Game 1: 219
Game 2: 192
Game 3: 158
Week Avg: 189
Season Avg: 211
Welp, reality hit me hard this week and the fantasy I was living on the lanes quickly came to an end. It has been feast or famine for me through the first four weeks of the season and this week was famine time.
Right away I got off to a rough start in practice. A recent cold snap here in western Pennsylvania caused my thumb to shrink a bit and I had to put some tape in the ball. It took a few throws to get my grip right and I never really threw a good ball during practice.
Not to be discouraged I made a guesstimate as to where I should stand to start the first game, moving my body and mark a board left from my usual line. Luckily it worked great and I started the night with a 5-bagger. In the sixth frame I missed my mark right by a board and the ball just hung out the length of the lane to leave the 1-2-8, which I chopped for an open. I struck again in the seventh frame and threw a couple spares and a strike before leaving an 8-10 split my second ball in the tenth frame.
The second game started with two opens, a missed 10-pin and a split. I struck in the third and had the ball hang out on me the next two frames to spare and split for another open. Instead of fighting the lanes which were running high when I hit my mark and hanging out when I missed slightly I decided to make a ball change in the sixth frame. The change worked great and I was in the pocket the rest of the game with five strikes and two nine counts.
The third game presented the same difficulties as the others. Accuracy was the name of the game and I just didn't have it Monday night. When I hit my marks I was in the pocket, but the Python wouldn't carry the corners. When I was off my marks the ball held right and I would leave pretty large groupings on the deck. Two bad opens, including a missed 7-pin, left much to be desired and I was lucky to escape with a 158.
I thought the oil played like a shorter version of the Shark sport pattern this week. Left of the 10 board was hooking pretty well, but anything to the outside of 9 wasn't coming back. Unfortunately I didn't have this epiphany until the drive home after the damage had been done. I probably should have stood at about 28 and played over 12, further inside than usual but the ball was moving well in the backends and would have produced good carry. I'm having a hard time picking up on how to apply my previous experiences to the changing conditions I've faced so far this season and it is something I will need to get better at quickly if I want to continue improving.
To make matters worse, I was not throwing a good ball this week. Adjusting to different fits was a concern every time I changed balls. My thumb was loose in the Python and when I switched back to the more snug fit of the C-System I was holding onto the ball way too long. The quick change in weather really had an impact on my thumb size and I'm looking forward to a more stable climate once autumn and winter kick in. The fit problem pulled me into a downward spiral of timing and balance issues that really did a number on my third game. Instead of trying to battle the lanes and my physical issues I should have just concentrated on fixing my game and let the lanes come to me in time.
As a great man once said, "A bowler's mind divided cannot strike" . . . or something like that.