a team on the adjoining pair of lanes not only saw it, he felt free to comment as well.
"Is that going to be in the paper?" he asked. I was quick with my retort. "Not a chance," were my words. Oh well, it's too late to take it back. It's the way the season is going. Luckily, I think, I am not the only one to be struggling. It seems my teammates on both teams are having bad luck, if they are having any luck at all.
Just this past Monday night one of my teammates pointed out he hadn't had a 600 series all year. Tonight would be the night we both decided. He goes out and shoots 236 in game one and comes back with 222 in the second game. We are thinking about the possibility of a 700 series now.
Perhaps we were a little premature. I believe there is a saying about not tabulating your poultry prior to birth that fits this situation. The poor guy gets six splits in game three including the seventh, ninth and 10th frames. He not only doesn't get the 700, he misses his six by a single pin! To quote Thomas Paine, "These are the times that try men's souls"
All right, we are not talking Valley Forge here. Actually it is time to stop whining and time to take a look at some people who are having great bowling seasons. The hottest bowler going, in my opinion, is Brian Soals. He has enough 700 series this year alone that I would have to take my shoes and socks off to count them all. Brian has a perfect game to his credit as well.
Brian informed me this week that his son Dustin rolled his first career 700 series the week I was gone, and he did it against my team. Did he beat dad? Nah, Brian shot 738 to Dustin's 715. Congrats, Dustin, that's great shooting.
Then there is Tyson Shope. You can find him at Heritage Lanes nearly every night. More often than not he is behind the counter. He bowls in a couple of leagues including the Rocket League, and the week I was gone he shot his second-consecutive 700 series in that league.
When I caught up with him this week and asked him about his bowling, he pointed out that he only had three such career series coming into this season.
I asked him if he was practicing in his spare time. He said no, that perhaps he should start. No, Tyson, practice should be for those that are struggling. I know, like me.
Rich Yates Jr. had a nice 771 series while I was gone. I'd say the score was unusual for him, but I know better. Richie can roll the rock. Another nice series I noticed belonged to Angie Puesey. She had a 571 last week in the Alley Cats League. Angie and I spend five nights together each year. Wait a minute, let me explain that.
Angie helps run the women's city tournament while I help with the men's. Actually, I don't know if I have ever seen her anywhere else, but we always have some good conversations in February. This series (and perhaps my five nights together comment) will be discussed I'm sure. Nice shooting, Angie.
Speaking of the city tournament, the men's entry blanks have been passed out, and to get the night and shift that you want, they should be returned as soon as possible.
Let's take a look at the bowlers who are not struggling as we highlight this week's honor rolls: Brett Babcock fired a 706 to top the Sunday Night Rock N Roll League. Gary Golden shot 684, Jim Hershberger 655, Tim Bollenbacher 648, Dave Jones 633, Tony Reidlinger 631 and Bob Steele 620. For the ladies Beth Jones had 541 and Janice Young 473.
Robin Dickman shot 605 to lead the way in the Alley Cats League. Cindy Bowman had 552, Carla Siebenaller 531, Heather Butler 491, Lorrie Williams 474 and Diane Hoover 471. Tony Selhorst just missed a 700 in the Sportsman League as he shot 699. Rich Yates Sr. had 692, Ken Butturff Jr. 661, Jim Mason 622, Dick Gabel 614, Harry Smith 604 and Greg Anspach 599 (nice first two games, Greg).
Scores from the Imperial-Majorette League included Steve Steinmetz Jr. 700, Steve Steinmetz Sr. 611, Rhonda Fitch 591, Deb Nominee 539, Brian Jakupca 525 and Kellie Faust 507. T. J. Morrow topped the Twilight League with 626, while Kevin Young shot 625, Jim Slosser 597 and Steve Steinmetz Sr. 579. For the women Robin Brownell had 563, Rhonda Fitch 557 and Teresa Slosser 451.
From the K of C Lanes, Dick Gabel shot 577, Bob Reinhart 565, Jim Ruess 542, John Ferstler 525, Rick Hanna 520, Dan Coppes 510, Steve Schafer 490 and Mike Ditslear 475 in the 55 Plus League. In the Lady Knights League, Lela Gaietto posted a 489, Madonna Gase 452, Marge Wilhelm 421 and Carol Burmeister 419.
Dave Ross shot 686 with a 299 game in the Big 8 League. Mike Shock had 643, Carl Wilson 642, Beau Hahn 622, Jack Book 620, Charlie Fitch 615, Scott Plickert 610 and Tom Ritzler 600. In the Ladies Classic League, Kathy Young had 551, Deb Cleveland 545, Cindy Conger 526 and Jamie Thom 486. Rich Yates, Jr. followed up his 771 with a 733 (I told you he could bowl) in the Wednesday Morning League. Dave Jumper added a 688, Tyson Shope 665, Greg Elchert 641, Aaron Sherman 632, Darl Elchert 632 and Cindy Conger 500.
Last but not least, the highest score this week came from the aforementioned Rocket League as Tim Sturgill fired a 743 series. Tyson Shope "fell" to 649, Dave Depinet had 636, Dave Kirian 628, Mick Thallman 625, Neil Mizen 614, Eric Vanover 605 and Virginia Vanover 472.
Al Stephenson is The A-T bowling columnist.
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