New ball: Alpha Crux

Suddenly having a hole in my arsenal with the loss of my Virtual Gravity Nano, the best option to replace the ball was the new Alpha Crux, which I had Ray try to duplicate the Nano’s reaction with. I’m not sure what the notation for the layout was (I’ll have to get the numbers from Ray before I add the ball to my BowlSK arsenal.), but the pin was under my finger, with a motion hole on the positive (ring finger) side. Trying the ball out, I had a few bad shots, but the good ones had the expected reaction: Early-rolling, but setting nicely in the pocket on the house shot. I’m not sure if I’m bowling league this summer yet, but I hope I’ll be able to use the ball if I do. 🙂

Motiv Demo Day set for Oct. 25

Motiv, the bowling ball company, will conduct a demo day concurrently with the Northeast Amateur Tournament doubles event at Westgate Lanes on Oct. 25, during which Motiv Eastern regional rep Justin Wyman will be on hand to assist bowlers in trying out Motiv’s product line. The demo balls can be used on open play lanes, for which the bowler will pay lineage. For more details, or to sign up, contact Ray in the pro shop.

Aug. 31 practice

Knowing that the new shot was going to be out, I took part of today to begin my preparation for the coming season. Faced with the longest pattern I’ve bowled on to date, one of the suggestions I was given was to take the surface of my IQ Tour Fusion down. Brian Egan thought I’d do well with 3000 Abralon (meaning Abralon pad at 3000 grit), but when I tried that surface on the lanes, I found it a struggle to hold line most of the time (though I had a few decent shots), so I brought the Fusion back into the shop and asked Kevin (Thibeault) to bring it up to 4000 Abralon. I told him I’d pick the ball up tomorrow, but the test of the higher surface will come in my league’s no-tap tournament after the meeting Wednesday.

2014 Brunswick Demo Days

Just in time for holiday shopping, the pro shop will be running its annual series of Brunswick Demo Days (Brunswick, DV8, and Radical equipment) during the following hours starting Dec. 15 through Dec. 21: Mon. 5-8 PM, Tue. 4-9 PM, Wed. 5-7 PM, Thur. 11 AM-9 PM, Fri. 6-7:30 PM, Sat. Noon-5 PM, and Sun. 10 AM-5 PM. As an incentive, $100-$200 spent in the pro shop during the week will receive $10 in rewards, $200-$300 $15. See Ray or Kevin in the shop for details.

CATS note: Ray also told me tonight that Larry Lichstein will likely be in with the CATS system Jan. 8-15, and appointments for lessons can be made with Ray.

2014 Brunswick Demo Days this week

Here’s something I did not know about until I showed up for the eliminator tournament today: USA Pro Shop will be conducting Brunswick Demo Days this week from 5 PM to 9 PM Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (Aug. 25-27), and on Thursday (Aug. 28) from 11 AM to 9 PM. As usual, bowlers may try the newest balls from Brunswick and subsidiaries DV8 and Radical during open play or league play.

New ball: IQ Tour Fusion

One of the things I noticed last night was that my Hy-Road was struggling to get off the break point even though I had the ball cleaned and re-polished a couple of months ago, and have been using the ball only moderately since then. My thought after that was to update the Hy-Road, and I told Ray today that my choice would be the IQ Tour Fusion.

After coming into the shop, I told Ray that my thought was another stacked leverage layout, and what he came up with was a layout of 4.5″ X 3.5″ X 1.25″, which was between two of the “standard” layouts and would be suitable for a variety of lane conditions (my thought with the Hy-Road). Getting three games to try the ball out, I needed a couple of games to sort my physical game out, but, after that, I got a better idea of what this ball would do. It does, indeed, come off of the spot better than the Hy-Road, and also carries better, as I left not a single flat 10 on my good pocket hits, and carried the 7 most of the time on my swishing hits. My last game was a clean 223, starting with a double and with a turkey from the 5th frame, standing 34 and going about 12 at the arrows on the house shot.

This ball will probably be the one I pull out on my next league night. 😀

Brunswick to run demo days in November

Brunswick, in conjunction with USA Pro Shop, will be conducting a series of demo days at Westgate Lanes on Nov. 14 through 18, with the schedule below:

  • Nov. 14: 6 PM to 10 PM
  • Nov. 15: 6 PM to 10 PM
  • Nov. 16: 10 AM to 5 PM
  • Nov. 17: Noon to 5 PM
  • Nov. 18: 6 PM to 8 PM

Demo balls of the latest offerings from Brunswick, as well as their subsidiary companies, DV8 and Radical, will be available to try free during open bowling, league practice, or league play. Interested bowlers may see Ray DiSanto in the pro shop for more information.

FYI, there will be a bowling celebrity on hand for these; I will only say that I’ve blogged about his visits before. 😉

A ball to “Marvel” at

I recently re-evaluated my arsenal, after learning about technical details of the core like RG and differential, and noticed that a hole in my arsenal was a stronger pearl. I addressed the hole (with the ball being acquired tonight) by having Ray order me a Marvel Pearl. The new IQ Tour Pearl was under consideration too, but I wanted something I could use on a heavier volume house shot and have the reaction of my weaker balls. With that in mind, I considered the layout options and, liking the layout of my Fast, decided to put the pin in my ring finger.

Trying the ball out, I found I could cross a lot of boards with it, but it was pretty much as expected. There may not have been as much oil as I wanted, but it allowed me to also work, during the one free game I got, on playing inside third arrow while targeting further down the lane. On my good shots, I left a couple of flat 10s, but also had a couple of solid strikes, so I am now more confident I can move more inside when I need to.

Parker Bohn III visits Westgate Lanes

This came about pretty much 11th hour, and, indeed, I didn’t know it was happening until Rich Fulton posted about it on Facebook, but PBA and USBC Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III came to Westgate Lanes tonight for a Brunswick demo day, meaning he had Brunswick’s current offerings that you could try out. I chatted him up about the C-System Maxxed-Out, which I had seen Sean Rash post about throwing in his recent tournaments in Asia, and he did have that ball available to try out. I’ll post the two photos I got below:

Parker Bohn III at Westgate Lanes Brunswick demo day


Richie with Parker Bohn III at Westgate Lanes Brunswick demo day

Parker was a really nice guy to meet, and as I was watching the bowlers throw the balls, I could see Parker giving tips to some of them. He will likely be here again, but I did ask him for more advance notice about the next one.

I’ve been meaning also to see if DV8, a new subsidiary company of Brunswick, had a homepage, but I did find it tonight and added it to my ball company sidebar list.

My strike arsenal, in detail

I’ve been planning a post like this for quite a while. I’ve been wanting my readers who don’t normally see me bowl to have an idea of how all of my strike balls are laid out. I have the layout measurements noted on BowlSK, but, for some, seeing is believing, so what I’ve done is take photos of the five balls currently in my strike arsenal and label the major reference points.

I’ll start with the Hy-Road, which is my benchmark (a benchmark ball is the ball first thrown on unfamiliar lane conditions during the process of getting the initial read of the lanes):

Hy-Road

This ball has what is known as a stacked leverage layout. It is a fairly low RG ball (tech specs are on Storm’s website, some of the balls for which you may need to find the ball in the “Classic” list by clicking in the top right corner on the main “Balls” page), and I initially got it as a ball that would help me on oil but that I could also use on a THS (Typical House Shot). Although the layout is strong, the hybrid coverstock and the fact that I usually keep the cover polished are what make the ball a decent one on a house pattern.

To point out some differences, I’ll show my Reign of Fire next:

Reign of Fire

Like my Hy-Road, this ball has a stacked leverage layout, but you’ll notice that the weight hole is actually a bit below my PAP (which I eyeballed and marked on the photo). This points out that the driller also has to take core dynamics into account when laying out a ball, and, really, you can throw core dynamics out the window if the ball has illegal static weights. The Reign of Fire also has a duller solid coverstock, which rolls a bit sooner and helps me if the condition is a little heavier.

For really heavy oil, here is the ball I most recently acquired, the Virtual Gravity Nano:

Virtual Gravity Nano

As I mentioned in my post about it, I acquired this ball previously used, but wanted to keep the same layout, which is pin under the fingers. This layout will allow the ball to roll early, which is needed on longer, heavier oil patterns. I’ve also marked the mass bias (MB) position on the ball to illustrate what I meant when I said it was kicked out (outside of the line formed by the pin and center of gravity positions). It also has the strongest cover of my current balls, the NRG solid at 4000 Abralon.

The next ball I’ll show has claimed a soft spot in my heart:

Fast

This ball, my Fast, is the ball I threw for my two best games ever, my 288 league game (which was also part of my first 700 series, my personal best 707) and my 290 open bowling game. I had Ray drill this with the thought of this being my “long and strong” ball, not getting into a roll until after it exits the oil pattern and finishing hard on the back end, which is why it’s often good on a THS. The polished pearl coverstock adds to its length.

Finally, the ball I’ve found I had to use the last couple of weeks, and the ball I finished my second 700 series with, my Tropical Breeze:

Tropical Breeze

Length was the consideration with this ball as well, so it was drilled pin-over and I keep it polished, but I throw this on lighter oil than what I would use my Fast on, with the solid coverstock helping tame down the back end for control on the light/dry when I need it (the solid rolls sooner than a pearl, so it won’t overreact).

I hope this post has helped everyone understand what I’m using out there. 😀

From trash to treasure

Being ever opportunistic, and always looking for a deal when I can, I couldn’t help but jump on something I discovered on the forums. “Domokun,” whom I knew well from his participation in the virtual league from the beginning, recently announced that he was unloading all of his Storm equipment, with the exception of one ball that I’ll mention later, in favor of Ebonite, saying that Storm balls weren’t working where he bowls.

A ball he announced he was unloading that caught my eye in particular happened to be last year’s Bowling This Month Ball of the Year, the Virtual Gravity Nano. Investigating further, he told me this ball had a pin-under layout (he had another one drilled pin-over, but that one was autographed by women’s bowling legend Aleta Sill, so he’s saving that ball in a box in storage), which was exactly the type of layout I wanted if I ever wanted a ball for long oil patterns. After confirming that it was a 15 lb. ball, I told him I’d take it, and I received it via FedEx a week ago last Thursday.

I should note that this is the first ball I’ve ever owned with an asymmetrical core (you can click on “View Core” on the page linked above to get an image of the core’s shape), so there’s an additional position marked on the ball’s surface for the mass bias. I may comment later on how my layout is measured, but I kept the pin-under layout, with the mass bias kicked out. The ball also had a number of scratches on it and it also looked too shiny for a dull ball, so I determined that a full resurface was necessary. When I gave Ray the ball to have the work done Thursday, he told me the thumb would need to be plugged. With grips and a slug, this ball came out to be a $50 job.

I got a quick chance to try out the ball on a pair near the desk tonight (with the house shot) while the Coke league bowlers were practicing, and I must say that this ball is, by far, the strongest I’ve ever owned. I ended up standing around 34 looking third arrow, but if I made a mistake turning just a bit too early and the ball went high, my high pocket hits left a couple of blower 7s. I eventually did throw a couple of good shots consecutively near the end of the test game and carried them both, with a late 10 on a shot that I thought might have left a weak 10 for the last one. I may not use this ball all of the time, but this would certainly be a house shot option for when I want to play the deep-in (which my readers should know from past leagues that I like playing), and I had this ball in mind more for longer oil patterns (like “Route 66”), anyway, so this ball is going to be a good fit in my arsenal.

As a final note, I may make it a summer project to make a post with the pictures of all of my balls (except for my spare ball) so my readers can become acquainted with how I have all of them laid out.

Jan. 4 league night recap (includes final first half standings)

With my original Strikes showing signs of troublesome wear, I finally wore a pair of Strike 300s that I bought about a year ago for the first time. I was worried about the slide sole being a little slick, but I hit it up with my wire brush before bowling and it was like instantly breaking them in.

My Week 18 bowling, frame-by-frame (Linked to BowlSK sheet)

Not many strikes, all told, but this was a total effort. It seems a key on my spares is not rushing the line, something I failed to keep in mind when I missed my two makeable spares, but I was around 87% on those tonight. More importantly, a ball change down to my Hy-Road combined with keeping that swing plane lesson from the Norm Duke DVD in mind gave me enough strikes to have a 214 third game, but the important thing was that I made my spares that game, so that was my first clean game of the season. 😀

Result: 185-159-214=558
Average (54 games): 174
Average for last 9 games: 190
Next week’s AVG+1 score: 571

We only needed one point from our opponents to assure ourselves 5th place, and we got it second game, which, as it turned out, we won by enough to create a tie for total. I believe “Outta Da Guttah” won three from “Bottoms Up!,” so we missed a tie for 4th place by just a half point. “The Incredibowls” won three from “The Mustangs,” so the defending league champions will be defending their title in the roll-off in May.

By the way, this is as high as my team has ever finished a half in this league. 😀

Nov. 17 lesson

While I was warming up for my lesson today, Ray remarked that my Fast (which I’ve been using) may not be the perfect ball for the current THS, but that the upshot of that was that it’ll get me to learn to bowl better. My answer was that I knew the Fast could carry if I hit the pocket, so I didn’t mind the learning process.

Another thing that came up was that I remarked about not really feeling my finger position through the swing, after which Ray reminded me of a long-neglected bit of ball maintenance: keeping my grips clean. He likes acetone for cleaning the grips, but not wanting to use something that’s not on the list of approved cleaners, I asked about others, and he said dish liquid and water would be fine.

The bulk of the lesson was on hand position, with Ray telling me about how reverse psychology works in bowling: If I turn in too early, what I want to do is turn out. In the process of going over this, he was on the approach with me getting me to feel where the ball should be on my hand at the top of my backswing. My shots after that were uneven, but this was normal, and I did get in a few good ones, including one I absolutely killed as my time on the lanes was running out. He remarked at the end of the session, that there are really only two things I need to keep working on: hand position through the swing and keeping the ball close to my feet at release.

Feeling the “Breeze” (includes June 15 league recap)

Posting this late again…

Before league tonight, I had Ray punch up a new Tropical Breeze. I got the black/teal color combination, which is a polished solid cover. Solid coverstocks tend to be good control balls, which is what I felt I needed when the house shot burns up from play. I kept the cover polished (keeping the ball’s length) and the layout turned out to be 5 5/8″ X 4″, which puts the pin above bridge with the CG (Center of Gravity) position kicked out (more to the side of the ball), which gives me length with a tamer backend than the Fast. I bowled most of a game with it before putting the ball away for the start of my league session.

My Week 4 bowling, frame-by-frame (Linked to BowlSK sheet)

My two games with the Fast weren’t great, but the third game was an opportunity to use the Breeze, and, when I didn’t get strikes in that game, I got single pins, for the most part, with only a split filling the 10th frame ruining things. I like the new ball so far on the burnt shot, so I hope I get better at throwing it under that condition.

Result: 151-178-204=533
Average (12 games): 188
Average for last 9 games: 186
Next week’s AVG+1 score: 568

Team lost the first game largely due to the opposing anchor bowling a personal best game; we won the other two games, but couldn’t make up the first-game deficit, so the result was a 4-4 draw. Eileen, not wanting to miss the Bruins’ Game 7 win last night, pre-bowled, and I can say if she didn’t do well in her last two games, we might not have had any points on the night.

Note: My summer league will not be meeting next week because of the national wheelchair tournament. I will, however, be participating in the “Up and Down” no-tap event on Monday, and will post about that when the time comes.

Shoe shopping

I bowled with my brother once again. However, as I had noticed that my original Etonic Strikes were showing signs of wear, it was probably my last bowling session with them. In the session itself, I had one game over 200, but my scores were lower overall, partly because I left, not one, not two, but three pocket 7-10s in it.

After the session, I put in an appearance in the pro shop. I had hoped to keep the purchase around $50 (which was the amount I asked my brother for to make the purchase before he came over), but the entry-level shoes I tried on were ambidextrous (meaning they can be worn by both right-handed and left-handed bowlers), and I had wanted a right-handed pair specifically. Ray was able to point me to some Etonic Strike 300’s, which ran about $75 with tax, but still in my “comfort zone” price range. Ray didn’t have them in right-handed size 10 1/2 in the Brockton store, but did give Jay (I’m assuming) a call at the Boston store and they were in stock there, so I’ll be picking them up on my next visit, which may be Tuesday if I have time, but definitely on Wednesday night.

Prep work

Going in reverse chronological order with the two items I want to post about, because being able to have the second item was dependent on having the first…

Today, FedEx delivered a Brunswick Competitor triple roller, which is the first roller bag I have ever bought. I actually ordered the roller on Monday night from bowling.com via the BowlingFans.com Amazon store, which helps support the latter site…something I’ve wanted to do and will try to do again as much as possible. I may not order balls from the BowlingFans.com “Pro Shop” because it would end up a wash after Ray charges me for drilling, but it should be fine for my other bowling needs.

It must now be noted that I intend to enter the December People’s Tournament at Westgate Lanes on the first weekend of that month. Knowing Sherm now likes to have “Dead Man’s Curve” out for his Westgate Lanes events, I felt I needed a ball for heavier oil, so, last night, I had Ray set aside Storm’s Reign of Fire in a 15 lb. weight for me to pick up on Monday night. Looking at the page I linked in the previous sentence, the ball appears stronger than my Hy-Road, and will be the first ball I’ve ever purchased that was dull out of the box. As for drilling, I told Ray to give me something that will help me in the oil but still save something for the back-end; I had thought this would be a pin-up type drilling, but Ray told me it would probably be closer to a stacked drilling, or at least something between the two types of layouts mentioned. I’ll be updating my arsenal page on BowlSK when I have the final specs.

Getting ready for Fall/Winter 2010-11

Tonight was the Brunswick Mixed League’s no-tap tournament, but this one was not as fruitful as last week’s was, as I had no game over 200. Part of the story was that my left foot was barking at me a little bit, so that may have been playing with my mind a bit. However, when it didn’t, I felt I threw some good shots, and, when I knew my issue was being settled in the negative, I started experimenting playing a bit deeper inside (standing 35) with decent results. My buddy Rob threw a no-tap 300 in the last game, with 9 of the 12 natural, and took home the top prize, so congrats to him.

My team from last season is returning intact, but we’re trying to come up with a new name, and John was looking at a list of them online through his iPhone, but some of the ones I liked weren’t met favorably by at least one of the other members, particularly Eileen. Hopefully, we can hash out a few ideas next week and settle on something. Anyone who’d like to offer suggestions can comment to this post with them.

A last thing I wanted to do to get ready for the new season was to get my Target Zone spare ball polished back up, as I’m finding spares on the right side tough, and hopefully the extra shine allows the ball to skid further and not hook as much. Jay did that for me in the pro shop, but I’m not going to have much of a chance to try it out, as Monday is the Labor Day holiday, and there will be no half-price bowling.

As a final note, I introduced myself to Keith Kaestner, someone I had only known online through the Massachusetts Imperial Syndicate (a chapter of FanForce, an international Star Wars fan club), tonight. He’s returning to bowling after living on Cape Cod for three years, and my league was his old league, so I’m sure the people he knew back then are glad to see him back, and that I finally got a chance to meet him in person. I look forward to bowling with him.

Aug. 13 league standings update (and other Friday notes)

The updated standings (available at BowlerExpress at press time) find “Trip N Shred” in a rematch with “Wyld Stallyns” next week by virtue of being in 11th and 12th positions, respectively. My team has a chance to move into a tie for 8th place, and cannot finish last because there are two teams with 36 points (my team has 42 points) at the bottom. At the top, Team 13 will win the league championship outright by avoiding being swept by “Lounge Lizards,” who can only hope for a tie for 1st.

Friday notes:

  • I was watching some of my friends bowl tonight, one of them being Jay Sherwood, who now works in the pro shop. Jay told me that there was a ball damage problem on the pair my team was on in league this week that came to a head in the Thursday morning senior league. This prompted me to check my new Fast for lane damage, and there were, indeed, a couple of small chips that had been taken out of the ball, though none of them were in my track area. Still, I may want to get the damage repaired, and I might be able to have Ray do it for free if I mention that it happened on the problem pair.
  • The list of leagues for the fall/winter season are also now out, and there’s a new one on the schedule…after asking around, I learned that the Friday night singles league that had been running at Boston Bowl would be moving to Westgate Lanes. John Hayes, Jr., whom I also saw tonight, told me he had been that league’s secretary and that it was a very good league. With that in mind, I look forward to following the “new” league online.

Going “Fast” (includes July 28 league night recap)

I had hoped to have had it done so when I visited the pro shop on Tuesday, but I had to wait for Ray to do it tonight. Before league started, I had a Storm Fast drilled up. Normally, I’d link the manufacturer’s page about the ball, but since the Fast is being discontinued in favor of the 2Fast (to be released next month), Storm’s site took the page off. I’ll refer the reader to the BallReviews.com page on the ball if they want an idea of what the ball looks like (I couldn’t also find an image of the ball’s core).

This ball replaces the High Voltage in my bag, and with this ball, I told Ray I wanted length with decent back-end, as I thought my Hy-Road was burning up on the “new” house shot, especially when the shot became toast. We didn’t have time to measure the ball out after drilling it, but Ray told me he thought the drilling would end up 5″ X 4 3/4″, with the pin on the ball drilled out for the ring finger. I had had nothing but stacked drillings up until now, so I was nervous about trying something new. Because Ray was running late due to traffic, I warmed up and threw my first frame for score with the Hy-Road before putting the Fast into play for the very first time. The normal league night stuff follows:

My Week 10 bowling, frame-by-frame (Link to series on BowlSK)

As the reader can see on the BowlSK page, I threw a strike, and one that actually counted for something, on my very first shot with the Fast. I knew I’d spend most of the night moving until I could find an optimum line, but I ended up standing 33 and looking 12, much like I’ve been throwing my Hy-Road. The difference? The Fast holds its energy longer, so I have something left for the back-end. The bad second game I’ll chalk up to missing spares, but with a final game in the 230s (my high to date in this league) and a set over 580 (also my best this summer), I have to consider the night a resounding success.

Result: 190-158-234=582
Average (30 games): 174
Average for last 9 games: 179
Next week’s AVG+1 score: 539

As for the team, John supported my 190 with a 188 of his own to help us take the first game, but the third game was notable on a personal level because the 234 came opposite a 256 from Sean Richard, our opponents’ anchor, and, had I not had the good game opposite a quality opponent, we would not have won the third game’s points, let alone by enough to also take the points for total.

June 30 league night recap

My Week 6 bowling, frame-by-frame (Link to series on BowlSK)

Things actually seemed to start to come back together tonight, and, while I still seem to be plagued by the “one bad game” problem, I recovered late in tonight’s bad game to get close to average, and, more importantly, secure the points for my team. I even seem to have gotten my swing shot mojo back a bit late in the night, and this can only be a good sign.

I also seem to have solved a problem I’ve been having with my Robbie’s Revs wrist device of having the strap securement pop out of the slot (it’s hard for me to describe exactly what’s been happening without knowing the proper names for the parts) when I noticed I may have been wearing the device too high on my hand. Bringing the hinge more in line with my wrist seems to have been the ticket.

Result: 195-165-191=551
Average (18 games): 170
Average for last 9 games: 174
Next week’s AVG+1 score: 514

I couldn’t have been happier that my team took all the points on the anniversary of my return to bowling, and, while everyone contributed in their own way, Eileen deserves special mention because she had a personal best game (176) and series (446) tonight, even getting a hambone in her 176 first game.

The payoff

My brother and I had our first bowling outing of the new year today, which I used to try out some things on the new house shot. What made today’s outing particularly satisfying, however, was something that happened in the 2nd frame of our last game. I left a 6-7 in the frame, after which my brother said, “I’ll give you $20 if you make this.” I told him, “You’re on!”…and proceeded to convert the split, whereupon my brother dug a couple of ten-dollar bills out of his wallet to pay up. The extra cash came at a good time, as I wanted to take down the surface of my Hy-Road in preparation for the tournament tomorrow, and part of it will also pay for side pots tomorrow when I bowl.

The “house” shot

As Kegel’s notes on the “High Street” pattern indicate, it’s a 44′ pattern with 21.1 mL of total oil. The oil line, according to the notes, is very high (and the lane graph seems to confirm this), which, combined with the pattern length, gives a lot of hold area, so you can miss a little bit inside of target and still get it to the pocket. The inside-outside ratio of oil on the outside boards (2-5) is 11:1, which is the driest outside of all of the patterns in the Recreation series, which is why I seem to play the outside well with my Hy-Road if I watch my speed.

Still, some advice I’ve been given by my bowling chat friends is to play the hold area and take the Hy-Road’s surface down (to something like 1000-1200 grit sanded) to get better mid-lane read. This is probably going to be something I’ll ask Ray about next time I see him, but I’m making no changes to my ball for now. I really wish now that I had the spare cash for something that is dull out of the box, like Storm’s Virtual Gravity, which is 4000 Abralon out of the box.

Oct. 21 league night (includes standings update)

My Week 7 bowling, frame-by-frame (Link to BowlSK)

I’ll keep this brief: I think my reunion weekend caught up to me last night. However, I was also having problems getting my thumb out of the ball cleanly much of the night, particularly in the last game, so, after bowling, I took the Hy-Road to the pro shop to have a slug put in it (my High Voltage has one, and I always liked the way my thumb came out of that ball).

Result: 155-163-137=455
Average (21 games): 177
Average for last 9 games: 171
Next week’s AVG+1 score: 535

Team lost all 4, but neither team was having a good night, as all three games were close with both teams failing to break 1000 pins in any game, even with handicap. For my team, Eileen was having a decent night, but that was about it. The sweep dropped us to 8th place, with “4 MTD” gaining sole possession of first place by a point over a three-way tie for second. “The Dynasty,” a perennial powerhouse team in this league, await us next week.

Aug. 19 league night (final night of Wed. Summer Mixed)

As my Brunswick Command wrist device had given out during the tournament on Sunday, I had to stop in the pro shop before bowling to pick up a sturdier wrist device. Ray suggested a Robby’s Revs I and showed me how it could be adjusted. There wasn’t really time to practice with it before league, so I had to adjust it on the fly during warm-ups.

My Week 15 bowling, frame-by-frame (BowlSK)

I did figure out the wrist device enough by the time it counted to have a couple of games in the 200s. The third game was the letdown, however, the double I had in the 10th frame of that game was clutch, as it gave my team the game points, which turned out to be our only points of the night. I felt kind of bad that I was just about the only one on my team who “showed up,” but it should be said that “The Insiders” were also hot, with the killer coming fairly late in the second game, when all of their team members put up turkeys. “Shihoots” won their match, so we finished next-to-last.

Result: 204-202-152=558
Final average (45 games): 181 Last 9 games average: 182

At this point, I’ll congratulate “Country Bumpkins” (Mary Ann Peters, Andrew Dawson, Bill Hamelin, and Carl Nordstrom), as they won their match against “Phoenix Kings” to take the league title. 😀

The first road trip

The plan in the morning was to meet Sally Toppan and Debbie Dion at Westgate Lanes, get my gear loaded into Sally’s trunk, and leave at around 10:30. They were running a bit behind schedule, but we arrived at AMF Cranston Lanes with enough time to get a couple of warm-up games in. When I asked the desk clerk what shot was out there, I was informed that it was the Scorpion, the same shot they used last time The People’s Tournament was there.

During my two games of warm-up, I was first trying to play the track area (around the 10 board at the arrows), but thought later that I got a better look playing outside straight up 5. I informed my Facebook friends of this plan by a text message status update, but that plan was scotched when I started practice before the start of scoring for my squad. The BowlSK link below should show you what I ended up doing when it counted:

My 12:30 PM squad performance, frame-by-frame (BowlSK)

I didn’t think I did that badly for not only my first time in this house, but my first time on a PBA shot in any house. I learned that my key was to stay under the ball (which is usually the case on even the house shot at Westgate Lanes). However, it turned out it was easier said than done, as the back plate of my wrist brace gave out during the tournament. Having gone through two of those in one winter league and nearly two full summer leagues, I think it’s time to invest in something sturdier, and will talk to Ray about it next time I see him in the pro shop.

Although I missed the cut, I couldn’t head home until Sally and Debbie were finished, and they both cashed, with Sally making it into the second round of roll-offs. I told them on the ride home that I still enjoyed the experience, and was looking forward to doing it again.

Taking a Hy-Road

This title is not a misspelling…

Because of a change of weekend plans on my brother’s part (getting my food shopping done last night), I was able to head to the lanes (and pro shop) today to have my new bowling ball drilled. My choice is a Storm Hy-Road, the first ball with a hybrid reactive cover (hybrid meaning a mixture of solid {the more porous reactive material} and pearl {less porous, like my High Voltage}). It is supposed to be a very versatile ball, but I intend to use it on heavier oil. I hope it becomes a go-to ball for the house shot, but I also had the Monday night/People’s Tournament shot in mind when selecting the ball.

The ball was drilled with the same grip pattern as my High Voltage. The Hy-Road is laid out differently, however. My new PAP (5″ over, even) was taken into account, and I asked for a stacked leverage drilling, which is supposed to give me as much help in the oil as possible while still making the ball suitable for the house shot. What we got was a drilling of 3 3/8″ X 2 1/2″ (remember, the first figure is the pin-to-PAP distance, and the second figure is the center of gravity-to-PAP distance) with a weight hole on the axis. The key figure is the pin-to-PAP…this pin-to-PAP is supposed to maximize track flare, which means the width of the track bands is pretty wide, and, during my trial of the ball, Ray figured I got 4 1/2″ to 5″ of flare (the wider the flare, the more fresh ball surface makes contact with the lane by the time it hits the pins). To save a bit of money, I decided to try the ball without a thumb slug, and the ball does feel good enough that I won’t need a thumb slug unless I need to adjust my span and pitches for some reason.

I rolled three games with the new Hy-Road (including the free one I got from the pro shop) and I must say that I liked the ball reaction I got when I made a good shot. I ended up playing further inside (standing around the 25 board) than I do with my High Voltage. However, the last game, I was fooling around playing inside of 25, and found that I still need to learn how to play in the oil (my target at the arrows has to move inside as I move inside on the approach, as well), and my score suffered. For scores, my first 2 games were in the 190s, with only a single open (a missed single 3 in the first game, and a big split in the second game) ruining those games. I intend to practice with the Hy-Road one more time before using it in league play for the first time.

Author’s note: This is a milestone post, as it is the 500th one I’ve made on this blog. Here’s to many more in the future. 😀

The learning curve

My Week 5 bowling (BowlSK)

I wanted to put what I learned about axis rotation the other day to work tonight, and I did get off to a slow start, but I slowly learned when to make the axis rotation adjustment, along with the other adjustments, and, by the third game, I felt I finally found the right combination of line, speed, and axis rotation, and had my best game so far this summer, a clean 218, as a result. My consistency on spares (except for a couple of missed single 5 pins) was there too; throwing my spare ball like I do my first ball is particularly helping me on my left corner pins (the 4 and 7), as I now have less of a tendency to jerk the shot and find the left gutter.

Result: 151-171-218=540
Average (15 games): 184 Last 9 games average: 178
Next week’s AVG+1 score: 561

The team had our first winning night of the summer, with everyone contributing in some form, but I wanted to mention Rob’s first game (a 206) as a key to winning that game, and Bonnie was steady all night, pitching in in the third game with a 181. As a plus, my cousin Karen and her husband Mark, both also bowlers, came up from Texas to visit, and I happened to notice that Mark was watching my shot in the 3rd frame of Game 2, so I had to remark to him, “Now that’s more like it!” (The strike in that frame came immediately after missing my second 5 pin of the night.)

Elsewhere in the league, we had a couple of flirtations with 300. In the second game, Bob Fosdick, my cousins’ teammate, ran off the first nine before leaving a single pin and whiffing. Sean Richard had a closer approach in the last game, with only a ringing 7 (as a lefty) forcing him to settle for a 299.

Coming soon: I decided to use most of my “Obama stimulus” on a new ball, so, after learning that Ray will be on vacation for a couple of weeks starting next week, I had him lay out one before league. I will post the details on the new ball when it is drilled next week, but I will say my PAP has changed since I changed my release back in February.

Another outing

My brother had some time after we got my food shopping done today, so we once again hit the lanes for a few games before lunch. I was just in the 170s and 180s, while my brother had a first game in the 140s before falling off. The pro shop opened up while we were bowling, and I felt it was time, so I brought the High-Voltage in there for oil removal, and I will pick the ball up on Wednesday night before league.

During lunch, I told my brother I felt ready to make the move up to a mid-performance ball, so I will likely be getting a new ball once my stimulus payment is firmly in my main account. I’m looking for a ball with a stronger core and possibly a hybrid coverstock if one is in the mid-performance range (hybrid means a combination of solid and pearl reactive material), for the reason that I’ll be using it mainly on the house shot, but I also want a ball that is decent on the Coke Classic League shot for tournaments.

New acquisitions

I had to wait quite a while for the pro shop to open, and when it did, it was just Brian Frank in the shop and not Ray, as I had hoped. Nevertheless, I purchased two items: a new USA Bowling Pro Shops shirt, which I plan on having embroidered with my name on the back at a local shop tomorrow (expect photos when this work is done), and a KR Strikeforce two-ball tournament tote. I purchased the latter item because I recently joined the Boston Bowling Meetup Group, which meets for tenpins about every other month at Lanes and Games in Cambridge. I see this as a chance to expand my horizons and bowl in a different house and on different conditions than I’m used to. The next tenpin meet is next month, and I hope to be able to join them for that.

Equipment failure

It was a pretty normal practice today (though with me scoring a bit under my league average), but, after I finished bowling, I discovered that the back support of my wrist device (the Brunswick Command) had snapped in half, so I’ll have to get a new one when I next visit the pro shop (probably Wednesday night before my league).

As I’m the only person willing to do it, Bev gave me the task of keeping the PBA Tour schedule poster on the side wall of the control desk updated with the winners, with my duty today to get the poster caught up (easy, as I had remembered all of the winners). I noticed a couple of errors on the poster, however: 1) there’s a space for a Women’s Series winner for the Ultimate Scoring Championship when the space is really supposed to be for the Chameleon Championship; 2) there’s also space for a Women’s Series winner for the National Bowling Stadium Championship, but there will be no Women’s Series event at that stop.