Bowling for nothing


Well, I’m back in a bowling league. Far from dollars, we generally get nothing at the end of the season. Here’s why.

My team is composed of five people: my married friends, her mom and his buddy. Between all of us, we have one former excellent bowler, one fair bowler and three meh bowlers.

But that’s what handicaps are for. Meh is compensated by free pins, to try to make it more competitive between us (bad bowlers) and the rest of the league (good to ridiculously good bowlers).

This is the first year we’ve been in this league. Our last league was more to our skill level. Because my friend’s wife didn’t want to bowl Fridays anymore (she is retired now and wants to go out on Fridays), we shifted to Tuesday.

My friend’s husband used to be a competitive level bowler. Even 15 years ago, when we were bowling in a men’s league together, he was still an “anchor” bowler (the person at the end who can, presumably, summon up the big frame in the ninth or tenth when needed).

Years of sedentary home life and a progressive back injury have hobbled him to the point where he just can’t get his big hook ball out far enough on the lane to consistently hit the pocket. He then chose to unwisely shift me to the anchor position.

About the only thing that qualifies me for that position is that I don’t have a back injury and no one else wants it. At my “peak”, I was only around a 180 bowler.

Not that it matters in this league. Not that handicap matters in this league. Let me explain.

The league has a generous level for handicap to be calculated off of – 220. For you non-league bowlers, that means that everyone bowling gets “bonus pins” to the effect that everyone is effectively bowling a 220 every game.

This works if you bowl your average. This gives you a benefit if you bowl above your average. Most bad bowlers have trouble with the first, let alone the second. Inconsistency is what is most consistent among bad bowlers.

For example, I bowled three games this week – 185, 168 and 152. My average is 159. That means I did great in one game, okay in another and not so great in the third. For the night, I beat average by a little. And I’m the anchor bowler, the supposed “best” bowler on the team.

Let me give you another example. Last week, we bowled a team that in one of the games, their bowlers finished with 194, 242, 247, 219 and 227. We did not beat them. In case you were wondering.

In fact, we don’t beat many teams in the league. But we have fun. At least among ourselves. Another issue we have with this league is that the teams are very serious. About bowling. About dollars.

I mean, jeez, yeah, everybody wants to win, but can’t bowling be about having fun, too? Is it too much to expect you join a bowling league because you…eh…enjoy bowling? Or is it all about the dollars. As soon as the game starts the fun has to stop?

Meh. I’m not interested in that. Sure, I like dollars as much as anyone, but if I have to sacrifice a good time, then I’d just as well prefer to be bowling for nothing.

2 Responses to “Bowling for nothing”

    • JMD

      While I’m no whippersnapper any longer, I can still pull out the full 360 degree delivery once in a while. It’s freakish how many of those turn out to be strikes. If I thought my body (and balance) could handle it, I’d try it more than once a game!


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