Friday, January 30, 2009

One Lane or Two

Proper lane courtesy? No, that is a discussion for another time. It is now your practice time, one lane or two?

When I was a mere teenager working the counter at a Brunswick house back home, I remember one of the better bowlers insisting on a pair of lanes to practice. Bowling was more popular back then, and I thought he was a little arrogant to ask for two lanes for just himself when the bowling center was somewhat busy. Why does one person need a pair of lanes to practice?

One lane allows a slower tempo to practice. At over$2.50 a line, practice isn't going to be a lot of lines, so it does not need to be rushed in less than 15 minutes. When I used to get a lane for $10/hour, I would practically kill myself to get as many games in the timeframe as possible. Not much of a quality practice as simply a repeat of shots and getting as much bowling in for little money.

One lane also allows the conditioner to change more quickly if you are the only one throwing shots. "But you are making each lane different on the pair." So? This is not golf. I don't have to rake the sound trap after I was in it. Most people realize that most lane pairs are not equivalent anyway. Yes, they are very similar, but you can notice which lane hooks more or less. The difference may only be one board or you may not adjust your line between lanes, but it is there.

So, if you are alone or with one friend, why do you need a pair of lanes if the center is moderately busy?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bad Beat Stories

Poker players refer to a bad beat as the one, or two cards, that were dealt to make their seemingly strong hand lose. During poker TV shows, they show the probability percentage of winning the hand. When the guy with a 5% chance gets that one card in the deck to win, the guy that had a 95% chance of certain victory will let everyone know in the future the story of his bad beat. Want to see a bad beat? Yes, 4 Aces can lose a poker hand.

I feel like venting. Enough time has passed now to calmly relay my bad beat bowling story. The situation is a Peterson Point style match play league. After a mediocre 205 game, I am behind in series by about 20 pins. I feel confident. I feel that I am balanced at the line, throwing the ball well. I was slow in adjusting to the transition. I feel a big game coming to win series.

My opponent is bowling well, but I am bowling better. I have a small string to extend my lead in the game to the magical 20 pins. I just need more count. I step up on the approach first in the tenth frame. I strike. By my bowling first, I was hoping for this situation to put the pressure on him. It works as he leaves the dreaded 7-10 split. I just won, or so I thought. I let him finish to clear the frame. Yes, you guessed it. He picks up the 7-10 split! I have to double in the 10th to reclaim the victory that I was sure I had a few seconds ago. No problem. I still feel good and in the groove. Coming off my hand, the shot felt good. Before the ball even reaches my intended target at the arrows, I am thinking that was a good shot. Being left-handed, I know it will be flush in the 1-2 pocket. As I thought, it was dead flush. For some unknown reason, the 10 pin was untouched by this explosion of pinfall in a textbook pocket hit. I had a stone 10 pin! No, it was not a weak 10, nor a swishing pocket hit that failed to knock down the 10 pin. It was not a high hit, it was not a light hit. It was not half-pocket hit that could have left a 7 pin. It was a stone 10 pin. Needless to say, with my opponent's fill ball and my failed double, I lost.

I lost to a converted 7-10 and a stone 10 pin, each event within 60 seconds of the other. Time heals the bitterness as I suppressed my emotions until I was alone in the car driving home.

When bad luck happens, you feel the need to tell the story. I hear these types of stories at the bowling center, some in excruciating detail. Here is your chance. Let it off your chest. What is your bad beat story?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New State Team Record

Congratulations to Joe Hudson Collision Center team in Montgomery for setting the team scratch series record at 3703. Team members were Tim Stansel with a 722, John Witcher had a 673, Vince Kutchak with a 733, Steve Bartoszewicz with a 740, and Matt Woods with an incredible 835.

This scores is an average of 740 per bowler. They beat the previous record by over 100 pins. The 3609 posted by Mobile's Bowling Carousel did not stand even a year. In team bowling, it is rare when all 5 bowlers are in the zone. The best teams in the USBC Open strategize, communicate and attack the lane conditions the same way for maximum scoring potential. They usually are working the breakdown of the conditions in a uniform manner that helps the team. That kind of thinking usually works on medium to hard conditions. On easy conditions, once you and your teammates get in the zone, you don't want the conditions to change much. However, I'm sure they communicated when they noticed changes. High scores mean recognizing and adjusting to the changes fairly quickly. Multiply this by 5 and you can see how 3700 is quite an accomplishment.

In today's state tournaments, 3500 (700 per man) will not guarantee you a state title. But, this record could last a long time. How many 5-man leagues are there nowadays? I think there is only 1 in Huntsville. The State tournament may be the only opportunity to break this record. I wish we had enough history and record-keeping to know the 3 and 4 man records. These leagues are more prevalent today.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bowling Family Wanted for Wife Swap

Here is your chance at reality show stardom. I received an e-mail from the ABC show Wife Swap. Looks like they want an episode involving bowling. If you like this kind of television genre, go for it.

My name is Jeff Eggleston and I am a Casting Producer for ABC families hit reality show 'Wife Swap.' We are currently casting for our fifth season and we are looking for Bowling Families! (Ones that bowl together, or participate in competitive leagues, or families that own and/or operate a bowling ally)

The premise of Wife Swap is simple: for seven days, two wives from two different families with very different values exchange husbands, children and lives (but not bedrooms) to discover what it's like to live a different family's life. It's an interesting social experiment and a great way to see your family in a whole new light. It is shot as a documentary series, so NO scripts and no set. It's just one camera that is documenting your life.

Families that appear on the show will receive a financial honorarium of $20,000 for lost wages, time and commitment. And if you refer a family that appears on the show you would receive $1,000.

Here at 'Wife Swap' we look for a two-parent home with at least one child between the ages of 6 and 17 living at home full time.

If you are interested, please email me your contact information and tell me a little about your family and how the sport of bowling plays a roll in your lives. Or if you would like to refer a family, please email me their contact information and I will be in touch.
Thank you!
Jeff Eggleston
Casting Producer
100 6th Ave.
3rd Floor, Suite 3 - 29
New York , NY 10013
tel: 646-747-7946
fax: 646-216-4295

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Economic Impact of State Tournaments

The hotbed of bowling is usually located in the Midwest or Northeast areas of the country. We see the decline of bowling here in our state by looking around us. Is your league getting smaller over the years? Where is that companion league that used to bowl next to yours? Remember when second shift of league night filled the house also? In the past few days, two Midwest newspapers touted the cash flow their community was receiving from their respective state tournaments.

Green Bay is hosting the Wisconsin state tournament. This event draws local media coverage because of the economic impact to the city and area. Bold added for emphasis

"When an estimated 10,000 bowlers visit Green Bay the next 17 weekends to participate in the Wisconsin State USBC Bowling Association Tournament, they'll drop more than pins.

They'll also drop $4.4 million into the cash registers of hotels, attractions, restaurants and retail shops, according to estimates by the Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau."

By comparison, Alabama runs three week-ends in two of its larger houses in one of its more popular tournament site cities. Birmingham and Huntsville are the two sites where the state tournament gets its most entries. However, that only means 300-350 teams. Wisconsin may have been the home to Bowling Headquarters, but this same story is also covered in Michigan.
"About 12,000 bowlers and 2,300 teams from around the state are expected to visit the area for the Michigan State USBC Bowling Association's 106th state tournament, which continues today and 15 other weekends through May 3."
Because of the downturn in the economy, Lansing business are loving having the influx of tourism.
""You bring that size of a tournament in any area, (and) we look at it to being between $5 and $7 million," said Barney Eagan, association manager for the Michigan State United States Bowling Bowling Association."
The state association should calculate our impact to communities when the state tournament(s) roll into town. It won't be millions of dollars, but local convention and visitor bureaus love to know and report this kind of stuff. With the local CVB working with the association, maybe the bowlers could get some better coupons or deals from hotels and restaurants competing for the week-end surge of bowlers.

Competition is good for us. How many of you actually stay at the host hotels? I usually find better deals at other hotels. If hotels realize that an unofficial multi-weekend 'convention' was coming to town, there are more deals for the bowlers. Some hotels do realize this. Do you see the ad on the state tournament web page for the Hilton Birmingham Perimeter Park? They are not an official host hotel but sure are competing for our business. This is good. In an economic downturn, the consumers have more bargaining power. We just have to have a collective voice to be heard.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The 900 Debate

The story coming out of Baltimore is the sport's 12th bowler has rolled the perfect set; 3 consecutive perfect games. I say congratulations to Rich Jerome Jr. for his accomplishment. He is 29 years old in his 11th year of bowling. Doesn't seem fair, does it? He's too young, too inexperienced to have accomplished the ultimate.

Mushtare Debate
I don't think any bowling subject has elicited so much hatred than the 900 series. Do you know the story of Robert Mushtare? He has bowled multiple 900's by the time he was 17. The debate involves his integrity and to a small degree, whether USBC should have sanctioned some of the sets. He pre-bowled them with only few witnesses that happened to be close friends. Read the comments on the Youtube page. Visit websites that are on the Internet solely to mock.

Does anyone clap anymore when a 300 game is announced in your league? Do you congratulate the bowler? "He had the easy pair." "He had the whole left side." "He plays the same shot everywhere. Tonight, that is where the line was." Are we upset that fate did not touch us that night, as it should have? "I could beat him anytime." Well, not tonight, because he shot 300 and you didn't. I have seen sub-200 average bowlers shoot 300. I would have bet against it. There might have been a lucky shot or a brooklyn. But, they did it. Good for them. I hope it means as much to them as a perfect game means to me.

Really not THAT easy
I don't care who you are. 900 is still an amazing feat even if the lanes are completely walled. Nobody is arguing the fact that the lanes were not easy. I think they have to be easy by...A LOT. You still get nervous. You still may not come out of the ball correctly. Pin fall is not automatic. How many solid 8 pin or 9 pins have you left unexpectedly? Lane conditions can break down or oil can carry down.

But technology has helped. Improved bowling ball and pin designs have helped scoring as much as golf club and tennis racket changes have helped their respective sport's athletes. That is why Glenn Allison's 900 series is so amazing. As I recall, he did it with a Columbia Yellow Dot.

"High-tech balls and synthetic lanes have replaced the plastic and wood of Allison’s era. Higher scores and dwindling memberships are dividing purists and recreational bowlers over the sport’s priorities. Even the once-sacred 900 series and the 300 game have become so common that bowling parties have upstaged late-night leagues."

Remember, they inspected lanes, pins, and balls right after an honor score back then. That certainly does not happen anymore.

"If Allison rolled a 900 series in a league tonight, it would be approved without an inspection. Rule changes now allow for season-long certification of lanes, another accommodation that rankles traditionalists."
The debate used to be whether the USBC should retroactively approve Allison's series. The sheer number of perfect series and the Mushtare controversy have overshadowed the original Mr. 900. He shot his 900 in 1982. All other perfect series were shot in the 11 year span from 1997 - 2008.

An honor score is an honor score. I'll take them any way I can get them. Some are more special than others, but I still get nervous for the 12th shot or the one I need for an 800 series.