Going for the Gold

When I say gold, I am not intending it means a medal. I use this term about a person intending to get the best or most out of some endeavor. In this case it is a score in bowling.

I watch people in a practice session before any bowling event. After each first throw, if it is not a strike, many either foul intentionally or push the reset to attain a full rack. This way they can practice their first throw, or should I say their strike shot.

At first I was worried they would develop the lane differently than development during the tournament. That the oil depletion and carry down would result in ball reaction not matching what happens during the tournament to a great degree. However, everyone uses different equipment and different lines to find out which ball gives them the best reaction so I no longer worry about different ball reaction from practice to the tournament. I now ponder the meaning of only practicing for a strike.

Yes, there is the token throwing of a shot or two at the 7 and 10 pin at the end of the practice session, but that is only a token and nothing like real competition. The balance of spares and strikes has possibly been permanently changed.

A 200 average bowler of the past never missed a spare. A 200 average bowler of today misses 2 or 3 spares a game. It is that 4 or 5 strikes in a row that keeps them over 200. To attain an average even higher such as 210 or 220, the 200 average bowler attempts to get more strikes. If the bowler gets more strikes it means he or she is shooting at less spares.

Filling the frame is a phrase not heard too many times in the game of today. One of the reasons that we see triple digit differences from one game to the next. It is not uncommon to see scores of 250 and above and then the very next game the very same bowler shoots 150.

Another possible cause for this is the dominate style being learned today is the power game. If the ball does not hit the pocket, the high spin rate ball entering the pins at a large angle will leave spares that are very difficult to pick up. Filling the frame becomes more difficult.

Is the balance of spares and strikes permanently changed? By going for the gold, it seems to me that we are missing 90% of the joy bowling.

This worries me, but at this time, bowling is still a seemingly and good diversion.