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September 18, 2017

Knocking off the rust as the 2017-2018 bowling season begins

Bowling, Community Sports, Kyle Richards

I’m rolling into the 2017-2018 bowling season with the least amount of preparation imaginable. I hadn’t touched a bowling ball since last season, so it’s safe to say I walked into the bowling alley Friday night about as cold as ice. I came into this season with last year’s average of 164, so that was the mark I had to try and hit out of the gate. And “try” is all I can say I did on day one.

That’s right, I’m starting off the season with a bag full of excuses:

  • The first week comes with the chaos of paying for league registration and lineage, not to mention getting answers to all the questions I ask at the beginning of every year (i.e. “who do I make the check out to?”, “can I pay with cash?”, “do I check the ‘standard’ registration box, or something else?”). This stress probably [definitely] affected my play.
  • My shirt was tight on the shoulders, restricting my range of motion.
  • My shoulder hurts from when my wife put me in a Full Nelson a couple weeks back (true story).
  • I’m really not that great at bowling to be honest.

All bitterness aside, I’m excited to get back into my routine of capping off the work week with a Friday night full of bowling and catching up with old friends. There’s something about the challenge of bowling a perfect game that keeps me coming back every year. I have never come close to doing it, but the opportunity is there. I’d be lying if I said bowling a 300 wasn’t on my bucket list.

As I’m about to discuss how the night went, I’m wishing I had snapped a photo of my frame-by-frame score. Instead I’ll just go off memory. Next week I’ll get more evidence to back up my story on how things went. Just know that I’m being honest by telling you that I started off with three straight gutter balls, and a total of six pins through two frames.

I could only go up from there.

I’m pretty sure I opened four frames before getting my first mark, but man did that spare feel good. Getting that spare gave me a little more confidence going forward as I picked up a strike on my next ball. After a few more ups and downs in Game 1, I ended up with a measly 104. Although I was 60 pins short of my average, I’m just happy it wasn’t a sub-100 game.

Game 2 wasn’t quite as bad as the first. It had the same ups and downs with sporadic open frames and marked frames. It resulted in a 128 — not much of an improvement, but an improvement nonetheless.

If you’re not familiar with bowling, a high score requires consecutive marked frames for point bonuses. For example if you bowl a spare, your next ball counts as double pins. If you bowl a strike, your next two balls count as double. So to put that into perspective, starting a game with three strikes will put you at 60 points through three frames.

Game 3 started off the way it always should, with a strike. I managed to bag a turkey in frames 4-6. A turkey, or a “gobbler” as I like to call them, occurs when a bowler gets three strikes in a row. I had a great chance at obliterating my average, but due to some failing in the second half of the final game, I ended up with a 163.

Because we were missing two of our teammates, or Nads (yes, our team name is Nads and I am Nad 2), I'm not sure how we did against our opponents for week one. There is a good chance they beat us in all three games, but it's possible that our teammates' averages could have helped us get a win. I highly doubt we won the pin total. My guess is that we are now 1-3 going into week two. I'll provide an update on that for the week two article.

Bowling is a sport that I like to compare to golf. Consistency in stroke and playing the field can impact your score immensely. While muscle memory in bowling is extremely important for maintaining a consistent ball path, placement, and proper speed, you still have to account for the oil on the lane getting pushed around throughout the night. It forces you to adjust your game, similar to picking a certain golf club depending on your lie. That is where practice comes in. Basketball players constantly work on their shot, so they can carry that muscle memory and experience into games. The same goes for certain aspects of football, baseball, and even golf or bowling. Crazy, right?!

Since I mostly bowl for the good times of joking around with friends and family, I don’t invest in my bowling abilities in the offseason. And I’m okay with that. That is why I can sit here and joke about my incompetencies as a bowler.

I look forward to sharing my scores throughout the season, giving a unique perspective on what it’s like to bowl in a league. You can look forward to a weekly recap of my successes and failures throughout the long bowling season.

Kyle Richards
Kyle Richards

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