Game 1: 192
Game 2: 176
Game 3: 169
Week Avg: 179
Season Avg: 191
It was good to be back after not bowling in over two weeks. Practice started out alright, but I could tell after a few throws that there was a lot of oil along the right gutter, so missing my mark to the right was going to result in missing the pocket. I threw a few strikes and shot the 7- and 10-pins. At the end of practice, I was relatively comfortable with how the lanes were reacting.
My instincts must have been off, because my first frame resulted in a 2-7 split and I picked off the 2-pin. I brushed it off and started to throw a fairly decent ball, striking or leaving easy spares throughout the rest of the game. I was fishing for a good place to stand on the right lane because the ball just did not want to come into the pocket. I moved back a few inches, but the ball was still skidding in that oil on the outside and coming in light. I moved right a board, but then I was too high. The next time on the right lane I moved back up the few inches I adjusted earlier but stayed one board to the right and that seemed to be a good line. The left lane was coming in well, but by the end of the first game that started to hang outside too so I moved right a board on that lane as well. I stayed clean after the first frame, but couldn't manage to string any strikes together and finished with a 192.
I started the next game making a 2-4 spare and then struck in the second. I left a 5-7 split but picked that up, struck again, and then missed a 10-pin by dumping the ball in the gutter a couple of feet before the pin. I made a few more spares and mixed in another strike before missing a 7-pin in the tenth frame, finishing with a 176.
The third game started by making the 10-pin. I followed that up with a strike and another spare before missing a 4-pin. I started coming in light on the left lane resulting in a few 10-pins even though I moved back a bit, and the right lane was coming in a little too high even though I moved up and left a bit. I missed another 10-pin somewhere near the seventh frame and then left the 5-10 split in the tenth frame, making this the third Thursday night outing in a row where I ended the night with a split open. I finished with a 169 game and a 537 series. This was the first night all season I did not have at least one 200 game.
Fatigue + Ever-changing lane conditions = Disappointing night
You don't realized how conditioned you are for bowling until you take a few weeks off and that conditioning is gone. I had a few exhausting days at work and, combined with my first night of bowling in 17 days, I was very tired by the start of the third game. To make matters worse, the lanes didn't quite change like I expected them to and my decision making wasn't at its best. I didn't feel entirely comfortable and in the end I threw only a handful of really good strike balls.
The first game was alright and I knew there was a lot of oil down the lane and little room for error. As the second game progressed, the backend started to hook a little bit more and I was hitting the pocket more consistently, but the hits just weren't carrying. I expected that my ball would grab and flatten out when shooting the 10-pin in the second game, but it didn't and fell in the gutter. Though my ball did grab in the tenth frame when shooting the 7-pin, pulling it into the gutter just short of the pin. Then to add insult to injury the ball bounced out and knocked the pin over, so I had to go through the shame of taking the spare off the scoreboard. The third game started with promise and I had good pocket hits on the left lane, but all of a sudden the ball was hitting just a bit light leaving the 10-pin. It took me a bit by surprise because judging how the lane had progressed so far that evening I expected to eventually come in high. That happened on the right lane instead.
Looking back, the left lane had about a four to five frame lag in oil conditions when compared to the right lane. Whatever adjustment I made on the right lane, a half game later that's where I was on the left lane. I hope that next week I will be back to my old form and a little more aware of what is going on on the lanes. The most frustrating part was that is didn't feel like a bad night until that very last frame with the split.
Oh well, part of being a good bowler is the ability to brush off nights like this week and focus on the road ahead.