by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
Tough or Easy
There are many bowlers these days who seek out tougher scoring conditions in various sport leagues and PBA Experience leagues, to increase their skills for tournaments or just to be challenged at a higher level. Personally, I cannot admit to being one of those. I bowled in leagues in the 60s and 70s and feel that I already have enough 175 games under my belt to be considered a PCB.
(Previously challenged bowler). This past weekend brought to mind a striking contrast, (pun intended), between two tournaments that I competed in within the last 18 months or so.
The USBC Minneapolis Senior Masters tournament was held at Blainebrook in 2008. The directors selected an oil pattern similar to the National Senior Masters, to which the local winner would be awarded a spot. After the 6 game qualifying round, it took minus 69 to cash, and only one or two bowlers were plus. I saw many of my friends and colleagues, whom I know to average over 220, miss the head pin frequently, leave many splits, and sometimes found themselves trying to convert 4 pin buckets, washouts, and the like. I cannot complain, this was a one day tournament and the conditions were the same for all. It took mental toughness, great skill, and maybe a little luck to do well. Since I own none of the above, I went home disappointed that day.
Fast forward the clock to May 16, 2010, for the year end MSC tournament at friendly Texa-Tonka Lanes in St. Louis Park. The MSC is loaded with PCBs who still have enormous talent as long as they can bend their knees at the foul line, and swing the delivery around the wider waistline. Speaking of wider waistlines, Bill Johnson and Jeff Kristal put down the normal house pattern for the tournament, and a bunch of greybeards had a lot of fun tossing strike after strike. Over 90 percent of the field averaged over 200, and the composite average was 223. Not bad for a bunch of old duffers. Since it is a match play tournament with bonus for winning matches, there was a little frustration among the many 240 plus games which lost to a 250 or 260, but once again, it is a one day tournament and the condition was the same for all. Only half the field cashed, but I have a hunch that most left the bowling center feeling good about their game, even if they may have lost some tough matches.
My opinion, for what it’s worth, (which is about a nickel), is that I prefer the so called shootouts. I can handle losing with 235 better than losing with 168. And at my age, the fewer trips I have to take to a foul line, bend the tired old knees, and heave that 15 pound hunk of urethane 60 feet, the better. But I would also be interested in opinions of others, young, old, or in between. Take a minute to jump on the forum and offer your reasons for preferring tough or easy.
One final note: Both tournaments that I profiled in this article were won by Mike Wirz. Tough or Easy, America’s Dairyland cream always rises to the top. Congratulations, Mike, and thanks for the lesson. Mr. Theis, thank you for your efforts for a great season, a fun year end tournament, and his name is Whirrrz. I heard that next year we may have to work on pronouncing Lutz.