Some random thoughts…

Jack Hammill - Guest columnist

— On this past Saturday afternoon I received by social media a picture of different members of the St Marys girls bowling team and the coaching staff. As a fan of the team and also as one who has frequently taken the time to praise them, it is a picture that I will always value.

I love the ironic humor in the picture. It shows the group on snowy wintery ground in front of a corporation sign for Neptune, Ohio near St Marys. The picture says it all to include youth in the elements that led the OHSAA to need an indoor winter sport for the student-athletes.

It will also serve as a reminder of the elements that other student athletes could not conquer, the Neptune bowling pattern. I am going to talk to my computer savvy folks and blow the picture up to 11x17 and see if the Lady Roughriders can win the state as I projected …. Maybe they can autograph it for me.

— The second round of the City Singles is in the books. Will Bethany Pellman defend her title? Will Brian Sharp win his first one? They lead as the tourney points to the following weekend. I give praise to Brent Miller for rolling a perfect game in game eight, well on the burn of a difficult pattern.

— The Western Ohio High School Bowling Conference is clearly one of the more dominant high school conferences in this or any state. It is approximately 18 years old, maybe a bit longer. You will score high in some houses and low in others but it will eventually even its way out.

There is some recent conversation about making thing more competitive as this is not a recreational league. If that were to come to pass we would not have the extreme difficult play as Varsity Lanes was two weeks or so ago. We would also lose out on the ease of play of some locations.

One such scenario was this past Saturday at Olympic Lanes in Van Wert where on scoring record fell and another that was roughly eight years old was seriously challenged.

Two ten picks was all that kept Dusty Haggard of Wapak from perfection as he rolled back to back 279 games in the Redskin match with Parkway. He took down the previous school and conference record of Anthony Kennard.

Earlier in the day Morgan Twining had fired a 496 two game set that came within one more strike and one fewer miss of taking down the standard of Emily Bruns of Coldwater set in 2011. If nothing else maybe it can have an asterisk for being a new north standard.

Part of me will always want things more ‘sporty’ but it was great to see the smiles on the face of Morgan and Dusty.

— I have learned a great deal about the game and the sport of bowling during my time of employ behind the counter at 20th as well as through attending different proprietor events and meetings. While I have always suspected that the proprietors care a great deal, I have an even keener awareness of it at this point. The love that they have for the game and the appreciation that they have for their customers simply cannot be measured.

I am embarrassed now to say that like many as a bowler, I was one who used to complain about the ‘shot’. I often wondered what they must be thinking, torturing us the way that they did. Did they not know anything about taking care of their customers? What must they be thinking?

I had a lot to learn and I still do. I have listened to proprietors discuss what they must to do serve their customers to include solicit ideas from one another. I cannot imagine that other business function in this manner.

Then again they are bowlers who in many cases have bowled with and against one another since childhood, even partnering in tournaments. As I mentioned once before they are known for borrowing parts and supplies from one another.

I was crazy they know more about customer service than many would even imagine. They want you to be happy from cold beverages to hot food to even hotter lanes.

With that being said from the perch I have learned that we will never beable to make anybody perfectly happy regardless of our plans.

There are three things that I wish that I would have taken into serious consideration during my league bowling days.

Maybe they will help you have a greater night at the lanes if you consider them. The first would be the lane oil patterns. I am now old enough that I can remember when the purpose of the oil was to protect and not serve. Seems like back in the day all patterns were possibly long, flat and gutter to gutter. The purpose was to keep the lanes safe from the friction of the balls causing damage.

In more recent years the role seems to be switching to ‘to serve’. Thebowlers want to score and when the shots are right scoring will occur. Simply remember not all bowlers will head all shots and on any given night, somebody else will and you will not. It is that way for the pros as well.

Next would be the towel, aka the crying towel. It is one of the more important items in your bag. It is not simply designed to be draped over the scoring table, where I lost one or two in my days, at least in part for not using them.

You will have to use it less for the moisture from your eyes if you first use it to dry the moisture that has moved from the lanes onto your bowling ball. The ball will react more favorably when you do.

Finally average is just that average! It occurs when you factor in all your games, the good and the bad. It is an illustration of who we are as bowlers. When I averaged 175 as a bowler it was not a consistent 525 series. Some of those scores were lower, frequently noticeably lower. When I rolled a 600 plus series I wanted everybody to know it … wonder if I shared that with the proprietor

I moaned about when I shot 450. It all evens out … when you get a chance thank a proprietor when the great scores are rolled. They already feel bad when you do not bowl well.

See you around the lanes … have fun and laugh some

Jack Hammill

Guest columnist

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