Dave Gildea is laughing all the way to the bank as Sam replicated his last performance against Strike You in our bowling finals. I’m kidding…not. Was it Sam’s fault we lost? No. It was Evan’s. Am I throwing blame around unnecessarily. Yes. The bottom line is we win as a team and lose as a team.

I’ll elaborate further on the game last night before you get sucked into the minutiae in a post I wrote prior to the finals below. We showed up bringing about 20 spectators and the other team had 0. The final game was being played for the difference of $100 dollars which was news to me. Essentially the regular season standings is where all the money lied. So what I conjured up as a big game, was essentially for who wins the league. Either way, we still wanted to win.

We started off lackluster, but held them off until about the 8th frame. In crunch time they rolled strikes, we rolled opens and spares. I rolled a 255 leaving the 5th frame open with a shot I should have hit, and then didn’t double in the 10th but all else were strikes. Evan was leaving splits and missing pins and Sam’s ball didn’t have the power through the pins. My opinion is that the ball was spent. It was a combination of the ball being rolled to death, being chipped, and Sam knowing this. We needed Sam to show up big in this game and the timing of the deteriorating ball threw off his stride. Weens didn’t have a drink during the games and rolled sharper than he’s been rolling. I still think he has more room for improvement in the mental game, but he took it seriously when it counted and rolled well.

The 2nd game was over by the 5th frame. Weens and I started with turkeys and then I missed a fucking 3,6,10 which I’ve been missing lately. Once Weens and I extinguished our strike run, the other team kept firing. They didn’t have an open from the 2nd frame to about the 7th, and we were toast. 2nd place are the first losers.

It was a good season and this league will keep getting more competitive. We made some headway in our games. I can safely say that I’ll be over a 200 average with my new ball for a full season. I almost nailed my first 700 series in competitive play with a 698 in the playoffs. I’d bet I’ve been practicing more than anyone in the entire league and I’m not exactly sure when I’ll move on to a new activity, but for now I still have about 10 to 15 more pins of improvement. Sam will benefit from a new ball the same way I did. I’m sure you’re reading this so get a 15 lb ball and make sure it’s an upgrade in the hook department from what your using. I moved a clear 5 boards left with my new ball and it’s all in the hook. The spares will take about 2 months to get comfortable, but the change has to be made. If you go to Pavlinko’s tonight, give me a call and I’ll go with you. Evan and I agreed that his ceiling is capped with a shot that isn’t hooking. Considering a two finger shot or another adjustment should be looked at. Jordan is easily the toughest bowler to break down as the more I say, the worse he does. My thought would be to make sure every ball stays to the right. Jersey strikes are failures. If you want to get more consistent, you make sure every ball stays right.

Onto a post that I wanted to release at the start of the playoffs but figured it would do more damage than good.

What I Learned From Being Captain

Our bowling team is entering the playoffs after an absurdly long 31 week regular season. In mismanaged taste, the commissioner’s decided to merge two seasons of bowling to, in my opinion, keep more teams paying money for longer. Here is how our league finalized right before playoffs. We are Snaking Back Monday.

This is our 3rd season in the league. Our first league game started on 1/18/2016 and our team average was 658 at the end of the season. Our 2nd season raised our average to 731. This season our last 10 games have seen us roll a 751 team average (Getting the total would take to long as it averages Jeff in there for the 12 games he played). Here are our averages after each season to date:

Bowler Season 1 Season 2 Season 3
Evan 161 175 174
Sam 181 181 187
Jordan 175 182 182
TC 184 193 194

Being the highest average and anchor, I’ve elected myself captain of the team. As much as our team is a democracy, at some point there has to be someone to make decisions. Making these decisions doesn’t always lead to happy campers but I’ve learned a lot from spending so much time with the same group in a team environment. Here are some of the situations that I took away some knowledge.

The Spirit – Easily the hardest part of a functioning bowling team. Bowling is a team game at heart, but the core is the individual performance. We all want to bowl a 300 but when you throw a pocket 7-10 in the first frame, it’s not simple to pick yourself up and come back strong. Each person on our team reacts differently to the ups and downs. Jordan is the best example of saying “blind me out” in one game and then coming back to roll a 276 the next. Once you’ve been doing it a while, and this is why we are better than we were, you move past the downs and keep doing what you’ve done thousands of times before.

The Pre Bowl 300 – This was easily the most cumbersome decision of the season. Both Cohen’s are Jewish and missed the same week for a Seder. In our league bowlers are allowed to pre bowl. We have a sub on our team so that we can avoid pre-bowling. I’m very anti-prebowling for various reasons that you can ask me later if you really care, but it’s not a fair substitute. Anyway, I would say that the Cohen’s would be incapable of making a decision that allowed one of them to pre-bowl and the other to sit out for the week. I couldn’t make this decision without one of them holding it against me. In order to keep the balance of the team, I said it was fine to pre bowl even though I knew having one of them pre-bowl and Jeff to sub was more appropriate. In my worst nightmare, Jordan rolled a 300 and a series high that is still the entire league high after 31 weeks of data. The great part about this happening is that it could never get worse. As I look back it wasn’t as big of a deal as it felt at the time, but still an odd ball everything.

The “Anchor” –  After Jordan’s big week, he started bowling better. After 26 straight weeks of being between 175 and 177, Jordan rolled that huge week and followed it up with 1 one more week of a 636 series. The following week he rolled a 201, 201, and was clean into the 5th and he made the comment “so, if I keep rolling this well, when do I get to be anchor?” Knowing that Jordan is a little green with regards to competition, I didn’t take to keenly to this thought and replied with, “that’s such a little boy comment.” Well what happened next was fairly funny as Jordan went open the next 5 frames and finished with a 148. Looking back at that spot, this wasn’t a captain’s comment. I should be doing what’s best for the team at that time and rather than brush it off, I crushed his spirit and Evan and I both knew it immediately after I said it.

Moving – The biggest adjustment to maintaining a high average is moving with the lane. Early on I didn’t pay much attention to where I was starting or playing on the lane. What difference did it make? I never threw the same ball anyway. At this point of bowling, moving spots until you start to land is a huge factor and what separates the best from the rest. I’ve learned to make board adjustments. The common thought is “miss left, move left.” If you notice 1 ball missing, you don’t need to adjust. Once it happens twice, you need to move.

The Ball Change – After rolling a 270 and 279 in consecutive weeks, the highest of my career, I switched to a new ball a month after. Without a doubt, my scores took an initial hit but it was a long term move. Not being scared to experiment is a key to bowling. *I wrote this post prior to rolling a 290 which should add to the effectiveness of equipment.

So that’s my 1,500 word write up about bowling. I’m pretty sure only a few made it this far but I’m sure those that did appreciate my thoughts. Sadly, I don’t think any real reward will come from bowling as much as I do but I do find it fun. I like the competition. I like trying to improve. I like drinking and bowling. I like the people. I would even consider running a bowling alley because it’s something would actually like doing. Hi-Spots is being sold. Investors? Possibly you!