Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bowling Week in Review--May 2-May 8, 2010

~ On my Bowling Quote of the Day for May 3, I quoted renowned bowling coach Fred Borden on the importance of moving fast enough on the approach and through the armswing to generate sufficient ball speed to hit the pins with more energy and better carry. I think many of us are too slow and deliberate with our games, and this results in our throwing the ball too slowly to be as effective as we could be, or we mistakenly try to increase our ball speed by forcing it with our upper body.

I think I've tended to throw the ball too slowly over the years (click here to see a fairly recent video of me throwing the ball slowly, even though I did get a strike). So I mentioned that I've recently upped the tempo of my approach and armswing and have been pleased with the effortlessly extra speed and better carry it's created. I tried it out in league this week and got good results and even threw 22 strikes in a row in practice after league as I alternated lanes. That's encouraging. Now if I can also work with a coach to successfully increase my revs and alter my axis tilt and all that fancy stuff, it should dramatically improve my scoring on a variety of lane conditions.

~ When I was growing up, I kept seeing the name Elvin Mesger as the guy with the most sanctioned 300 games. He was THE 300 god to me back then. When you're a kid who loves to bowl, you really look up to records and to the people who set them. But I never knew what Mr. Mesger looked like until this week when I saw his photo on Dr. Jake's Bowling History Blog. Now I know. He looked like a serious bowler who could get the job done.

~ As you may know, the Women's U.S. Open is now taking place in Ft. Worth Texas and the finals will be televised live next Wednesday on ESPN2 at 9 PM EDT. It should come as no surprise that Kelly Kulick leads the tournament after the first 8-game round.

What may surprise if not shock you if you haven't been reading my blog or bowling news from somewhere or other is that the USBC recently announced that they won't be sponsoring the Women's Open in 2011 due to a budget shortage. That's right, they say they can't afford to give the women their due. So, unless another sponsor steps up to the plate, the Women's Open is on indefinite "hiatus." I don't know about you, but I think this is a travesty.

I agree with Bowlers Journal International writer Dick Evans that the BPAA (Bowling Proprietors Association of America) should do it if no one else will. They apparently did it before, and they could do it again if they really care about women's bowling in particular and bowling in general in the good ole USofA.

~ Did you read Mike J. Laneside's piece To Hambone or not to Hambone on this week? When you read the comments there and elsewhere, you discover that some people are absolutely rabid haters of the "hambone" and of its originator, ESPN's bowling announcer Rob Stone. Here is what one particularly disgruntled guy named Dave said about the hambone and Rob Stone:
"If you use "HAMBONE", you should be fed a milkbone. Don't sink to the level of that no-nothing Stone. Also, don't drag bowling down into the sewer that he has taken it to during the regular season. I have never before been this uninterested in watching a telecast of the best in the world at a game that I have played for 44 years. Rob Stone is the biggest joke and disappointment in the history of the PBA. He should be thrown aside and forgotten after turning a great thing like the PBA into one of the biggest running jokes that we have in our bowling league. It used to be "Did you see Pete?" or "What a finish in the finals this week." Now it is "Did you hear what the moron said on Sunday?" Don't sink to his level. Put on the great show we deserve. Who knows, maybe you can be a permanant replacement. He would never be missed!"

Do you agree? Or do you think this is all "much ado about nothing"?

~ People continue to debate whether Chris Barnes is a great bowler. I think Thomas Scherrer does an excellent job of addressing the issue (don't be deterred by the "Adult Content Warning" page that comes up first when you click on the link) in his This is Bowling Philosophy blog. He systematically lays out 5 criteria for bowling greatness and opines that Barnes unequivocally meets one of them and is likely to meet some or all of the others before his career is over. I agree. How about you?

~ I quoted Mika Koivuniemi saying that he moved to the U.S.A. when he decided that, despite his many tournament victories, he wasn't winning enough money in Europe. However, the way things are going, it looks like the men and women from the USA will soon need to move to Europe, Asia, or the Middle East to earn even half way decent money from tournaments. Yet, if Mika came here because he wasn't earning enough in Europe, and, pretty soon, there won't be any more professional tournaments here for either men or women, will this spell the end of high-level professional bowling everywhere?

~ Back when bowling apparently got more respect than it does today, they even had heavyweight boxing champ Rocky Marciano plugging Ebonite ball fitting equipment. Could you imagine a boxing or any other sport's champ doing that today? If you asked them too, they'd probably laugh in your face. How sad!

~ One nice feature of is its live streaming coverage of the USBC Open in Reno, and one of the highlights of that coverage this week was its airing of Mike Lichstein bowling doubles with his dad Larry Lichstein, and Pete Couture bowling doubles with John Janawicz. They were all on the same pair, and Ricky Ward was bowling on the pair to their right. As I pointed out in my blogpost, Mike Lichstein has one of the most unusual styles I've ever seen. And what I didn't point out then but have discovered since then is that his style has changed since he bowled on TV during his younger years. Check out this video and this one (that also includes a very young Patrick Allen) from two of those early TV appearances. But what watching guys like Wayne Garber and Mike Lichstein tells ME is that you can move to the line in some of the strangest ways imaginable and still get the job done if you know what you're doing and can repeat shots.

~ When it was announced that Walter Ray Williams Jr. would be bowling his first PBA Senior event last week, everybody was saying he'd waltz right through the field to the championship. After all, he'd topped all the major statistical categories and won Player of the Year on the regular tour. How could he not dominate any Senior event he entered with competition that couldn't come anywhere close to his level on the regular tour?

Yet, it seemed to me that in a single elimination match play format on higher scoring conditions against guys who, though they may be 50+ years old can still bowl, even Walter Ray was no shoo-in for a title. And when he finished in 11th place going in to match play, it looked as though I might be right, and I began to tone down my expectations for him.

I needn't have bothered. He proceeded to dominate match play with a perfect 10-0 record and average over 260 on his way to his first Senior title in his first Senior event. Yes, he got a few breaks and his opponents might have fared better had they gotten more breaks or had better carry in crucial situations. Nevertheless, if you watched then or watch now on PBA Xtra Frame, you saw or will see Walter bowl great under what must have been tremendous pressure to meet the lofty expectations people had for him. The man is an absolute bowling marvel!

Now he's bowling a PBA Regional event in Canton, Georgia that will be carried by PBA Xtra Frame tomorrow (Sunday).

When I heard he was headed for the tournament in Georgia, I commented on that he was like the Terminator headed to another destination to "decimate" his enemies. Someone else asked if NORAD was tracking him. He DOES seem kind of like an unstoppable force right now. You know he's coming, but you can't do anything about it if you're his competition. Can he win "simultaneous Player of the Year" honors?

~ If, like me, you're impressed enough with the two-handed bowling style to try it yourself or, at least, to help others learn it, Joe Slowinski, the "Mr. Spock" of bowling coaches, has an article that dissects the style with patented Slowinskian meticulousness. Enjoy.

And that's all for this week's Bowling Week in Review. The next installment should appear next Saturday. Take care, and great bowling.

No comments:

Post a Comment