Last weekend, I played in a small local tournament that used the U.S Open oil pattern. I managed to place 5th (out of 69 players), and won a little money, but I only averaged 194 on this pattern. Not as good as I had hoped, and the main reason for such a low average was failure to make all the simple spares. The strike percentage was lower than normal, also, but I expected this, with such a difficult oil pattern. Tonight I get to try again, in a slightly different format, where they cut the field to the top 50% after four games, then cut to top half again after the 5th game, and 6th game establishes final rankings. Oil pattern shouldn’t be quite as difficult, a Kegel Main Street, but still challenging. Let’s see if I can at least place again, and, hopefully, not screw up the spares this time.
Archive for the ‘Bowling’ Category
Posted by hyperpat on April 14, 2013
Well, it’s been a while (uh, make that a long while) since I posted anything here. Partly this was due to real-life demands of work and family, partly it was simple burnout, of not seeming to have anything to say that was new or needed saying. The same happened to my reviews of books on Amazon; it just didn’t seem worth the effort anymore. But things do change over time, and I’m feeling that urge to write (something, anything) again, as can be seen from the new reviews I’ve put up in the last couple of weeks.
So what has happened to me in this period? Perhaps the biggest change has been in my family situation, as both my children are now out of the house and on their own, one fairly successfully, the other not so much. This has left just my wife and I in the house, with a fairly stable routine from day to day. It has also meant a bettering of my financial condition (it’s amazing just how much money children eat up), to the point where our plans for retirement show a good chance of becoming reality. Also helping in this regard has the been the slow economic and housing recovery – my house is now almost worth what I paid for it in 2006. And of course, the engineering of this improvement has much to do with the changing political environment and the antics of the Fed, both of which have occasioned some rather irascible messages to the leaders of both parties about getting their act together from me.
Then there is the change in my bowling prowess. I’ve gone from about a 200 – 205 average to about 215-220 in the last three years. Along with this is I now have a much greater experience level with various playing conditions from bowling in a fairly large number of tournaments, from local, tiny events to PBA regional ones (still haven’t tried the PBA national ones – I’m still not in that league), with a fair amount of success, averaging out to winning enough to at least pay my entry fees. This has also meant a recognition by both me and my wife that this endeavor is an important part of my life, and our retirement plans need to keep this in mind. Related to that, we did some scouting for a retirement home recently, and had found what we thought was a good fit with what we wanted, to suddenly have the place get scratched off our list, as the only bowling alley in that town was abruptly closed, with no foreseeable time when it would re-open.
I do plan on doing some new posts here on my favorite subjects; the science fiction world has obviously added some new ideas, new works, new authors, all of which are deserving of some comment. So too the political world; the current divide and deadlock between the two major parties needs some observations. Changes in the US economic environment, Wall street vs Main Street, the world terrorist picture, the North Korean idiocy, cultural changes at home and abroad, new scientific discoveries, the state of space exploration, the social effects of the internet, movies and television — it would seem there will be enough things to talk about.
Posted by hyperpat on October 22, 2009
I finally qualified for and joined the PBA. Yeah me!
Of course, I immediately had to try my hand at a PBA regional tournament to see how well I really stacked up against this crowd. The one I picked on was held in Palo Alto from Oct 9-11, choice driven by the fact that’s it’s close enough that I didn’t have to stay at the tournament site overnight, as these things are already expensive enough ($220 entry fee) without adding hotel bills and such. And I had additional expenses getting a couple of shirts embroidered with my name (PBA requirement) and getting a couple of new pairs of slacks (another PBA requirement, jeans not allowed). Net out of pocket was $300 for this tournament, plus my PBA membership initiation fee ($99), plus the annual dues ($144). This is not a poor man’s game. Of course, all that would be made back if I could win the tournament (first prize $2500).
So how did I do? In a single word: terrible. First, the lanes in Palo Alto are real wood, not synthetic, which means the oil on the lanes gets soaked up more rapidly than on the now more common synthetic surfaces. Second, the oil pattern for this tournament was the Chameleon, which has never been my favorite. But in the practice session on Friday I did quite well, running about 50% strikes and staying in or very near the pocket about 90% of the time. And my first frame in the qualifying round on Saturday was a strike, following exactly the line that the practice session had shown me. And then disaster struck.
For some reason, when the front desk set up the lanes, they did not set them up for normal cross-lane bowling. Of course, this was immediately discovered at the beginning of the second frame, and play was halted to correct this problem. Trouble was, it took them almost 15 minutes to get everything set up right and all the various scores corrected, while everyone stood around. By the time I got up to throw in the second frame, my muscles had tightened up some, and I ended up yanking the ball a hair, with maximum penalty paid of a 6-7-10 split. And another split in frame 3. This did not do good things to my mental outlook. I ended the first game with a 177, which is clearly not competitive in this crowd. Game 2 was going OK till the 10th frame, when I got bit with an 8-10, and finished with a 184.
But game three was the killer. By this point, the lane conditions had started to change, and I simply could not seem to find the right adjustment, or if I did manage to find the pocket, I left either a solid 8, 9, or 10 pin. Result: no strikes, and a 147. This effectively killed any chances I had of winning, as even with a later games 205, 166, 222, 203, and 176, I was well below the par value of 200, and the cut line ended up at par +92 pins. By the time of that last game, there really wasn’t any oil left, and I had moved left about 11 boards to try and hold pocket, which is a huge (and normally never required) move for me. On top of that, I found that by the time of that last game my hand was quite sore, which surprised me, as I often do 8-10 games in practice sessions. But what I don’t normally do is do that much practice bowling and then bowl again on the very next day.
So what did I learn? One: don’t practice so much on the first day, do just enough to find out where the line is and see if there are any great variations from lane to lane. Two: if there are future delays of game such as in this one, make sure to do several arm swings with the ball prior to resuming play to loosen myself up. Three: I need to practice more on throwing deep inside lines on dry lanes. Four: see what I can do about keeping a decent mental outlook in the face of patently unfair leaves. Five: start making adjustments for changing lane conditions more quickly – assume that I’m throwing correctly, and the reason for a bad result is the lane change, as my more common assumption is that I did something wrong in the delivery.
Did I get my money’s worth out of this tournament? I think I did, as I’ll probably become a better bowler for it, and I really can’t ask much more than that.
Posted by hyperpat on June 8, 2009
I went and played in the Santa Clara County Masters bowling tournament about a week ago. I entered it without too much in the way of expectations, but more as a way of finding out just where I stand competitively – i.e., can I really play with the big boys?
The answer is a qualified yes. For the the five rounds of qualifying, I averaged 210.6, or, as is the more common way of stating results for things like this, I ended with a +53 (sum of the total number of pins above the 200 level for each game). And it would have been about 35 pins better than this without two really bad breaks (a 7-10 and an 8-10 on good pocket hits) and one bucket spare that I missed by a cat’s whisker. This was not a bad result.
However, my place standing in this group was only 25th out of 33 participants. I beat the last place person by almost a 100 pins, and I was within 50 pins of 15th place, but missed the qualifying level by 150 pins, as the average amongst those who qualified for the next round of this tournament was 240+. When I did a check on all the people who played, I found six current or former PBA members, and of the rest, every single one of them had posted averages higher than my current league average. And several of them were regulars at the bowling house where this tournament was held, and were thus already familiar with the prevailing lane conditions. So I exceeded expectations based on posted averages, but it’s also obvious that I still need to to improve at least another ten pins in average to really stand a chance of winning something like this.
So I think I got my money’s worth from my entry fee for this, as now I have a much better idea of how I stack up against this crowd.
Posted by hyperpat on September 25, 2007
Looks like I’ve finally reached the 200 level at bowling. Over the last eight weeks, I’ve averaged 204, (combined practice and league games) and managed to get my first sanctioned 700 series, a 704 (a 254, 211, and 239). Now I’ve rolled 700’s before, but all in practice sessions. The best I had done in league previously was a 698 (that one really frustrated me!). And I’ve pulled my league average to 202. Now at least I’ll be able to qualify for entry into the PBA Regional tournaments. Might be a while till I can go to one, but that will be the real test of whether or not I’m ready to compete with the big boys. Who knows, I might end up as the oldest rookie on the PBA tour!
Posted by hyperpat on May 21, 2007
I watched the final round of this tournament on ESPN yesterday, and I must say I was happy to see one of the amateurs, Sim Dysart , end up with all the marbles. His strike shots weren’t pretty, but they all fell down, and that’s what counts. I also thought the pros, Chris Barnes and Pete Weber, acted very professionally, and accepted their loss as good sports. This kind of behavior does much to make the sport appealing, not a bad thing in terms of attracting new people to try the game, and the very fact that it shows that even someone who’s not great at the game can end up with a large amount of dollars has to be another attractor.
However, I noticed a couple of things about how this final round was run:
1. They required the players to shoot at spares if there had not been a strike rolled in that frame yet. This is contrary to the original rules and all the advertising, which indicated that it was strictly based on the first ball pinfall. I didn’t even take my spare ball with me for this reason, and if I had made the finals, this might have been a real problem.
2. After a tie had been established in a frame, they immediately went on to the next frame, not requiring those who had not rolled yet to finish the frame. Again, this is not how it was done for the rest of the tournament, where everyone had to roll every frame. I can understand them doing this in the interest of saving time for the telecast, but it was not how the rules were published.
3. In the 10th frame, they continued the rule of ‘one tie, all tie’, so that even those who didn’t strike got to continue. During the earlier rounds at Vegas, only those who struck got to continue, and the other players who didn’t were out. However, in the local qualifying at my normal lanes, we followed the rule they used for this final round. Again, there is an inconsistency here.
Now obviously the tournament organizers and sponsors can set whatever rules they want. My complaint is the lack of communication to the participants, about both these rule changes and, while qualifying was going one (for seven months), there was no feedback about who had qualified at what score. For me, this meant that I had no idea if would be going to Vegas until just two weeks prior to the playing date, making it difficult to get vacation time so I and my wife could go. If they plan on running this tournament again next year (and I understand that right now they are planning to do so), this area must be addressed. I think this lack of feedback is part of the reason that they didn’t get nearly as many participants as they had expected. I found that many bowlers weren’t even aware of this tournament or what its rules were, whereas if they had provided continuous updates about how things were going I think that many more players would have noticed, and possibly participated.
Still, this was a fun tournament, and I’m glad I participated.
Posted by hyperpat on May 4, 2007
Well, I’m back from Vegas, and for a change I return somewhat richer than when I left.
We began the bowling shootout bright and early Wednesday morning, and were allowed 20 minutes of warmup practice – but even that generous number wasn’t enough, as the lanes were just what I feared, very heavy oil, though not down quite as far as they could be – appeared to be something like 39 feet. This meant that it was possible to get the ball to ‘break’, though not a large amount, something like 6-7 boards for anything other than the power bowlers. This, while difficult, was not an impossible condition, and I managed to throw a least a couple of balls that got it right, with good results.
But my main enemy was not the lanes, but myself. I found I was incredibly nervous for this thing; my legs were actually trembling in the first match, and my approach timing was off. So for much of the tournament I watched helplessly as the ball would drift high, then light, and then (once or twice) completely off line. Still, I did manage to win the first round, even though I shot only two strikes in that game – but they were at exactly the right time, the first one allowing me to gather up the points available for the 7th and 8th frames, and the second to capture the 10th, giving me enough points to win the round and collect $500.
The second round was played an hour and a half later, and while for this one I wasn’t as nervous, lane conditions had changed quite a bit, with a lot of carry-down oil from the prior matches, and I spent the entire match trying to find the ‘line’. I had two strikes in this one also (compared to my normal 5-6/game), but this time they weren’t in the right places, and I was eliminated.
I don’t know the results of the final round against Pete Weber and Chris Barnes, as my return plane’s departure time would have made it difficult to go and see the match and still make the plane. Of course, if I’d made the finals, I wouldn’t have had any problem, if necessary booking another flight. But when my wife and I actually got on the plane, after a fifteen minute delay while they had ‘maintenance come and look at the plane’, we found ourselves sitting on the tarmac for what seemed an inordinate amount of time. Then the captain announced that there was something wrong with the parking brakes on the plane, and we would be returning to the terminal. Another hour and half went by while they fixed whatever the problem was, and we finally got on our way, arriving only two and half hours later than expected. But if I known that things would be delayed like this, we could have gone and watched that final round.
Still, a lot of fun, and some cash in hand. Not bad.
Posted by hyperpat on April 23, 2007
I made the cut for the $250,000 Bowling Shootout! This means I only need to beat another 502 bowlers to win this thing 🙂 I’ll be leaving on the evening of May 1 to go to Vegas (expenses paid!), with the tournament being held on the 2nd and 3rd, in four rounds. The final round, with the two amateur finalists going up against Pete Weber and Chris Barnes, is supposed to be televised on ESPN on May 20th. In preparation for this, I’ve ordered up a new ball, a Total Inferno, and will have it drilled aggressively for the greatest hook potential. Hopefully this new weapon will give me enough power to actually reach those finals, as I expect that lane conditions for this tournament will be extremely tough, with heavy, long oil.
But if nothing else, I get a free vacation to Sin City. Of course, I do have to pay to bring my wife along, but that’s still cheap.
Posted by hyperpat on February 1, 2007
Starting last Thursday, my bowling center started using some of the PBA oiling patterns. For last thursday, it was the regional/seniors pattern #3. This is probably the second easiest of the PBA patterns (easiest may be the Cheetah). Between my practice and league games last week I at least proved to myself that I can get to the pocket and have reasonable carry on this pattern.
But last night was a enough to give me a headache. For my practice games I was at one end of the alley, where this same PBA pattern was laid down. To play this pattern, which has a lot of oil on the lane, I lined up on the 13 board and shot 7th board, with a soft, easy delivery, and I averaged 193 over 5 games (199 for the last four, first game was poor as I figured out where to play it) – pretty reasonable. Then I shifted to league at the other end of the alley, and found that they had laid a ‘house’ pattern which was very stingy on the oil. To handle this I had to move over to board 20 and shoot board 10, with a hard, fast delivery. And it took me awhile to make these adjustments. Net: I only managed a 181 average for league, and got very frustrated, as I left 10 pin after 10 pin even when I did get lined up properly. I just hope that next week the house uses the same oiling pattern, whatever one they choose, across all the lanes. Switching between patterns that are this different is a fast way to mess your mind over.
Posted by hyperpat on January 3, 2007
‘Tis a new year, and hopefully a great one. That’s one thing people can always have, plain hope. Now 99% of the time, all the hopes don’t pan out, and you end up with something less than envisaged, but that’s alright, new hopes will come along to replace those that didn’t make the cut. It seems to be something that is hard-wired into the human makeup. If that wellspring ever dries up, the end result is a broken person, a stick figure that looks human but is really a zombie. So, anyway, my hopes/projections for this year:
1. My family will end the year together and happy. There have been some rough times in the past, and there probably will be quite a few shoals this year, but so far we’ve muddled through, and finally it looks like there will be some conclusion to a few of the ongoing problems.
2. Congress will get hip to the fact that this planet is a very fragile place and start doing something about it: provide truly adequate funding to the space program, develop rational plans to handle all the various eco-catastrophes waiting around the corner, initiate a major upgrade to the nation’s infrastructure to make it more efficient and less taxing on the world’s resources, and actually develop a road map for the future of this country that encompasses a time frame longer than the next election, with strong enough controls enacted that they’ll actually have to follow it. Yeah, I know – this is blue-sky dreaming. But I can hope.
3. While Congress is doing (2), they’ll also wake up to the fact that security is never a 100% guarantee, and repeal the most obnoxious intrusions into personal privacy and the almost limitless police-state powers they have granted to various federal agencies. This country was built by people who took risks, and one of the major reasons they did is that they could see the direct benefit to themselves, without fear of the government tromping all over them.
4. Wars will continue to happen. It’s a given. But perhaps there will be a few places where compromise and real discussion will break out. It would be very nice to see the almost 60 year debacle of the Israeli-Arab conflict get to a point where “suicide bomber” is no longer a revered profession and the reasons for them no longer exist.
5. I could win the $250,000 bowling shootout in May. This one actually has a real chance of happening, though the odds aren’t great. It would certainly go a long way towards making my financial position tenable. Along these same lines, maybe I can at least get my chess rating back into the Class A category. Higher than this doesn’t seem to be in the cards – I just don’t see enough time to do the really heavy studying Expert and higher would require. But here again, I can hope!
6. I’ll get off my tail and actually finish writing a story, and be able to sell it. Even if I only get $2 for it, this would be an accomplishment I’d be happy with.
7. I’ll be granted a couple more patents this year. This one is pretty likely, as the applications are already in, the concepts are sound, the technology exists, and my company is already building systems that utilize the concepts. Now I won’t get any great financial reward for this, and the patents are ‘group’ things, developed along with quite a few other people, but I like the feeling that I’ve help add to the world’s knowledge by developing something new.
8. We’ll be contacted by the aliens from Acturas IV about next Christmas time. Fermi paradox be damned, they’re out there somewhere, and what better time for humanity’s hubris to be taken down a couple of notches when it finds out that it’s not unique, that intelligent life exists elsewhere.
9. They’ll actually implement a fix for Social Security and Medicare and develop a real, workable universal health insurance plan. More blue-sky stuff. While they’re at it, they’ll revise the tax code so Mr. Average Joe can actually figure it out.
10. People will actually act more rationally to world events, instead of reacting with hysteria over every blip reported by our excitable (and deliberately provoking) media.
You never know. It all could happen.
Posted by hyperpat on December 8, 2006
Bowling last night was a disaster. Everything was going just fine, my warmup practice games were good with a 256, 201, 192, and 202, and in the first league game I’d opened with a double, when I managed to spill my root beer, soaking my shoes. After cleaning up the mess, I went and got a pair of rental shoes, as I obviously couldn’t bowl with my soaked ones. Unfortunately, the rentals weren’t much better than using those wet things – I still stuck at the line, and after the first couple of balls thrown with these shoes, I got very leery of approaching the foul line. Of course, this played havoc with my game. I managed to finish the first game with a 187, but I had to turkey the 10th to do it. And it didn’t get any better in the second game, resulting in a 163. I’d had enough of this by now, so I went into the pro shop and bought a new pair of shoes. It took about three frames to break these in, but after that things got quite a bit better, and I ended with a 193 for a 543 series. Which is the lowest total I’ve had in four weeks. And really disappointing after Wednesday night’s performance, where I turned in a 216, 265, and 200, for a 681 series. I guess this will teach me to have back-up equipment!
Posted by hyperpat on November 13, 2006
My bowling average may have finally kicked up into the 200’s. For my last five sessions I’ve averaged 216, 209, 200, 215, and 218, a total of 18 games worth, with lane conditions ranging from pretty wet to almost bone dry. Hopefully this is related to a change I made in my backswing, where I now keep a small break in my elbow and a crooked wrist throughout. This seems to force me to put more fingers into the ball at release, imparting more spin and drive, and it seems to help with my bugaboo, the infamous 10 pin. It also has seemed to reduce the number of bowling-god splits – pocket hits that leave 8-10s, 7-10s, or other nasty things. Proof of the pudding will come, I hope, in the next couple of weeks. If it’s real, though, I will definitely think about joining the PBA.
Posted by hyperpat on October 30, 2006
I competed in the first round of the $250,000 Bowling Shootout tournament this last weekend. The format for this is a little odd. Qualification is accomplished by rolling over your average in the second game of your normal league games. Then they pick on the top 2/3 of those who have qualified within your bowing center to compete in the first round shootout. The shootout itself is a ‘skins’ game: each player rolls only one ball per frame (max of four players per qualifying lane), and the high pinfall total gets the points for that frame. The number of points is variable, anywhere from 5 points for the 1st frame to 60 points for the 10th frame. If there is a tie in pinfall for a frame, the points for that frame are not awarded but carried over into the next frame, until someone breaks the tie and grabs all the points. In three games, there is a maximum point total of 555.
I managed to snag 461 of those points, rolling 17 strikes and six additional frames with a winning pinfall of 9. Now my name goes into a national database, and at the end of the entry rounds they will pull the top 125 point totals within each division (there are four divisions based on average) to go to Las Vegas and compete in the final shootout, with big money on the line plus the chance to bowl with a couple of PBA stars. With the total I rang up, I think I might have a realistic chance of being in that group. If so, look for me on ESPN in February!
Posted by hyperpat on August 21, 2006
Just got back from the California State Open Bowling championship. This was the first major tournament I’ve participated in, even though I’ve been bowling on a regular basis for about thirty years. Unfortunately, I didn’t do nearly as well as I’d hoped. On the first day, in the team event, I could only muster up a 172, 158, and 165, some really poor scores, and I didn’t have a single double in all three games. Very frustrating. Day two started with the singles competition, and it got even worse, a 165, 156, 166, with still no doubles and with the added scourge of opening every first frame. Finally we moved to a new pair of lanes for the doubles competetion, I changed both my line and my delivery, and things started to look up, with a 236 for my first game, and my partner rolling a 195. Perhaps we even stood a chance of winning something if we could just keep those kinds of scores coming in for the second and third games. And I was doing OK in the second game till the 10th frame, when I missed a stupid 10 pin and ended up with a 189 (making that 10 should have put me in the 200s again). And my partner fell apart, with only a 155 (he’d rolled a 258 in the singles competition, but it looked like he’d lost the line). The last game was not good, a 153 occasioned by three splits, and my partner turned in a 147. Still, the whole thing was fun, and I’ll probably play in next year’s tournament.
Posted by hyperpat on July 21, 2006
Last night was my normal league night, and at the beginning it looked like it might be a very long night, as the oiling pattern that had been laid down was a tough one, heavy oil and oiled very far down the lane, to about 48 feet. This meant that my ball did not ‘break’ very much, and for the first game this resulted in several splits and few strikes, for a net of a 168 score. Then I made an adjustment to work the ‘outside’ line, and game two became reasonable, a 201. But in game three, the bowling gods decided to be nice, and let me carry a couple of Brooklyn hits and didn’t leave me with a bunch of ten pins, for a final score of 258. For a change, I left the alley with a smile on my face…