Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bowling League Secretary Displays False Scores

When I subbed in league earlier this week, a longtime acquaintance showed me a Lancaster, Pennsylvania league sheet he downloaded from League Secretary, the website that provides league and individual stats for bowling leagues nationwide. I was amazed by the averages I saw. One guy was averaging 268 for 21 games. Another was averaging 263 for 26 games. And there was plenty more where that came from.

However, these soaring averages, as spectacular as they were, were probably the least impressive thing on display. What shocked me even more were the prodigiously high series and game scores plastered across the sheet. Two guys had already bowled perfect 900 series, fifteen had bowled at least one 300 game, thirteen had bowled at least one 800 series, and the previous week's high scratch series was a paltry 878.

But, wait, it gets better! I also looked at the 268 average guy's individual season stats. In just seven weeks and 21 games of bowling, he had rolled eight 300 games. On week seven, he shot 280-300-300 for an 880 series. But that was just a warm up for his next outing, where he shot 300-300-300 for a 900 series. That's an 880 series, a 900 series, and five consecutive 300 games over two consecutive league sessions.

My first thought when looking at all of this should have been that it's impossible, that even if the top bowlers in the world were bowling league on those conditions, however easy they might be, they couldn't carry well enough to shoot scores like that. But these scores were in League Secretary, so I thought they must be legitimate, and my overriding thought was that I'd sure love to bowl a few games on those lane conditions just to see what I could do. I then proceeded to e-mail bowling friends of mine links to the League Secretary stats for this league and sit back and wait for an electronic avalanche of awed incredulity.

Instead, I got a phone call from one of those friends--Bob Brown. Bob, who incidentally shot an officially acknowledged 900 series in a tournament back in 1980, was so nonplussed by the scores that he called the bowling center supposedly hosting this incredible league and found out what was really going on. And now I know. These were scores from some kind of "bowling shuffleboard" league in which, as I understand it, players slide hockey-like pucks down a smooth table faintly resembling a mini-mini bowling lane and "knock down" electronic pins.

What I don't know is why these scores appear in League Secretary as real bowling league scores, with the 878 series listed as the top league score of the week nationwide. What's more, I wonder how many other leagues and scores appearing there may be bogus as well. It seems as though League Secretary needs to exercise a little quality control. Or is that their responsibility?

Well, at least the USBC hasn't been suckered. The guys who shot these stupefying scores aren't even listed in the member database. It seems as though these guys do only one kind of league "bowling," and it ain't what most of us call bowling.