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The Difference $1 Makes to a Bowling Game…

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League play wasn’t great last night. The warm-up two games were great. It seemed the lanes were well suited to my shot/line and I threw an easy 181 & 192 before packing up and heading up the alley to our lane. The league warm-up 10 minutes exposed a problem, though. Our lanes weren’t anything like what I was rolling on earlier. I had to change everything and come at the pocket from a different angle. I made my adjustments and rolled a decent first game 199. Great!

The second game started well but I found I’d burned my line up a little earlier than expected and ended up changing from my Scorpion to the Quantum Evo. I struggled to find a decent line. The middle game sucked. My third was even worse. I couldn’t find a good line to the pocket, at least not one I could hit consistently. I was all over the place.

Then we hit the after-league practice session. Our league can bowl free of charge after our games are done so we’ve been taking advantage of that to figure out how to navigate beat up lane conditions. Also, because the crowd thins out considerably, we can talk more freely about recovery. I figured something out in the process last night. You see, my Quantum Evo is supposed to be a stronger ball than my Scorpion – that was the idea when I bought it. That’s not exactly the way it turned out, though. The Scorpion, well, it does what its name implies. I found out in the after-league practice session that, once I burn up the lane to the left with the Scorpion, I can switch to the Quantum and get another game out of my slot if I stay a little bit right (this is left hand perspective). Craig and Noel stayed after and the three of us threw three games. I bowled decently, around the 190s. Then Craig threw a dollar on the table. Noel and I knew what that meant. We each reached into our pockets and put a Buck on the table. And it was on…

Craig and Noel started with strikes and I had the perfect one-liner all set up – I’d been rolling with confidence the last three practice games… and I missed. I didn’t know it at the time because I only missed the strike by a hair, but I’d just burned my line on both lanes. I nine-spared. Craig and Noel opened the second leaving the door open for me… and I left it open, too. What a mess. Craig and Noel struck the next two and I nine-spared both. I was behind by a bunch, now. Craig struck in the fifth, and Noel and I opened. Craig opened in the sixth, Noel struck and I was stuck between a rock and a dry lane. I was completely out of shots on completely broken down lanes for the Quantum – it simply wasn’t working anymore. I decided to get a little radical – at this point I was down so far there was no down side.

I picked up my Hammer and moved three boards right and threw the ball at the 9 board at the arrows… straight toward the gutter (I hate this shot from throwing too shallow a hook for decades – throwing at the gutter means one thing in my mind… that’s where it’s going). Halfway down the lane the ball grabbed and started to roll as it snapped back toward the pocket. I missed by a hair but nine-spared and I’d found a new line. Craig had a nine-open in the sixth, Noel struck and I had my spare. The score was 115-98-94. Craig nine-spared the 7th, Noel eight-spared and I hit that wild hook with my Scorpion for a perfect strike. Craig struck in the eighth, Noel spared and I crushed the pocket for a double. Craig picked up the three Dollars from the table figuring he had it in the bag at that point. Neither Noel nor I protested. We both believed Craig had it in the bag.

Yet, I persisted. My line was working spectacularly. I wasn’t thinking about the gutter at all. Craig struck in the ninth, Noel spared, and I struck again for a triple. Craig struggled in the tenth with an eight/spare/nine for a 202. Noel went nine/spare/nine for a 174, then I was up. I struck for four, then five in a row before missing slightly for a nine. As far down as I figured I was, I thought I was close but… I headed back to my seat and glanced back at the scoreboard… 213.

Craig dropped the cash back on the table (I couldn’t believe it, either) and I swiped it up, stuffing it in my pocket.

So the main lesson I learned last night is, I have to stop trying to be on the perfect line once things break down. This leads to over-thinking, over-analyzing and crappy scores. I also have to remember how I went back to the Scorpion once the lanes broke down too much for the Quantum Evo… that $#!+ was fantastic!


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