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My (Un)Pro Bowling Career… A Fantastic Addition to My Cycling Habit

January 2019

I’ve mentioned my enjoyment of bowling a time or two on the blog but I’ve never gone beyond the odd mention.

Friends, I love me some bowling.

I’ve been on an autumn through winter sober league for going on eighteen years. I’m not great, but I’m absolutely above average. I hold between a 170 and 180 average, my best being 183. Not great, but not bad.

Well, this year I was invited to the bigs as a sub. The Friday night league. I’ve participated six or seven times this year and it hasn’t been pretty. I went from the equivalent of the fun league to a league where a decent average is fifty pins higher than mine.

To illustrate, I’m happy when I get a messenger to shoot across and clip the ten (I’m a leftie) – it’s a cool shot. I saw a guy last night whose revs were so high he was getting a double messenger – one from each side. And on more than half of his strike shots. His worst game was a 233.

So I’ve had a double-whammy problem with Friday night. I don’t put a lot of money into bowling. I have three balls – a sixteen and two fourteen-and-a-half’s. They’re all hand-me-downs I’ve collected over the years. Two were already drilled leftie and just right and I had one filled and drilled for me. I’ve had the same shoes since I started bowling all those years ago…. and therein lies the rub. Those old-@$$ shoes.

They started sticking about six weeks ago, out of nowhere. I’d get four good shots and they’d start sticking (as soon as the soles warmed up). I went from six or eight inches of slide to having to plant my foot, trying not to fall on my face. I’d have good games and really bad games, and God forbid I bowl against someone who dropped the ball before the line, a little oil on my shoe would make it worse.

Well, I was a little slow putting all of this together – it takes a minute to read the post, but it took weeks to figure the order of the clues.

Last Friday I cleaned my shoes and scuffed the leather slide pad, hoping that would cure my ills. It was better, but not near enough. I ordered a new pair of shoes. I finally was going to have to put some money into my other hobby.

They showed up ten minutes before I pulled into the driveway yesterday, and an hour before I had to leave.

My first and second games were a little ugly, trying to get used to being able to slide again… and then I ran into one on the third game. Everything clicked and when I realized I wasn’t thinking about sticking anymore. I went from the 150’s to a 214. I was finally able to run into a few.

Like in everything else, if you want to get better, hang out with people better than you… and keep coming back after you’ve figured out you want to quit because you’re not good enough.

It’s only after that point I get better.


  1. Tony says:

    The arthritis in my hands doesn’t permit me to bowl any more, but I loved the game when I was able. I grew up in the ’50’s when bowling was one of the exciting programs on TV. Unlike football and baseball, speed and muscles aren’t very relevant. Like golf, I think it is a zen-like sport in that you need to relax and concentrate to do it well. Glad you enjoy it.

  2. OmniRunner says:

    Don’t hear much about bowling. Kind of like curling except that I’ve actually bowled.
    I find the game frustrating because I suck! We have candle pin around here with the small balls. They don’t have holes, they’re just like big heavy baseballs. Impossible to control. I have better luck with the big balls. Though I’m still worried about a finger going down the lane with the ball!

  3. I never knew you could get bowling balls drilled for left handers? Granted I haven’t been bowling in a decade, and I suck, but that would have been a top excuse for me to use! 😉

    • bgddyjim says:

      Oh, having the ball properly drilled is EVERYTHING. The weight block inside the ball is in there in a manner that is designed to help the ball develop inertia to the pins. If you’re throwing a right hand drilled ball, leftie, the block is working against you… it takes away from your natural hook. Unless you throw a straight ball of course.

  4. fitnessgrad says:

    Ahh bowling, a sport that is fun with a group of friends or family — That’s how I have always played; having fun with other people (nothing serious) although the competitive side of me doesn’t enjoy losing LOL

    I used to be able to bowl above average without even giving it any thought; but now, I am lucky If I get above 100, lol I realized that after bowling against my 10 year old brother who happened to beat me one round.. pitiful LOL and it was his first time bowling 😀

    Anywho, I am happy you have another hobby that you invest your time doing, I think it’s awesome to have multiple hobbies!


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