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Thread: Enduring the Scrutiny

  1. #1
    Bowling God Aslan's Avatar
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    Angry Enduring the Scrutiny

    Tonight, my teammates were "razzing" me about my note-taking. It's not the first time I've had teammates tease me about it...just about all of my teammates have.

    It's just annoying...kinda like the razzing over getting lessons. For some reason, bowlers that try to improve themselves or get better...are pretty much ridiculed by their peers...which I don't see as much in other sports. Nobody gets on their golf buddies if their golf buddy takes a lesson...or their ski buddy for getting a lesson. Nobody gets on a softball player for going to the batting cages or an athlete for jogging or lifting weights. Nobody stops at their buddy's house when he's in his driveway shooting free throws...teasing him for practicing.

    So, what is it about bowling that makes a focus on improving our game such a "teasable" offense. When I tell a teammate I take (took) lessons...it's almost always the same response: 'Oh my God! You take lessons? Dude...you take this stuff way too seriously." And don't get me started on the note-taking...last night it was like...every time I got back to the table...mockery, mockery, mockery.

    And, what makes it more annoying that usual...is...all 4 of my men's league teammates...if they're having a bad night...you can't even enjoy yourself because they're punching their chairs and threatening to quit bowling....or they are gone to the other end of the bowling center pouting. Not me. Sure...I get more "quiet" when I'm having a bad night...but I throw a temper tantrum. And God Forbid you start razzing those guys when they're having a bad game...you're likely to get a very serious, "Don't man...not tonight."

    It's a frustration rooted in the issue of coaching...that I know almost all bowling coaches share. For some reason, bowlers just don't want to learn...ANYTHING...EVER. They will throw the same 9mph shot...up the 2nd arrow...hooking through the nose...EVERY DAMN TIME...and they will NOT stop. You can tell them that they need to move inside till you're blue in the face...and they will just argue that it's the house not putting enough oil down...and then they'll change balls.

    Last night I tried explaining my 'system' of adjusting (after being repeatedly asked about it)...and trying to explain that moving your eyes vertically up or down a board changes where the ball sets down and thus when it hooks...I might as well been trying to describe what is on the other side of a black hole. Just blank stares followed by, "I just throw it at the arrows and hope I hit it."

    And these aren't 120 average bowlers that are throwing house balls for "fun". These are guys carrying 190+ averages who bowl in multiple leagues and compete in tournaments. You'd think they'd know that when you leave a 4-pin, 4-9, or a 9-pin...that you make a 1:1 move left...or that if you go through the nose and leave a 4-7-10 or a Big Four...you make a 1:2 move left. Even if your adjustments are slightly different...you should at least understand the 'concept' of moving left as the lanes transition. But...nope. Easier just to mock the guy who cares enough to improve.

    Rant over.
    In Bag: (: .) DV8 Thug Life; (: .) Ebonite Warning Sign; (: .) Hammer Scandal Pearl; (: .) Track 300A; (: .) Brunswick Guardian
    USBC#: 8259-59071; USBC Sanctioned Average = 199; Lifetime Average = 169; PAP 5 1/4" x 1/2" up
    Ball Speed: 17.0mph; Rev. Rate: 240rpm || High Game (sanc.) = 300 (268); High Series (sanc.) = 725 (689); Clean Games: 139

    Smokey this is not 'Nam', this is bowling. There are rules. Proud two-time winner of a bowlingboards.com weekly ball give-away!

  2. #2
    Bowling God Aslan's Avatar
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    And ya know...when I went to Vegas back in 2017...for sweeps. I recall that every time I'd go to Vegas for sweeps (at least twice a year)...I'd get there a day or two early...and I'd practice...8-20 games...maybe another 4-8 games the following morning if we had a PM start. Almost the entire league...would show up the Friday night before...get plastered (drunk)...gamble...then show up broke and hungover the morning of sweeps. And they used to always tease me for "practicing"...for not just enjoying Vegas.

    Then, in 2017...I tied for 1st place...and won about $1500...more than anyone else in the league. While they were all shooting crappy scores...because they were used to the ONE HOUSE they bowled in...and didn't practice on the lanes...I had already figured out how these lanes were different than our house...whether I needed to start off with a different ball...the adjustments I needed to make...and even whether I needed a surface change. Even whether or not I needed to change my slide soles/heels.

    Nobody was teasing me for practicing when I was walking up to get my $1500...go figure.
    In Bag: (: .) DV8 Thug Life; (: .) Ebonite Warning Sign; (: .) Hammer Scandal Pearl; (: .) Track 300A; (: .) Brunswick Guardian
    USBC#: 8259-59071; USBC Sanctioned Average = 199; Lifetime Average = 169; PAP 5 1/4" x 1/2" up
    Ball Speed: 17.0mph; Rev. Rate: 240rpm || High Game (sanc.) = 300 (268); High Series (sanc.) = 725 (689); Clean Games: 139

    Smokey this is not 'Nam', this is bowling. There are rules. Proud two-time winner of a bowlingboards.com weekly ball give-away!

  3. #3
    SandBagger GrumpyCatFace's Avatar
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    Iíve run into the same thing on a regular basis. Itís a bizarre culture, that I havenít seen in other hobbies. Grown men seem to take delight in talking down anyone thatís taking the game seriously.

    I just do my best to ignore it, and not look too smug when my average improves.

  4. #4
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    As I see it, bowling is a game and a sport. You have bowlers who view it as just a game. They go to hang out with their friends while they bowl a few games. You have other bowlers who see it as a sport. They warm up and stretch, practice, take lessons, etc. I spent about thirty years as the first type, bowling once a week with my dad and our friends. For the last ten years I have been more the second type, even taking it to the point of becoming a USBC certified coach. I can still see both sides and donít have a problem bowlers who are just out to have a good time at the alley.

    I think part of the problem is that starting in the mid-eighties, you could increase your average just by buying a new ball that increased your strike percentage. All of a sudden you could average 180, 190, or maybe even 200 with out really being all that good.
    John

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    Aslan, this is definitely one of the most frustrating parts about our sport, or our game, as many may say. The most difficult part is that we are put in a system that can very easily pair up bowlers of varying skill sets and due to the current state of the game is sort of forced to do that. I have always believed that a root of the problem with bowling (in regards to taking it serious/coaching) is that you are limited in showing your dominance or higher skill level. For example, a far superior golfer can go to the tee box and crush a 300 yard drive and the response towards criticism would be simple (you can give me a hard time, but unless you do what I'm doing you will never do this)...softball players who have superior power will have a similar visual overpowering towards those they play with. Bowlers on the other hand don't get this clear dominance...the ball goes down the lane in a similar manner as others and the goal is to throw a strike (or spare) which most can do to some level of competence.

    I think of it like this, I used to go golf with my dad and his friends when I was in high school and college...I took it serious and while I know they would have loved to razz me about that, I could shoot even par and hit the heck out of the ball, if they ever went there I could just come back with an easy statement of unless you take it this serious you will NEVER get to this point and they could accept reality on that (I assume the same could be said with softball, running, and a whole host of other activities). When it comes to bowling I can't count how many times I have heard statements of being close to a perfect game or winning a strike pot (etc.) and when you look at what they did they may have had the front 6 and then fizzled or got 8 of the 12 requisite strikes to win a strike pot...but because the bowling culture blames so much on bad breaks with corner pins and there is a connection to success through throwing strikes (albeit a small one), people can create a path to how they can be great without the commitment.

    Sorry for being long winded but that is how I have seen this for a while now.
    Currently in the bag: Roto Grip Hyper Cell (@2000), Hammer Gauntlet Fury (@1000 polished), Roto Grip Idol (@2000), Hammer Cherry Vibe (@1500 polished), Hammer Black Widow Urethane (@1000), Jet Blackbird

  6. #6

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    I don't know. Come league night I put aside the over-analyzation of my game. My observation is the players are there to enjoy the competition and while they want to do well they don't take it overly serious. That's fine by me. If I want to be in a more serious environment I have that opportunity as well. If I progress enough I will likely seek out a league that is a bit more serious to satisfy that itch but still stay in the less serious league.

    I am on a golf course probably 225 days a year and in the winters I have an indoor simulator. I take the game seriously but my seriousness for a given day, event or league is tailored to the seriousness of the situation not the seriousness of how I take my game. It's nice to have a league where they don't take it that seriously but also have the outlet of a league that does. Then there are certain competitions where the full field is dead serious about it. In the more serious events someone who didn't take it seriously would stick out like a sore thumb. Much like the person that takes it a little too seriously in a much less serious situation.

    On my bad days on the golf course I can show my serious side even if the competition is not so serious. I may get razzed about taking it so seriously at that time but I know they are in the right to do so.

  7. #7
    Bowling God Aslan's Avatar
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    I think JA and ALS touched on it.

    How many times a night have you thrown a "perfect shot". I mean, you hit your target +/- 1/4"...your timing felt absolutely flawless...your balance was perfect...your rev rate from shot to shot < =/- 25rpms...perfect pocket strike carrying the corner pins?

    Now, how many times have you struck without everything I mentioned being perfect?

    Bowlers have gotten use to so much forgiveness...whether ball technology or lane conditions...that a bowler can average in the 160s and never make even a 'good' shot the entire night.

    When I talked to Mark Baker about getting lessons, he said generally two types of bowlers seek out lessons:
    1) Bowlers averaging < 120 that know they are horrible and just want to get good enough to not embarrass themselves.
    2) Bowlers at the highest competitive level that understand how difficult and competitive bowling is at the highest level...and need that slight extra edge to win.

    Most of the bowlers that average between 160-229...they figure they know everything...so why bother getting anyone else's opinion?

    Success...as ironic as it sounds...has ruined the sport. Pros that once averaged 190-220...now average 225-260. At one time, only professionals would dream of shooting 10+ 300-games in their lifetime...now just about every anchor in every league in the country has shot at least 1-3...and pros shoot so many that they don't even keep track of the ones they don't throw on TV. You used to really have to have a good release and almost flawless form to even get a ball to hook...then came the 1980s and 1990s...and now balls hook so much you have people clammering for urethane because resin balls hook too much on most patterns.

    And I think much of my frustration is...I can't really say anything...I just need to endure the scrutiny...until I get my average up.

    Right now, I average 177 and my series have ranged from 446-678.

    One bowler on our team averages 170 and has a series range of 446-602. His release is beyond repair, but he doesn't give me much flak given I average more than him.

    Our lead bowler averages 191 with a series range of 482-674. He's a more consistent bowler than I am and a better spare shooter..but he's limited in his high end. His ball speed is too low...but he will move around a bit and his consistency usually saves him.

    Our #4 bowler is easily the best bowler on the team. He averages 202, but his series range is 539-701. No 300s yet this season, but he's shot them in the past and has come close this season. He's an old timer and doesn't adjust much...but he's fundamentally sound and balanced and is the best spare shooter on the team. As long his line doesn't transition too much...he's pretty much spot on.

    Our anchor averages 203 with a series range of 506-660. The only reason he averages higher than bowler #4...is that bowler #4 has had some finger injury issues this season that has limited him. The anchor throws a 14lb ball with a decent amount of revs...very slow speed. He usually throws plastic...cuz he refuses to move inside...so anything resin is gonna hook too much.

    I can't catch bowler #4...he's just too good and too consistent...too much experience. But, I think I can catch our lead bowler and maybe our anchor. Over the past 5 weeks...I've only had 1 series < 550...while our lead bowler has had about half his series < 550 over that same time frame. And our anchor, he's kinda been the same as me...about 1 series in 5 < 550. Neither of them have thrown a 678 series (my high on the season) or higher. Normally I wouldn't be too motivated to catch them...but maybe they'll have more respect for a bowler that is taking the game seriously when that bowler is outperforming them every night. It won't be easy...I've dug quite a hole for myself after that 9 month break...but at least it gives me a target to aim for.
    In Bag: (: .) DV8 Thug Life; (: .) Ebonite Warning Sign; (: .) Hammer Scandal Pearl; (: .) Track 300A; (: .) Brunswick Guardian
    USBC#: 8259-59071; USBC Sanctioned Average = 199; Lifetime Average = 169; PAP 5 1/4" x 1/2" up
    Ball Speed: 17.0mph; Rev. Rate: 240rpm || High Game (sanc.) = 300 (268); High Series (sanc.) = 725 (689); Clean Games: 139

    Smokey this is not 'Nam', this is bowling. There are rules. Proud two-time winner of a bowlingboards.com weekly ball give-away!

  8. #8

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    I am not so sure you are going to get the 'respect it deserves' once you get your average up but for your sake I hope it will.

  9. #9
    Cranker
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    As JA mentioned, it's a sport and a game. Those who treat it as a game will be the one who mock and ridicule but have no idea the oil on the lane actually has a pattern. Those are the same guys who complain about the lane men being incompetent when they can't play the track area but still keep trying the same line while they bowl their 120 game.

    I'm the secretary for a mixed league and some of the people are older and have been in the league 20+ years and out of curiosity, I looked at their averages and they've carried the same 140+ averages for 20 years. I can't fathom doing something for 20 years and not getting better at it.


    And I understand some of the ridicule, I'm actually a USBC Silver Coach so I know a bunch of coaches in the area and I get sent clinic information all the time. So I tell the people in my league when and where the clinics are. Anyway, this one guy in my league whenever he sees me miss a spare, he says I should ask for a refund from the clinics. I just kind of laugh it off and ignore it.

  10. #10
    Bowling God Aslan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonNJ View Post
    And I understand some of the ridicule, I'm actually a USBC Silver Coach so I know a bunch of coaches in the area and I get sent clinic information all the time. So I tell the people in my league when and where the clinics are. Anyway, this one guy in my league whenever he sees me miss a spare, he says I should ask for a refund from the clinics. I just kind of laugh it off and ignore it.
    Thats my LEAST favorite thing I've had to deal with. I can understand people messing with me about being too serious or taking notes...but I HATE HATE HATE when I miss a shot or a spare and I hear something like, "You should get your money back from whoever is giving you those lessons."

    But I'm with you. I guess I just can't see doing something for 30+ years and not getting better.

    Last night the guy not only messed with me about the system...but would mess with my notes while I was bowling. I don't think he means anything by it personally...but it IS annoying.
    In Bag: (: .) DV8 Thug Life; (: .) Ebonite Warning Sign; (: .) Hammer Scandal Pearl; (: .) Track 300A; (: .) Brunswick Guardian
    USBC#: 8259-59071; USBC Sanctioned Average = 199; Lifetime Average = 169; PAP 5 1/4" x 1/2" up
    Ball Speed: 17.0mph; Rev. Rate: 240rpm || High Game (sanc.) = 300 (268); High Series (sanc.) = 725 (689); Clean Games: 139

    Smokey this is not 'Nam', this is bowling. There are rules. Proud two-time winner of a bowlingboards.com weekly ball give-away!

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