The ATB guys have golf, I have Bowling

I’m looking forward to tonight. A lot.

My wife got me a wonderful gift for Christmas – something that I knew I wanted but it being an expensive item and being so low on the totem pole, it probably would have to wait until brighter financial days. Tonight I will be using a new bowling ball in my bowling league for the first time in almost ten years. That’s right, my current ball is almost ten years old, and in bowling ball years that’s like a century.

I was able to test the new guy out last week. My wife picked me out a new Ebonite Pivot, and yes, for those old enough to have seen the show, in conversation I will intentionally say “Pivot!” like Ross did in the show Friends.

The average person may not believe it, but there is a surprising amount of skill that is required to become a good bowler. I know people who get more pissed off when they’re trying to bowl well than when they’re trying to golf well. You need equipment you’re going to use consistently, and actually use it in a consistent manner – you need to focus on every movement your body makes in that short distance you approach the lane. You need to be able to pay attention to how your ball reacts, how it strikes the pocket, and you need to realize when the smallest difference in your form can change the results down the lane. Keep your shoulders straight. Lift with your fingers. Did you bend your knees like you always do? How close were you to the foul line when you released? Did your ball roll over the arrow you were aiming for? Did it start its hook when it reached the 5-board?

Not all of these things would necessarily need to be relearned when you get new equipment, but if you happen to find out your old ball doesn’t fit you as well as it could, you’re going to have to learn the grip and release again. The release is especially important – back when I was starting to learn to bowl, I nearly lost my thumb during the transition to the conventional hole configuration (what most people use when they use the “house” balls at the alley, your fingers go all the way into the holes) to the fingertip configuration, which is appropriately named.

I was in the process of learning this new grip last week. As I mentioned before, my average on the league is 190. For the first two games, I got about 150, but I finally figured it out for the third. I almost struck out the entire last half of the game and ended up with a 210.

In the long term I think that this will help out not only my bowling game, but as I’ve discovered, most of my bowling game this year has been using muscle memory. This isn’t necessarily bad! But I think it is helping me learn a deeper focus which could help me in many ways.

EDIT: Bowled a 204, 208, and 192 on my first league outing. Woot.

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