Legends: A Feverish Performance

“By all means, I was set up to fail that day,” Scott McMullin of Pacifica, CA said of a Sunday in January, 2009. “I didn’t get any sleep the previous night, I was hallucinating, my nose was running constantly, I was coughing up a storm, I had a 104.5 degree fever, I had no medication and I ate barely any breakfast.”

This is the ball Scott McMullin won the Yuba City tournament with. As you can see, the thumb hole is packed with tape.

This is the ball McMullin won the Yuba City tournament with. As you can see, the thumb hole is packed with tape. Photo courtesy of Scott McMullin.

On top of all that, McMullin was using a plastic spare ball for his strike shots, a ball that was designed to go straight and wasn’t even fitted to him. The ball was nearly a pound heavier than he was used to throwing, the thumb hole was filled all around with five pieces of tape, and his fingers slid into the finger holes halfway between the first and second knuckles. The story of this spare ball goes back to the summer of 2008, when McMullin was competing at the Junior Gold Championship tournament in Detroit, MI.

“I threw a Columbia White Dot at a 10 pin in Detroit,” McMullin said. “I picked it up clean, but then you could hear a really loud grinding sound coming from behind the pin deck. Continue reading

Opinion: Bowling needs to be more serious

I was watching the PBA World Series of Bowling: Chameleon Championship this afternoon, and I said to my dad, “You know, I don’t know exactly why, but watching the pro bowling telecasts isn’t exciting to me anymore.”

We talked about why this was the case over dinner, and there were two main issues we came up with. The first one I brought up, and that was the commentating needs to be more informative. For example, a graphic always comes up listing the three bowling balls players brought with them (although I seriously doubt that’s all they have), and next to the ball names is a number, representing the ball’s hook rating. The problem is we don’t know what the difference between a 9.0, a 9.5, and a 10.0 hook rating is. Each one of the bowlers has different bowling balls they are using, yet they all have the same hook ratings, between a 7.5 and a 10. That’s confusing. If I were a person not familiar with the bowling world, I would be wondering Continue reading

Opinion: Blue dye alone is not enough

In an article written by Jeff Richgels of the11thFrame.com, Richgels quoted PBA Commissioner Tom Clark, “Throughout its history, it has been difficult to describe the challenges players face in our sport. How oil is applied to the lane, and how it transitions as competition progresses, is something no one is able to see with the naked eye, and those are critical variables in scoring and player strategy.” The PBA is hoping the blue oil makes the average person be interested in bowling because now that they can see how difficult and different the oil patterns are.

Well, having watched yesterday’s Viper Championship on TV, I believe, currently, the blue oil is not accomplishing the goal the PBA intended for it to achieve. Continue reading

Competition notes

Last Sunday, me and four other friends bowled in a swiss-style tournament up in Dublin, CA at Earl Anthony’s Dublin Bowl. What swiss means is every game is head-to-head against the other team, who generally has the same record as you. If you win, you get a point and the team with the most points after eight games wins the tournament, with total pins determining any ties.

The tournament was run very well. It started on time, and the wait between games was very minimal. We experienced no break-downs with our lanes, so the staff made sure the alley was in tip-top shape prior to the tournament. That’s always very much appreciated, and should always be commended! Also, the oil pattern held up well. We had to make adjustments over the eight games, but it never got to the point where we had to drastically alter our style to have success.  Even with this smooth operation, the bowling lasted for 10 hours, with an hour break in between! There was enough seating in the bowler’s area so that I didn’t have to stand all the time, and I think this helped me to keep my energy up throughout the day.

My team’s bowling didn’t go so well. We lost a close first game (actually to the team that ended up winning the whole tournament). We then bowled a solid game two and won. But that’s where things got away from us. I bowled two really bad games back-to-back (150, 125) and nobody on our team bowled well enough to compensate for those dreadful scores. For a couple of weeks prior to the tournament, I’d made some changes to try and get more power with my shot. I’d always been really accurate with my shots, but my ball was so weak it didn’t matter how accurate I was. So, I’ve been focused on power. I could be somewhat consistent with the more powerful delivery, but after a couple of games I probably was focusing on adjustments and the tempo changed and I just couldn’t stay consistent. I took a lonely walk off the lanes, watched Kaepernick throw a touchdown to Vernon Davis, took a look at my score, and realized my inconsistency was killing the team. So, I decided I would forget about power and just try and hit my target. Nothing more. From that point on, I did alright, averaging around 185, the main thing was I was consistent – no high games and no really low ones – but I think the team’s mindset had changed. We were still trying to win as many matches as we could, but it wasn’t as important to us any more as just having fun was. We were out of the running for the tournament title, it was just a matter of where we placed. Only one person on our team bowled good for the day, but even he fizzled out at the end.

We bowled our last two matches against the same team, and we were fighting to determine who would come in last. We ended up having a really good time bowling them, and our mind wasn’t really on bowling. We were talking and cracking jokes, and the bowling was just a fun game. I didn’t get many strikes, but I was always around the pocket and I made my spares – just like how it used to be when I was much younger (you have no idea how many all-spare games I have!)

We finished 2-6, one place above last, but I’m glad I bowled it. I feel somewhat bad for the person who asked me to be on his team, and our other teammates, that I didn’t bowl better. But I did realize I need to work on the accuracy part of the game. Go back to the drills I used to do years and years ago like putting strips of tape on the lane and hitting all of them. I need to figure that out but still keep at least some of the power. But, I got to spend the day with some good friends, I bowled with some great bowlers, I met really nice people, and I learned some things about myself and my game. It was definitely worth $170. I can’t wait until next year!