I haven’t talked about bowling at all this season… not sure why that is. Possibly because I was struggling for the 1st half of the year. However, even with struggles, my team won the 1st half and is guaranteed a spot in the playoffs and that all important playoff $$$. I finished the 1st half of the season at a paltry 216.4, with only 5 250+ games and 14 sub 200 games… including 2 sub 160 (I had 0 sub 170 games all last season, across 200+ games). And if you throw out the final week of the 1st half, my ave was only 215.3.
For whatever reason, I appear to be a 2nd half bowler. Over the last 16 weeks of last season, I averaged 230.2. And I’m already on that path this season… in the past 9 games (since dropping to 215.3), I’m averaging 240.9; let’s hope that keeps up (4 250+ games, 0 sub 200).
I also just purchased 2 new balls, although haven’t thrown either yet. They’re going to be mostly for tournaments… 1 for extreme wet conditions and 1 for overly dry conditions. I’m looking forward to using them.
I’ve also been coaching bowling. I volunteered with my high school’s bowling team, since the coach doesn’t know anything about bowling. The season is half over and the boys are 5-23, girls are 13-15. The girls are doing amazingly well and 5 wins for the boys is more than I thought they’d get… so I’m happy all around. Plus, the kids are showing some improvement already.
Recently, I’ve been participating in the ABT (Amateur Bowling Tour). I’m a member of the Philadelphia chapter, and they host 1-2 tournaments a week at various alleys throughout the Philly Tri-State area (South Jersey, Philly, and Delaware). Generally, I only go to the ones in Pennsylvania, as the NJ and DE ones are an hour or more away. I’d say I’ve participated in 5-6 in the past year, with most of those being in the past 3 months.
A few months ago, I finished 5th in a tournament. Last week, I was 1 pin away from qualifying for the finals. This week’s tournament was in Delaware, but my father and I went down to it anyway because it was a “major”. The ABTs normal tournaments generally give $1000 for 1st place; the majors are either $5000 or $10,000. And the normal tournaments draw 50-70 people, this weekend’s had a little over 400.
The tournaments are broken down into 2 divisions; Classic and Masters. Classic is an open division, for anyone with a 189 or lower average. Masters is for 190+. The 2 divisions qualify separately, have separate semi-finals, and separate finals. The only time they compete against each other is for the overall tournament championship; masters winner vs classic winner. I’m in Masters, while roughly 60% of all entrants are Classic.
It’s hard to describe the shot that was laid out for this weekend’s tournament. It was even across the lanes, and seemed to break down very quickly; the play changed drastically between qualifying and the finals. Overall, it was very dry on the back-end, giving a very quick snap, while the front of the lane was quite wet. The result was that your ball would move, but you had to put it in a good spot, or you’d be in trouble. Too far outside, it wouldn’t recover and you’d leave a wash out… too far inside, and you’d go through the nose or cross over.
It cost me $75 to enter the tournament, another $33 for sidepots (high game, clean set, strike pot, and bonus bucks), $25 for scratch pot, and I entered 8 brackets ($40). I thought I was in trouble at the start; I was playing a straight-up inside line, and was having a lot of trouble keeping it consistent. Compound that with 2 pocket 7-pin hits following stikes and 2 chops of spares… I was sure I was done after 1 game. Pulled out a double in the 10th to finished with a 170 scratch (192 with handicap, good for a -8). The second game wasn’t looking much better, as I was all over the place… but I managed 4 straight 9-spares to start the game. Then I decided to make a drastic move; instead of playing straight-up 10, I moved left to 5 and dropped my ball speed a bit. First ball I threw was a pocket 7-10. But then things changed and I finished the game with 6 in a row and another pocket 7-10, good for a 231 scratch (+53 for the game)… which was the highest score for anyone that game, getting me $70 in the high game pot and securing me births in the finals of any bracket I was still alive in (I didn’t think there would be many, given my crappy 1st game). The 3rd game was up and down, with a double followed by a 6-out followed by a turkey; finished with a 203 (+25). Overall, 604 scratch and +70. Turns out this was good enough to qualify me 4th out of 31 who made it in my division, and 6th place for scratch ($140). I managed to survive the 1st game in 4 of my 8 brackets, and won all 4, for another $100.
Next up was the semi-finals. I put in another $6 for high game pots and entered 10 more brackets ($50). Total money I put up: $229. I played the same line throughout the semis, starting off strongly in-spite of a few splits (double-split-5 in a row-split). 217 final score (+39). The 2nd game was a disaster; I couldn’t do anything right on the left lane, hitting the head pin only once in 5 frames. I fought back, with another double in the 10th, for a paltry 166 (-12 for the game, +27 through 2). The top 8 out of 31 would make the finals and the cut through 2 games was announced at +29. I buckled down in the 3rd game, re-focusing, and shot a very consistent 216 (599 scratch series, +65). It was then a waiting game to see whether that would be good enough to qualify for the finals. After what had to have been at least a half hour, it was announced that the Masters cut was +29 and my +65 was good for 3rd. I survived 8/10 brackets through game 1, but my awful game 2 left me with only 1 in the finals, which I won for $25.
The format for the finals was a bracket. 8 people drew random numbers for lane assignments, then played 1 vs 1 with the winners moving on. I got lucky and drew against the guy who qualified 8th. We both struggled on a pair of lanes that were much drier than we were used to, and I eeked out a victory 184 to 168 scratch (I was only giving him 2 pins of handicap). We then re-drew lane assignments and I was slotted against the lone woman in Masters, who had shot a 217 in her 1st round match. Luckily for me, we were back on a pair of lanes that wasn’t super dry, and I had my best game of the day. I started off with a turkey, then alternated 7-pin spare / strike for the rest of the game, with every ball buried… just getting no carry on the left lane. She struggled and I won 217 to 165 (with me giving her 1 pin of handicap). With that, I was off to the finals of the Masters division. And I was lost all game. Couldn’t find a shot on the left lane, couldn’t keep the ball on the left side of the lane on the right lane… and my opponent had 5 in a row early. He coasted to beat me 223 to 164. I was given a check for $1000 for finishing tied for 3rd (1st place was $10,000, 2nd $3750).
It was an exhausting day, waking up at 8am. We reached the alley around 10, but didn’t start bowling until close to 1pm. My final game ended around 7pm. And I was starving, having eaten only a breakfast sandwich and donut from Dunkin’ Donuts and 1 bottle of water. I treated my father to dinner at a local Brazilian steakhouse then was home by 9:15, asleep by 10. Total earnings: $1335 for a profit of just over $1100 (about $1000 after dinner). Not bad for a single day… definitely makes my lifetime ABT revenue greater than my lifetime outlays. Next tournament I’ll enter is at my home lanes, Thunderbird Warminster, at the end of July.
So I have been pretty lazy when it comes to posting stuff here… will do my best to get back to posting more. Lot of stuff has been going on though!
I bought a house with Whorli (my girlfriend of almost 8 years now). This was about 3 weeks ago. It’s been pretty hectic trying to paint the new house, move everything out of the old house and into the new one, paint the old house and get it ready for the renters moving in (Whorli’s parents own our old house), etc etc. Still not done and we’ve been working on it for hours a day. Too many trips to Lowe’s and IKEA.
Bowling has been going fantastically. Tuesday night league is finally over… thank god. There is 1 more week left for Wednesday night, then the playoffs. Over the past 12 weeks of Wed bowling, I’ve averaged 231.00 and raised my book from 220.39 to 224.03. Yet, I somehow have a losing record in those 36 games (17.5 – 18.5). Of those 36 games, 6 have been under 200 and 5 have been over 265. I’m in 6th for average, but just 75 pins out of 3rd. I also shot back to back 700 series for the first time ever this past Tuesday and Wed (741 and 726). Will have a final bowling post for the season in 2 weeks.
Walkthrough business has been a bit slow recently, although it doesn’t seem to just be me. Most of the flash devs I talk to regularly feel that things are a bit down overall. I suspect it’ll pick up shortly, as the summer is just starting.
ThirdStyle is picking up, which is nice after 2-3 months of minimal development.
Been a while since I posted about bowling. Have been fairly consistent over the past few months. Averaging 219 across both leagues… 216 in 1, 222 in the other. Had a 786 with a 289 last week. I broke my performance down by month and by game, which is kind of interesting:
High game: 290, Low game: 170. 21 games of 250+, 34 games sub-200.
And, below the fold you can find my full series data for the entire year:
Just shot a 791. Best series ever.
1st game, 247: XXX 9- (left a weak 7-pin and then my foot slipped when i went to shoot the spare) X 9/ XXX XXX
2nd game, 290: 9/ (light mixer, all the pins shot to the right, none took out the 10-pin) XXXXXXXX XXX
3rd game, 254: XXXXXX 9/ (decent half-hit, messenger came across into the 7-pin but didn’t knock it down) 9/ (little too much hand, high hit, left 6-pin) 9/ (solid hit that was a bit flat, left a wobbling 5-pin) XX7
Needed either the 7th or 9th frame of the 3rd game to carry for an 800. Or not to have slipped on the 4th frame spare attempt of the 1st game… but who would have known I’d have had a shot at 800 at that point?
Overall, 17 strikes in a row between 2nd frame of 2nd game and 6th frame of 3rd game… that’s a record for me. 23 strikes in 24 throws is also a record (6 to end game 1, 10-pin in 1st frame of game 2, 17 in a row). I am pretty sad that I didn’t get my 1st 800, as I have no idea when I’ll ever have a night like tonight again… but I can’t be too upset with my best series ever. I got crazy good carry, although I was hitting high flush on almost all my shots… few half-hits that still easily carried out the 7-pin and a few high-hits that took out the 6 or 8 pin.
Had a pretty solid November, marred only by my 1st sub-600 on Wednesday night (2nd overall). Raised my Tues ave from 212.9 to 215.2, my Wed ave from 220 to 221, and overall from 216.6 to 218.2. Had my 2nd 700 of the season and 2 other series of 695+. And, my best night might have been my 630 from this past Tuesday, where I finished with 15 strikes, 14 7-pins, and 1 open… sooo many balls in the pocket, just couldn’t get any carry.
I think this will become a regular month-end piece. You probably don’t care… but, well, I don’t care that you don’t care. Anyway, I’m still subbing in my dad’s league on Tuesday nights and bowling my league on Wednesdays.
Last night was the 1st quarter playoffs, and we started out tied for 2nd place, 5.5 games behind the #1 team. We needed to win at least 11.5 games (out of 17). My team only bowled average, but we somehow won 16 points and took home the round. The 1st place team rolled over for us. This guarantees us a spot in the year-end playoffs and gets us some extra cash (the league is weird in that money is paid out based on position finished during each quarter, and then a bonus to each team in the playoffs based on final position).
At the end of September, I noted that I wanted to go the whole year without throwing under 600. Alas, as soon as I wrote that, I shot under. But, every other series this month was over 630, including my first 700 of the season. Dropped about 1.5 points on Tuesday, but gained almost 4 points on Wednesday. Overall average: 216.67.
I’m trying to understand why I’m 7+ pins different between the 2 leagues. Probably just variance.