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    by Randy Ooney     

My Nickel’s Worth                     by Randy Ooney




I was fortunate this season to have the second highest bowling average in the entire state, 258.  It is no small task to post an average this high.  In order to do it I only counted games I shot over 245.  The state’s high average of 267 was posted by drock, Daron Hansen.  He has an edge because he is younger, left handed, and only counted his games over 255.  When you’re done scratching your head, calling me names, and thinking this is the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard, stop and think about it.  If you have a TV set, you must have watched about a thousand or so ads for car insurance.  (And that just since last Tuesday.)  They cleverly tell you that those who switched from company A to Company B saved an AVERAGE of XXX.00 dollars.  I don’t even know how they could possibly verify the statement, but even if they can, they conveniently left out the price differential of those who didn’t switch.  Duh.  Even a caveman could take a snapshot and sort out that mayhem. 


Okay, bowling averages have nothing to do with car insurance, so what am I talking about, anyway?  Well, as many of you, I bowl in several leagues, actually two this year.  I bowl Friday nights at Texa Tonka Lanes and a Monday morning travelling league.  I also participate in a few MSC tournaments and maybe one or two handicap tournaments each year.  Therein lies the rub.  If I participate in a handicap tournament I am obligated by rule to use the average of my games at Texa Tonka only, and toss out all games bowled at Elsie’s, Earle Brown, Maple, Andover, Blainbrook, Brunswick Zone XL, Super Bowl, Classic, New Hope, Doyle’s, etc. etc. 


Many years ago, I bowled in leagues at Hopkins Lanes and Aqua Bowl in the Western suburbs.  Many of my bowling friends would not bowl at Aqua Bowl.  It was fairly well accepted that Aqua averages were about 10 pins higher than Hopkins, and some of my friends actually thought they had a chance in Alex if they only bowled in Hopkins leagues.  NABI would not consider, when computing your average, any tournament game 20 pins or more below your average.  An anti sandbagging rule applied to all, but everyone from Norm Duke to Marma Duke has an occasional game of 20 pins under.  Interesting that they never tossed out a game that was more than 20 pins over.


I used to enjoy going to the Minnesota State tournament every year.  Sometimes it was local, but we also travelled to Willmar, Red Wing,  and Austin, stayed overnight, played poker, and bowled.  But we were never able to compete with the high handicaps owned by the guys from Brickhouse, Minnesota.  There was a place one year, Jack’s Place in Brainerd.  That center produced scores that were probably the highest ever for that tournament.  I don’t remember cashing too high in the event.  I think I might have sneaked out a couple of brackets.  But I do remember Smilin’ Carl and Jason Barnhouse were on our shift and they shot something like 1580 in the doubles.  Take that Brickhouse boys!!


In this age of technology, where anyone can verify an average on a Smartphone, I hope the USBC and tournament directors can figure a more equitable way to assign handicap.  Until then, I think I’ll just bowl MSC scratch tournaments and contribute to Roger Blad’s retirement fund.            




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