We trek to the lanes every week. Some, several times a week. Lugging our equipment through the snow to spend around three hours wrangling with this game we truly love.
OK, maybe love is a strong word. Let's just say that we really enjoy the sport of bowling. The chance to post a good score, to win points for your team and spend quality time with friends is enough for us to brave the elements and head for the house.
Not everything is fun and games however. We bowlers do sometimes get upset. Terms that can be used to describe how we are feeling would be upset, bemused, befuddled and downright ticked off. It's true; the typical league bowler runs the gamut of emotions when it comes to dealing with the cruelties of the game.
So as a public service I would like to share the frustrations with those of you who may not realize what we go through week after week. I will tick off the items from the list that tend to, well, tick us off!
THE SNAIL BALKER. We have all seen this guy. When he is on the lane next to you it is more than likely he will upset you several times in an evening. You know the type. When he gets on the approach just before you do, one must observe bowling etiquette. You must wait patiently, if that is possible, because this guy takes forever.
You hold your ball and wait and wait and wait. You think it is possible that he has fallen asleep, but then he takes a step. You naturally take a step of your own to begin bowling, but hold on. He has paused. If he was a pitcher he would be called for a balk. You, however, have to come to a screeching halt, risking bodily injury to avoid bypassing the balker.
The guy is slow as mud. A turtle comes to mind, but I think snail fits better. He's that deliberate. What's the difference between a turtle and a snail? Well you've probably heard the story. Question: "what did the snail say when he went for a ride on the turtle's back?" Answer: "Wheeee!"
The worst part of this situation is that you will find him on the approach several times during the night and you will forget each and every time that he is going to pause. You will be ticked, while the people watching you are bemused, primarily because it is not happening to them.
INCONSISTENT LANE CONDITIONS. This is when a bowler is sure he threw the exact same shot he did previously, but the ball hooks a lot more or a lot less. Bowlers get ticked when this happens.
Most bowlers blame the lanes for this bit of bad luck. Personally I don't. If there is one thing about my consistency it's the fact that I am consistently inconsistent. I very seldom throw two shots in a row the same way. Heck I don't even walk up to the foul line in the same fashion. It is difficult for me to blame the lane conditions when I know it is more likely that something I did caused the ball to react differently.
As an evening wears on the conditions do change as the oil gets pushed down the lanes. The good bowlers adjust. The average ones get ticked. I'm still upset with the snail balker!
THE POCKET HIT THAT DOESN'T CARRY. As bowlers we work hard to get our first shot to hit the pocket. For many of us it is difficult to do. When we do hit the pocket we want to knock down all 10 pins. It doesn't always happen and our emotions get the best of us.
Depending on the leave, our reactions vary. The solid 10 pin for a right-hander and the ringing 7 pin for a lefty make us unhappy. The fact that these are not considered true taps doesn't matter. We hit the pocket and want a strike. The 8 or 9 pin taps will leave us shaking our heads. The pocket 7-10 split will really upset us. Leave the sour apple though, and we tend to laugh. The 5-7-10 can really only be left with a pocket hit, but it is so comical that we tend to be bemused if not befuddled.
THE OTHER TEAM GETS ALL THE BREAKS. Of course this is not true. It just seems that way and it ticks us off.
Seriously we do get upset when we bowl, but it's usually with ourselves. We throw bad shots and get bad results. We get ticked, but we get over it. Then we throw a good shot, get rewarded and we forget about ever being ticked off.
Jim Mason had the pins rocking in the Sportsman League as he fired games of 258, 237 and 258 for a huge 753 series. Rich Yates Jr. shot 735, Chris Johnson 672, Lance Davis 633, Greg Tiell 620, Rustan Burks 618, Chris Rhodes 605, Mike Kisabeth 604 and last but not least Dan McGowan whose 602 was his first career 600 series. Way to go Dan.
Twilight League scores included Tim Sturgill 648, Marcus Hall 611, Steve Steinmetz Sr. 588, Rhonda Fitch 515 and Michelle Wagner 427. In the Rocket League John Funk shot 621, Tyson Shope 615, Steve Barnes 611, Ryan Coppus 569, Roger Coppus 559, Beth Jones 534 and Dottie Funk 519.
Steve Steinmetz Jr. shot 624, Ben Hoyda 616, Brian Jakupca 611, Steve Steinmetz Sr. 607, Rhonda Fitch 555, Linda Brookes 458 and Martha Heyman 450 in the Imperial-Majorette League. Wednesday Morning League scores included Rich Yates Jr. 704, Steve Norman 679, Mark Huffman 644, Ron Mellott 578 and Aaron Sherman 570. Ken Bauman shot 687, Gary Golden 680, Bob Steele 641, Bob Steele Jr. 629, Brian Kidwell 625, Tim Bollenbacher 625, Janice Young 448 and Jamie Bauman 434 in the Sunday Night Rock N Roll League. In the Alley Cats League Diane Hoover shot 586, Robin Dickman 581, Janet Houk 508, Lorrie Williams 475 and Brenda Rosier 464.
Doug Snyder shot 559, Joe Zirger 546, Herb Sendelbach 545, Andy Ritzler 531, Ken Ritzler 528, Fred Reimer 518, Cliff Jeffrey 509, Bennett Paulus 509 and Dan Gaietto 507 in the Senior League at the K of C Lanes. In the Lady Knights League Carol Burmeister shot 471, Nerita Streacker 448, Madonna Gase 435, Deb Hoerig 419, Marilyn Gangluff 413 and Theresa Carp 401. Scores from the 55 Plus League included Paul Gosche 640, Bill Mizen 610, Jim Ruess 547, Dick Gabel 519, John Ferstler 516, Bob West 510, Dan Coppes 489, Jim Ferstler 488, Paul Fey 445, Bob Reinhart 441, Dave Everhart 400 and Jim Donaldson 386.
Al Stephenson is The A-T's bowling columnist.
Read his blog at: