The leagues will be silent this week, as many local keglers will take to the lanes in tournament competition. Though some bowlers gladly will take the week off, others will vie for cash prizes and perhaps more importantly, bragging rights in the annual city bowling tournament.
Champions will be crowned in team, singles, doubles and all-events. Winners will be determined in women's and men's divisions. This will be the 82nd edition of the Tiffin Men's Bowling Association City Tournament while the Tiffin Women's Bowling Association will be hosting its 73rd competition.
I will be on hand most of the week punching in names, checking scores and meeting old acquaintances. It's a long but fun week. Every year someone comes up big. It's enjoyable to watch a bowler string a lot of strikes. There also will be the inevitable pocket 7-10 split as well as other examples of highway robbery. Those situations are far more palatable when it happens to someone else.
Who will be this year's star performer? That's very hard to predict, although you are likely to see some familiar names atop the leaderboard. You also are likely to see a lower average bowler or surprise team have that special night. That's what makes the week so exciting.
As a wizened veteran of this sport I would like to take this opportunity to pass along some hints to this year's competitors. The advice is sound. It also is free. And you are welcome.
1. Don't be late. The tournament starts one half hour sooner than league action. If a bowler does not show up on time, he or she receives a zero for each frame he misses. There is no three-frame grace period that most leagues employ. Zeroes are hard to overcome. The game is tough enough without getting a chance to score in all 36 frames.
2. Spares are good things. Many bowlers get frustrated when good shots do not carry all 10 pins. That is normal. Not converting the spare because:
A) you're upset, or B) you think strikes are needed to win, is not acceptable. It would behoove you to remember the advice I received many years ago from a friend.
He said, "the game is not really that tough. Stay clean and throw a double and you will shoot 200." Of course he was a really good bowler and usually had more than two strikes in a game, but the message makes sense. Converting spares adds up.
3. Don't dump your doubles partner. In the men's tournament, singles will be rolled first with doubles following. This is done intentionally in case a bowler is late. He only will hurt himself, instead of he and his doubles partner. Which leads me to this helpful hint.
If you choose to shoot 700 in singles, that's great. Do not, however, follow that up with a 420-something in doubles. Your partner, who likely is a relative or good friend, will let you know how he feels about that. You don't have to match your singles score, but shooting some 200-300 pins less could cause some hard feelings.
4. There is no "I" in team. Although you are shooting an individual score in team competition, the main concern is the welfare of the team. Let me explain.
Several years ago I was watching a team bowl on the last night of competition and it was doing quite well. It knew the score it needed to beat and were very close entering the 10th frame of the third game.
The team's third bowler had five or six strikes in a row heading into that last frame. His first ball cut through the middle of the pins, leaving the Greek Church or 4-6-7-9-10 pins. He was livid that he had not kept his string going, and fired his second ball rather disgustedly into the channel, apparently trying to convert a near-impossible spare. By not converting the 6, 9 and 10 pins, a relatively easy shot, he cost his team 6 pins in count.
After the anchor finished bowling, the team score came up four pins short of the eventual champion. OOPS! In tournament competition, count counts!
5. Have fun. Bowl well, bowl so-so or have an off night. Whatever you do, have fun. It is after all, a game.
Scores from this week's league play included Robin Dickman's 614 in the Alley Cats League. Lorrie Williams shot 526, Virginia Vanover 496 and Nita Doran 491. In the Sportsman League, Rich Yates Sr. fired a 686, while Chris Peck shot 658, Rich Yates Jr. 649, Ron Yentzer 649, Jim Mason 636, Ron Jordan 632, Ken Butturff Jr. 622, Chris Rhodes 621, Kevin Fitch 609 and Greg Tiell 600. Tim Sturgill shot 619, Dave Depinet 558, Tyson Shope 550, Dave Kirian 537, Rich Sigler 532 and Virginia Vanover 393 in the Rocket League.
In the Lady Knights League at the K of C Lanes, Val Krombach shot 430, Marilyn Gangluff 430, Carol Burmeister 419 and Tammy Schalk 400. Bill Mizen rolled a 637 series in the 55 Plus League. Jim Ruess shot 617, Paul Gosche 573, Rick Hanna 535, Dick Gabel 532, Bob Reinhart 523, Jim Donaldson 495, Mike Ditslear 474, Dave Murray 414, Bob West 405, Steve Schafer 396, Paul Fey 383 and Dave Everhart 375.
Scores from the Twilight League include Tom Tiell 631, Brian Jakupca 622, Steve Barnes 614 and Nick Bumb 613. In the Sunday Night Rock N Roll League John Funk shot 664, Brian Kidwell 637, Tim Sturgill 615, Tom Tiell 607 and Janice Young 483. Steve Steinmet, Jr. shot 647, Jeff Peer 647, Steve Steinmetz, Sr. 624, Deb Nominee 518, Rhonda Fitch 506 and Linda Brookes 479 in the Imperial-Majorette League.
You can follow all the city tournament action starting Wednesday in the A-T.
Al Stephenson is The A-T's bowling columnist.
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