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Bowling by Spencer on September 10, 2009

A Bit Rusty

So, my first night back had it’s ups and downs.  I started out very timid and didn’t trust my approach and shot a 148.  The second game, I recovered fairly well and ended up with a 224.  I finished out the night with a decent 188 for a 560 series and a 186 average (which is where I officially ended last season).

Overall, not too bad coming out of the gate.  We did however, lose all 7 points and I can only suspect some serious sandbagging the first week.  If it were one team member, that’s understandable.  Even two… but when all four bowlers carry averages in the 180-190 range (for years) and have a first week average in the 130-140 range so that their handicaps are through the roof, I get suspicious.  I took the whole summer off and still kept my average.  50 pin differences from the first week to the second are not statistically normal… not when it is everyone on the team.  I try to be positive and look at the best in people because I don’t want to believe that people would really do that, but in this case the numbers don’t add up.  Teams don’t get 3000+ pins with handicap for a night; it just doesn’t happen without some manipulation.

This has been a long standing league and I believe that the first 7 weeks should use the ending average from the previous season if you bowled in that league; or your USBC book average if you didn’t.  Only if you have never bowled in league should your first 3 games establish your average.  It’s infuriating.  That would nearly eliminate the possibility of purposeful sandbagging at the beginning.

While I am fairly pleased with my performance, maybe it would have served me better to bowl 150 all three games to establish low.   Of course, under no circumstances could I even bring myself not to try my best; it’s just something that doesn’t enter my mind as a possibility.

Bowling &Life by Spencer on September 9, 2009

Bowling Starts Tonight

Greetings to all of my fine friends,

After a summer hiatus, bowling starts for me again tonight.  The season technically started last week but I was on vacation so I missed it.  My goal for this league is a lofty 200 average.  This will be tough especially considering that I only bowled twice all summer (had planned to continue to bowl practice regularly, but it didn’t pan out that way).  We’ll see how rusty I am after tonight.

As for the rest of my resolutions for this year… I’ve hit the weight goal of 190 so I’m really excited about that.  The summer has seen a bit of a drop in the devotionals, especially during vacation so still some room to improve.

Take care and you can expect more regular posting to start up again!

Bowling by Spencer on May 21, 2009

Final Night of League…

Last night was my final night for this year’s league.  They have one more week that I won’t be able to attend, which is sad, because I have some award money coming that I won’t be able to pick up myself.  Oh well, not much I can do about that.

My final night was a great night, but had a bittersweetness to it.  I bowled my best 3 game series ever: 238, 220, 221 for a 679.  Going into the last game, I had a decent chance to get a 700 series.  I missed two single pin spares (had made all others the rest of the night).  If I had made those, I would have had a 245 and my 700.  So, while it was my best three games in league, it could have and should have been better.

Overall, I’m pleased with the final 9 weeks of this league.  Since I had my last lesson, I’ve averaged over 200 and raised my league average from 182 to 188 which is significant this late in the season.

I won’t bowl in any league this summer, but will commit to practicing at least once a week to maintain what I’ve learned and even try to tweak some minor adjustments.  I’m not sure if I’ll keep a regular blog, but if anything significant happens, I’m sure I’ll pass it along.

Bowling by Spencer on April 23, 2009

Perfection

Last night was why I like to bowl.  This post may be a bit long, but I want to try to remember the entire night for posterity.

Game 1 – I was a little tight, and pulled a couple of shots in the early going.  I also missed three really easy spares (two of them single pin) and was only at 85 through six frames.  From there, I still wasn’t getting great carries and only had one strike, but at least started making my spares for a 159 game.  I thought it was going to be very hard to keep my streak of 600 series alive, but I was ok with that; not all nights can be good.

Game 2 – Started out with 2 strikes and then 2 baby splits that I missed both on.  I was clean the rest of the game with 4 more strikes, 2 spares, and an 8 on my fill shot for a 208.  The 600 series would be tough as I needed a 233 to make it, but it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility.  By the end of the game, I was feeling fairly comfortable with the shot on both lanes and knew I’d probably just need to move a touch to the left.

Game 3 – First ball was a good, solid strike.  Always good to start out with a strike as the team’s lead off bowler.  2nd frame was another strike, but this was a bit lucky.  I hit the pocket a little high and got the 4 to trip along with the 9 for my luckiest strike of the game.  Frame 3 was another lucky strike, got a late trip on one of the corner pins, but don’t remember which.  The 4th frame was a good strike.  Frames 5 and 6 also had some late trips on single pins that could have stayed up but helped me stay perfect.  Frames 7, 8, and 9 were all pretty decent strikes as I remember and after that the nerves really started to kick in.

I came to the approach at the beginning of the 10th frame with a lot of nerves.  I didn’t really notice a crowd behind me at all, although it was starting to grow a bit.  In the past, whether practice or league, the best I had done was strike the front 9 and miss the first shot in the 10th.  This was in the back of my mind but I tried to shut it out to make a good shot.  My knees were knocking but I took a breath and started my approach… all 10 down!  I knew that I still needed two strikes, but no matter what, I was going to beat my previous best of 277.

The nerves went down a little for the second shot.  The ball seemed to take a bit longer than usual to come back from the ball return; I was glad it finally came without having to call service.  My knees shook a little, but I knew I could do it… all 10 down!

At this point, things were a little quieter around my lane, but not too bad and I just kept looking down the lane and didn’t even think about the people around me.  As I stepped on the approach, I was just as, if not a little more nervous than I was for the first shot.  My knees were shaking so much I found it hard to even start walking.  Since the first two strikes were pretty solid with no late trips, I at least felt confident of where I was starting my approach from.  I finally made my first step and with my heart pounding, threw the last shot… it was clean off my hand… hit my mark… looks like it has good rotation… makes the turn… squares up to the pocket… all 10 down!!!  Cheers erupt!

Apparently quite a large crowd had gathered and once the cheers started, everyone I know from this league started coming up to hug and congratulate me.  I couldn’t believe it… my first 300 game!  Even thinking about it now, I find it hard to believe.  And of course, got my 600 series too.

I was told by other members of the league that have 300 games that the first one is always the hardest.  I can believe that and feel really happy that I didn’t come up to that last shot and get a 298 or 299.  If that happens in the future, I’ll be okay with it because I have my perfect game, and that can’t be taken away from me.

Bowling by Spencer on April 10, 2009

Slight Change in Attitude

This past Wednesday was a great night.  214, 215, 189 and only 3 missed spares all night.  Two of them were single pins I should have had and one was a split, but overall very good and consistent.  One thing happened in the middle of the second game that carried through the night and through practice even today…

Instead of starting the approach and hoping I would throw a strike, I’m coming to the approach expecting a strike.  It’s only a slight change in attitude, but a very important one.  The key to this isn’t just changing the thought process, but knowing that all of the hard work and thinking about my game and release, I now truly believe that I have nearly everything working for me with my approach, swing, release, and ball reaction, that unless something weird happens, every ball I throw should at least have a chance to strike.

Knowing that before I throw has made my approach even easier and more relaxed.  I’m walking in a straight line, not squeezing the ball, and not trying to force the ball to hook, but rather letting it come off my hand naturally.  I’m sure I’ll still have bad nights and have bad throws; but I think (and hope) that I’ve turned that latest corner to really help myself get out of my own way to improve my average over 200 consistently.  With only 4 weeks left, my average can’t get that high for the whole season; but with continued practice over the summer (taking league off this summer) I truly think it is a realistic goal for next fall.

Of course, now that I’ve written that, watch me have a hard time breaking 500 next week. LOL 🙂

Happy Easter, everyone!

Bowling by Spencer on April 2, 2009

Finally, a 600 Series

For the first time in two months, I had a 600 series last night.  My warmups were great.  I thought I had a good read of the lane and my practice spares were in good shape… so I thought.  My first 4 frames were horrible.  One spare and three easy misses.  I figured I needed to start a little right of practice as there tends to be a build up of oil from warmups.  That turned out to be the wrong move.  I moved to the left around the center arrow and things started to get better.

I wound up with 162, 222, 222 for my scores for a 606 series.  Outside of those first frames, I was nearly clean all night, only missing two splits (and nearly converting one of them).  As a team, we’ve won each match this quarter and should be in the top 5 going into position round next week.  Hopefully I can notch another 600 series!

Life &Sports by Spencer on March 31, 2009

Quite a Workout

wii-fit_300x300

As part of our goal to get healthier and lose weight, both Kylah and I had wanted to find something we could do to have a more steady workout.  We thought about a gym membership but that isn’t overly feasible since we’d have to go at different times in order to watch Connor.  I have my bowling but that is only once a week and while helpful, isn’t the best way to really help get in shape.  We wanted something we could do together, at home, and not too expensive.

Enter the Wii Fit.  After a couple of weeks of looking for one and stores sold out, we finally got one yesterday.  The process starts with analyzing your balance and taking your weight to calculate your BMI.  From there, you can set a goal; and start your training in four different areas.  Yoga, which helps with stretching and breathing; Strength, nothing with weights, rather using the Wii Board and your body; Aerobics, get that heart rate pumping; and Balance, exercises to help improve posture and coordination.

After we both got our first body analysis, we went through some of the exercises.  It was actually quite a workout and fairly difficult.  The board is very sensitive so maintaining good form throughout is essential and tricky.  There is a bit of a learning curve, but we like what we see so far.  We finished up doing a two person run which really got our heart rates up.  Our plan is to each do a workout on the Wii every evening after we put Connor to bed and before we relax/watch TV for the evening.

Nintendo has really stretched the limits with their Wii console.  They came up with ideas that are so nice and fresh to help get people active while playing video games.  I’m quite impressed with a lot of the things they are coming up with.

Bowling by Spencer on March 25, 2009

Sometimes Just Takes a Little Lesson

Yesterday I had a lesson to work on my recent issues with targeting as the lanes broke down and my problem was diagnosed with one approach and fixed a few steps later, literally.  So, my problem was that as I moved left, I either still came high and through the nose as if I hadn’t moved, or I’d come up really light and miss the head pin.  In comes the solution:

Even though I was starting left, my eyes and feet were leading me right so I’d end up exactly where I always was.  That explained the hits through the nose; I was really using the exact same part of the lane.  The light hits would be trying to really over correct and I’d move my target far right to try to make up for the fact that “moving” left hadn’t help.

I just needed a second set of eyes to show me that I was walking back to the right and once I realized that and started walking straight, I was able to shift to the left, shift to the right (stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight. :)) and adjust to conditions as I’ve been wanting to do.  Tonight is league so I’m hoping to put this into practice tonight.  Stay tuned.

Bowling by Spencer on March 12, 2009

I Have to Figure Something Out

Greetings to all,

I have to figure something out; and so far I just can’t.  The lanes at South Point are certainly different than they have been in the past.  No matter which ball I use, by the third game (and last night even the second) no matter where I start my approach, my ball seems to come high.  I keep making adjustments, and still high;  once I’ve lost the pocket for the night, I can’t seem to get it back.

The worst part is I don’t know what else to do.  I move a little, no change; I change balls, same result; adjust my target line, either the same result or something else even worse than coming in high (e.g. missing the head pin altogether).  I’m just not sure where to go from here.  I’ve been meaning to schedule a lesson for quite some time; maybe now is the time to finally schedule it.

Bowling &Life by Spencer on March 5, 2009

2 Out Of 3 Isn’t Bad

Last night I had one of my better nights of recent memory.  I had 215, 218, 140 for a 573 series.  The first two games were as good as the scores indicate with only one bad miss between both of them.  The last game, despite the score, also only had one bad spare miss.  The lane conditions had really changed, and no matter how I moved, I kept coming high and leaving some weird spares.  I even tried to take a deep line and yes, threw a first ball gutter; and it was right where I was aiming, but didn’t recover at all and slid off.  I don’t know if I should have changed balls or what, and maybe I’m too afraid to move left of center on the approach.  I’ll have to figure out what to do when the lanes break down like that.

I also wanted to go ahead and use this space to do my New Year’s Resolution Update:

  • Weight: 204.4; Only lost a bit and that can be considered standard fluctuation so no real loss this month. We did have a lot of company and I’ve been eating dessert quite a bit this month, so no gain is probably just as good as loss would have been.
  • Devotional: Weekends are still tougher but getting better.  Weekdays are still pretty good but sometimes I rush through more than I should.
  • Bowling blog: I think I wrote, even if shortly, about each week this month so that’s good.  Also the last two weeks have seen my average going back up and that’s always good. 🙂

Overall grade: B.  Still room for improvement, but staying with all three through 2 months is better than I’ve been able to do usually.

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