Friday, June 12, 2009

Red, White, and Blue House Conditions

How easy is easy?
The USBC is developing a set of 'standard' house shots; 3 categories classified as red, white, or blue.
The group of patterns is designed to provide bowlers a better description for the difficulty of traditional "house" conditions.
How many times have you ever used or heard the words 'difficulty' and 'house conditions' in the same sentence? Granted, some house shots are easier than others. In my opinion, all houses in Huntsville have an easy shot. I guess now the USBC is trying to assign a 'degree of difficulty' for house conditions. Nice idea, but it has been done before. Kegel has had a series of 'Recreation' patterns.

Identify and Classify
It seems that now we need to know exactly what pattern is on the lanes before we have put on our bowling shoes. With the success of the named PBA sport patterns, is the USBC trying to do the same with the house shot? One of the biggest misunderstandings about bowling from the average person-on-the-street is the concept of oil patterns. This is invisible to the eye and invisible to the eye of the television camera. The misconception is that every bowling lane around the world has the same dimensions and thus, the line of attack to the pins should be the same. Have you seen televised bowling from the 60's and 70's? To me, all the tournaments looked the same and all the pros played the same slot shot. If I have a 'trained eye' to this and cannot spot the difference, then how could we expect the person who knows little about bowling to tell the difference in Parker Bohn's or Wes Mallot's line from week to week?

The bowling industry is, once again, trying to compare itself to golf. With golf, you know the layout of the course, locations of trees, sand, water, and possibly pin placements on the greens. You have a general idea where to place each shot for better scores. There are still variables that change each day; wind, temperature, humidity, depth of the rough, etc. Is bowling going this way? When I walk into a league or tournament, will I know the lane pattern? Is it Red, Cheetah, Blue, Scorpion, Route 66, Shark, or Broadway? Then, like golf, you only have to adjust for the conditions; temperature, humidity, lane surface, condition of the lane machine, etc.

However, bowlers will still complain. I have been to a few PBA pattern tournaments where the bowlers were vociferous. "This is not Cheetah!" "I've bowled on Scorpion before, and this is not any PBA pattern!" All because certain bowlers finished ahead of them, who had not done so in the past. I can hear it now. "Yea, he shot 803, but it was on the Red pattern."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

PBA Dreams: Easier now?

If you could give the PBA a shot and minimize the risk of time and expense, would you do it? The PBA has announced the World Series of Bowling.

The inaugural event, which begins Aug. 2 and runs through Sept. 7, 2009, promises to be a revolutionary festival of competitive bowling boasting a $2 million prize fund and seven ESPN telecasts. The schedule is available at a new dedicated website,
The PBA is basically bowling half of the season in one one location. In order to save logistical and production costs, the PBA is taping most of the season in one city to be televised in a succession of Sundays.

In my day, in order to fulfill your dreams of professional bowling, you suspended your college education or starting that first job to give the tour a shot. Get a sponsor and travel the country bowling in rabbit squads trying to make the tournament field. I had a few friends who tried this lifestyle. I did not have the confidence and liked graduating college at age 22. Now, thanks to the World Series of Bowling, your travel expenses are somewhat minimized by a month's stay in Detroit and at least half of a PBA season is condensed into a short month.

The schedule includes seven Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour events, five PBA Women’s Series presented by USBC events including the inaugural PBA Women’s World Championship, a rejuvenated PBA Senior World Championship and at least nine side-event sweepers or shootouts providing “something for everyone” in competitive bowling.

Are you willing to give a month to pursuing a dream? My bowling is like a sine wave. If I could catch that month while my bowling is riding the top of the wave, I would love the experience. Otherwise, it would be a month-long embarrassment while my game is at the low point on the graphical wave. I like the "something for everyone" theme. Not all people have a month's vacation, but if us older guys have joined 'fantasy' camps for baseball, this should give the professional bowling experience a lot more reality. If I seriously practiced, and the location was a little closer to Alabama, I would try it. My window of opportunity is closing fast as I approach the 'senior bowler' status.