Wristful of dollars

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Miss me?

Now that my unplanned and uneventful absence from posting is over (conveniently on a Friday, so I don’t have to do more than one this week), it’s time for more random ruminations reminding readers regarding reconsidering renewing reading Ramblings.

Yeah, that had nothing to with anything, I just felt like babbling a bit. So. Onward.

Just before Halloween last year, I joined a bowling league for the first time in probably 20 years. Though I had on-and-off bowled (infrequently) since then, this would be my first regular stint of bowling in decades.

And then I promptly went out and ruined my wrist setting up for Halloween. If you don’t remember, here’s a reminder.

There have been a few conditions causing me grief during the last three months of league, but foremost among them is my crummy bowling.

Let’s set the record straight up front, I’m not a great bowler. But I used to be serviceable. I could at least help the team.

Granted, this team is more about socializing than competition, but I like to pull my weight, not bowl my weight (I’m doing great on the latter, now almost down to my target weight of 150).

In the “old” days, I carried about a 180 average. Decent, if not particularly newsworthy. Of course, in “those” days, I bowled with my friend in a men’s league and those guys were serious (for serious money).

I’m still bowling with my friend (and his wife and his wife’s mom), but neither of us is even a shadow of our former competitive selves. We’re older, fatter and weaker.

The first and last components are the keys to my problems, or so I have determined.

I’ve only managed to carve out a 160 average after 10 weeks. That’s high on the team but not on my competitive scale. Even that would be satisfactory if it wasn’t obtained by throwing a game in the 120’s, 140’s and 190’s. Consistency was eluding me.

Beyond my old bowling ball (a matte finish Hammer) being 15 lbs., I can’t get it to hook at all. Spares on the right side, usually a given for me (lefty), I can’t even get close to. Frustrating and finally motivating.

I spent some time with the local pro and he informed me of the changes in oil over the years and how the old school balls just won’t react in that soup.

Sure, I know, you’re all thinking he just wanted to make a sale, but I had 10 weeks of living proof of the effect.

After much discussion, we came to the conclusion that an Ebonite Cyclone ball fit my mid-to-low level game. I went home, did some internet research and confirmed the decision.

Many dollars later (after drilling and fingertip plugs) I gave the now lighter (14 lbs.) ball a couple of test games. Heh.

The first game, I couldn’t stop hurling the ball halfway down the lane. It felt so light compared to my blue behemoth that I couldn’t believe it was only a pound less.

I was finally getting a handle on the ball when the pro came out to watch. We were both pleased that the finger grips were the right size and that I had a clean mark to throw at on the lane, but he mentioned I was “over-cranking” the ball.

I realized this was a leftover from trying to get the old blue behemoth to hook on the current lanes. It took some mental might to slow down and simply release the ball.

My first game with the new ball was a mixed bag of results, yielding a 137. The next game was a remarkable clean game, a 208, but it included getting two of the dreaded 7 pins (think 10 pin, if you’re a righty) and picking up an odd 6-8 split (so odd, I couldn’t find an image on the internet…here are the pin alignments for you non-bowlers).

I went out the next day (yesterday) to practice again (I don’t want my team to suffer for my lack of familiarity). The scores were modest, 160-180, but the consistency was more pleasing.

The punchline is that my wrist felt fine afterwards. Well, not fine, it still hurts from the slow healing of old age (it was a severe injury), but the wrist was not further damaged from bowling.

That’s a better way to spend a wristful of dollars than on an orthopedic procedure.

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