Left to right, Alan Brizee, Glenn Branco, Dwight Burns and Ken Hosp, Photo taken Sept. 2003 for American Bowler magazine. Article wasn't printed because of the ABC and USBC merge and USBC was discontinuing American Bowler.
Best league Article for American Bowler magazine.
Ken Hosp is now "Mr. 900" (Photo above taken during Traveling Masters league)
By Alan Brizee Printed in Desert Bowler, Apr. 2014, rev. Mar. 2020
With all the accomplishments that Ken Hosp has done in his bowling career, he now can add throwing 36 strikes in the same session. On Saturday, March 19th, 2014 at Cactus Bowl during Color Pins in the dark, Hosp after shooting his first 300 wanted to do a rare feat, shoot back-to-backs. It was the 3rd frame of the final game that Hosp went after an ultimate goal of three 300's on the same night. He is in both Tucson and Arizona state Hall of Fames. He has started the Traveling Masters with 18 strikes after finishing a week with 18 strikes three seasons before. He finally put both ends together to become the first to shoot an unsanctioned 900 in competition. He received $25 for each 300 and needless to say, won Money Madness for $94. Hosp's goal is still to win the Traveling Masters league where he holds too many records to be listed here. Super bowling Kenny.
This is the paragraph that appeared, with a correction when it was printed in Arizona’s bowling newspaper with thanks to Herb, the editor of the Desert Bowler. I have a correction since I looked over the newsletters for the nine seasons of the Traveling Masters I was secretary. He actually had the last 18 first in week 8, Oct. 23, 2000. His first 18 was three and a half years later, in week 26 on Feb. 16, 2004. Making this correction showed me how time flies by when you get older. It sure seemed like back to back seasons. The Desert Bowler started out as bowling news for Arizona and recently started covering Las Vegas. Vegas has its own paper until about 2010. Now I’ll give you the story that set up what happened before that magical night of March 19th.
I was showing up most every week for Saturday’s color pins at the original Cactus Bowl in Tucson, AZ. They turn out the normal white lights in the entire center leaving a few on to get strike pot tickets and to use the rest rooms. They have disco mirrored balls and have turn on some black lights above the lanes to see the arrows. The concourse has just enough light to see where you’re going. The whole center is fairly dark as it is cyber bowling, for those that weren’t bowling color pins. For the longest time, Money Madness was growing slowly until it was over $1000. The reason was, that color pins had its own separate money madness pot and grew at about $20 to $30 a week. After the pot was over $1000, it was growing $30 to $40 a week.
Showing up to bowl color pins is a great way to practice and win some decent money that evening. There are several $5 optional side bets, $1 a game poker hands, the $50 strike pot that happens each game, money awarded from the center and the Money Madness jackpot that grows every week. The center pays for four baggers, 225 games, colored head pin strikes and picking up splits. It also had a $50 shot for a strike each week and had a drawing for a free entry. Just the money you could win from the center, if you averaged 210, was worth showing up. The main reason I showed up was because of the strike pots each game and a shot of winning $50 for the night. I was also splitting some pots with others as they bought tickets and they put my name on them. Color pins helped supplement my income around two out of every four weeks. It was fun bowling with friends and winning cash. When you can win more than what you spend half the time, it made for an enjoyable evening and the reason to show up almost every week. The center had a rule where you could only bowl twice each game for the strike pots. This kept some bowlers who were getting drawn twice, from winning all the money for a game, limiting bowlers to winning $100 for the game. But it was because of Money Madness that several showed up for and I of course, am included in that group. You needed just 10 strikes. The 3, 5, 9 in the first game, 1, 3, 7 for the second game and 2, 4, 7 and 8 to finish out, and claim the pot. What made it harder was moonlight bowling. Once the pot is $400, why would any 210 average bowler not show up unless they’re working that night? In the $5 brackets, you’d almost be bowling against Ken as he got in every bracket. At least if you bowled him in the finals, you were guaranteed to cash :).
So now on March 12, the pot was almost $1500. I was on lanes 31 & 32 with the usual characters hoping to make a few extra dollars tonight. Ken of course was there and so was Tony. Tony was averaging in the 180’s back then, and has had some high 600 sets. Tony tries to have fun when bowling, but usually gets frustrated after his third tap for the night. I really don’t notice the scores as much when bowling color pins, like I would if bowling in one of my leagues. But I do remember Tony shooting just over 225 in the first game, to win $2 from the center. It’s a score he doesn’t shoot every week and he was willing to kind of brag about winning the money. In the second game, Tony wasn’t even shooting 200 because of missing a 7 pin. He carried a strike in the 7th frame and told me he just won $10, as Money Madness pays $10 getting those six strikes. Tony was the first in several months to even get to the third game, since it grew to over $500. To make a short story even shorter, Tony threw those four strikes needed to inherit the pot. He paid everyone on the pair $100 after he cashed the check the following week. Tony never needed money because of owning a business and helped bowlers in many ways. That was the way Tony was. He is now in North Carolina and enjoys his retirement.
Since Tony destroyed Money madness and it was going to be at $50, I decided to play Texas hold-em at the casino instead. I played for two hours to win $30. So I had fun not bowling, but it was the next day that I found out from Tony. He said, “I got the check and that Ken shot 900 with his backup”. I missed it. I was able to see his name on the high scores board for the center behind the front desk. Now for those who want to know how he did it, for Ken, it was just another week. Ken is in the Tucson and AZ state Hall of fames, so he’s a great bowler. He’s won several Tucson Masters titles and city titles. He is very tough to beat as a right hander and sometimes even tougher to beat when he backs the ball up on the left side. He’s shot several 300’s with his back-up in scratch tournaments and because of the nice shot, threw his back-up for the perfect 900 set. The reason he’s able to achieve most of his accomplishments are due to his mental game. Ken’s philosophy on bowling is that the mental game bowling is 95%. Ken has done several things that most bowlers only dream about. Ken did make a change in his game with a slight pause and achieved many great things after the change.
Ken’s highlights in the Traveling Masters league is pretty long. He won three straight bowler of the year awards from 2000 to 2002. But it was the greatest season of any Tucson bowler in history, which helped make Ken possibly Tucson’s G.O.A.T. (Greatest of all time). The season was 2000-2001. Ken booked the highest all time average in the Tucson Bowling Association’s history with 235.86. The previous records for high average was 230 and 231, three and two seasons prior. The record by four pins per game only missing one week due to bowling ABC nationals, but almost unbelievable when you consider Ken accomplished his great season in a traveling league. And the magnitude of his successful season was done in five different centers.
He averaged 253 for the seven weeks at Lucky Strike with all games above 200. His lowest center average at the other four centers was 225. Don’t let the 225 fool you. The second best for that center was 220. He had the highest average at each of the five centers by at least four pins. And he did have his off games, ten were below 200, to give him 90% at shooting 200’s for the season. Other averages were 0.55 opens per game and 7.6 strikes per game. About one open every other game. He had 61 clean games to nobody’s surprise. The eleven of weeks of divisional action, the last weeks of the season, he averaged 242 and the final four weeks was 245. Ken rolled eleven sets above 700 and recorded two 800’s. He was the first in the Traveling Masters to throw two 800’s during the regular season, and of course he would do it in the same season and both at his 253 average center, Lucky Strike. In match play, his winning percentage was a good 77%. Also at Lucky Strike, Ken had a 300 in the final game, finishing the evening with the last 18 strikes. It was a down week because he shot 770. Two rotations later, Ken shot his 2nd 300 in the league and wasn’t quite done. In another two rotations, I hope you’re noticing every two times at Lucky, he carried 32 of 35 and didn’t shoot a 300. His low game for that night was a super 279. He had the first 9 for 279, shot 280 and then finished with another nine bagger for a 279 and a series of 838. They didn’t name if Lucky Strike for nothing. WOW!! And if you really think that was a fulfilling season, you’re wrong. His team missed the Roll-Offs by just 2 points. What that meant was, he didn’t get any practice games before Tucson’s best sweeper. Before the league bowled, Roll-Offs and sweeper centers are drawn. Would you believe the sweeper was at Lucky Strike? Ken missed his 253 average with “only” a 754 series on sweeper night. And this is bowling across six lanes. You already know why I’m bringing this up. He won the four game Tournament of Champions worth $100 and Andy Clark’s Pro Shop bracket for $125 with a 248 game. He won singles worth $150 and ‘pick your partner’ doubles worth $100. That’s $475 so far. Include brackets and additional doubles cashing, for another record, the most cash won in the sweeper with $1337.50. Now that’s what I call making a statement to end the season!!! It was his season. Accuracy, speed, adjustments, able to play both sides of the lane when needed and one thing that I never mentioned before, luck. What? Luck played a part of his great season. It was definitely more good luck. Some of you know that certain pairs score better than others, break down differently. How the bowlers play the lanes and how many bowl from both sides? Not all pocket shots will carry all ten pins. I believe one center oiled the heads for us. The league had two position rounds and who he matched up against could have made a difference. Ken was zoned in this season, his second in the Traveling Masters, like no other bowler has seen. He didn’t make just one moment count, every moment counted was used to the maximum. But what did bowlers expect from this Hall of Fame member, after a “practice season” J? His super season was also bowled at 9 P.M., the second shift where some centers put down more oil because we were bowling. All this came after being Bowler of the season the previous season. He also won the TBA Masters title to cement his historic season. Bowling well for one season is one thing. He averaged 223.7, 0.7 opens per game and carried 6.9 strikes per game in the league. But to back that season up with a super splendid sensational season, that was almost supernatural, was unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed before. I ended up 6th high for average in the league, and at least I was around to watch some of the greatest bowling by any bowler in any one season.
What’s next you ask? The following season wasn’t as explosive. Only one 300 and no 800s. He did win Bowling for Bucks worth $975. In February 2002, he and Tony Viecelli gave notice that bowlers from Tucson, Arizona knew a few things about bowling. They led the ABC doubles for several weeks shooting 1418. Ken shot 2017 in All-events and was sitting in fourth place. To end the season on another high note, he won the third straight Bowler of the season in the Traveling Masters. He missed shooting 700 at each center. In Tucson’s best sweeper, Ken won $1024. Can you say WOW!!! Back to back seasons winning over $1000 in the sweeper. If Ken could make this money this kind of money every month, he wouldn’t have to work J. The next season, 2002-2003, he had a 700 at each center and was second high in average with a 2261 to John Cook’s 227.5. He just missed being Bowler of the season in the league for four straight. But you know the old saying, good things come to those that wait. In the 2003-2004 season, he did shoot 700 at each center. Ken was always ready to post great scores and the 26th week of the season, he shot 771. It wasn’t what he shot this week, it was the way he shot it. He opened the night with his 4thTraveling Masters 300 and he didn’t stop there. He carried the next six strikes for an 18 bagger. He owns the bookends record. 18 in a row to start after tonight, and three and a half years ago, finished with 18 in a row. Ken has shot the “Hosp 900” J. I don’t even think Ken knew an actual 900 was going to happen about ten years later. Fast forward one year and Ken was bowling nationals and helped his team shoot 3014 and sitting in 3rd place.
So as you just read, Ken Hosp is the ultimate competitor and maybe the GOAT for Tucson. If Dewey Yoho or Bob Majeske were alive, they might disagree. Bowling has gone through many changes, and to compare different eras, just makes it a topic of discussion. But there has been nobody who has come close to take away Ken’s machine like magnetic magnificence, his magical masterful methods to his madness, the many miraculous record breaking moments because of his majestic mental game, and going through a metamorphosis, making this season a monument for others in the future. Say that fast three times in a row and that sum up Ken’s greatest season of the many he performed.
Since I retired and wrote A Path to Excellence, 31 Days to the Zone, I wanted to update some articles I wrote and this is one of them. I bowled with Ken one season in the Traveling Masters and even though we missed the Roll-Offs, I was honored to be his teammate. This was a period of time that made bowling unforgettable. I can say I experienced it. Hope you enjoyed reading it.
The following was on the Who’s Who of the Traveling Masters: (July 25, 2014):
Hosp, Ken 17, 11-838, AZ State Hall of Fame ’95 and TBA Hall of Fame ’94. TBA All-events champ in 3 different decades, ’77, ’89, and ’97. AZ State Masters champ and Shot 813 in AZ State Masters. ACBA champ 9 times and Bowler of the year twice. 1st 300 in AZ State tournament. Perfect 900 on 31 & 32 at old Cactus Bowl in moonlight bowling color pins ’14. Bowled Masters league 10 seasons. Highest Masters league average is 235 for ’00-‘01 season.
Pg. 13: 7/3/20
NEXT (College of Mental Toughness): Mental library.
NEXT (Traveling Masters): Competitors Guide, article is below.
The Stats Plus Competitor’s Guide By Alan Brizee © June 14, 2003, rev. July, 2014 & Mar. 2020
Every time you show up to compete, you must know your competitors. This guide shows you what to expect and your plan of attack to take their money before they pack it up and go home. The usefull knowledge found in this guide is priceless.
You can never predict what kind of creatures will creep in to the local bowling centers to bowl pot games. Most are local 2 leagues a week keglers while some travel hundreds of miles, trying to take your hard earned dollars back home with them. They are like most of you that have something to prove. They also hope it will be their day to make enough to pay for their trip. You’ll need to understand who they are so they can go back home (to Phoenix or beyond) without your dough. You’ll need to have enough knowledge of what it will take to send them packing after you took some of their cash. Here then is a wide world primer to who you might encounter on any given day. Some of these persons could be subs in your league. This guide was originally intended for pot games bowlers. Since pot games are hard to find these days, they show up for tournaments and now some are taking over leagues. Use caution as they can disguise themselves better than they could years ago. You can’t say I didn’t warn you.
There was once 12 groups, and the newer breeds today are popping up around every corner in search of the ever popular Benjamin. Only the coronavirus has stopped the insanity and the average bowler is able to hold on to their savings since the centers are temporary closed. The mindless individuals from these groups won’t care if you lose your house, your shoes or the shirt you’re wearing. They’re like the telemarketers that want to drain your bank account if given a chance.
I have encountered 24 personalities that consistently show up. Anyone can win but some will be tougher than others. The newest group have more clout than brains. They are the dreaded and sometimes feared two-handed monsters that see Mr. B. make it look easy. They are now making roots in almost every city. I went to a junior tournament and saw more two handers than you could wish for. Only one of them that I watched, was pretty good. These 23 groups cover 98% of all bowlers. If I forgot your group, let me know and I can add it to this impressive list of competitors. Pot games, anyone?
And once again, I have to let you readers know that this article is strictly for fun and shouldn’t be taken seriously. After seeing an article in a golf magazine, I felt it was time to open the can of worms to inform other bowlers about what I have encountered in my many years of bowling pot games, leagues, tournaments and even competing against the pros in four tournaments. I need to warn you that some of these individuals may even be one of your teammate. Since I’m not a cartoonist, there are no drawings to help quickly identify these individuals. The descriptions should be enough and please, don’t lose any more money than you can afford to lose. Set a four game limit so you’ll have enough to buy gas for the trip home if luck isn’t on your side that day.
The Backer. They are washed-up bowlers who have more money than brains. They migrate nearby when somebody mentions cash games. They will bowl a couple of games to see if there is new meat in town. This gives them an inside view of the talent and who they might back when the next set of pot games start. Their personality is flashy and they will throw money around like it’s going out of style. Waitress and CSA’s will get huge tips from them. They have been known to say, “You look great kid. If you need some bucks, I’ll back you for 67% of the action.” To beat them, you just need a 210 or better. You very rarely have to worry about them beating you when they’re bowling. Your concern should be who they are backing and how many pros showed up for the pot games. They normally will shoot low 200s so a double or turkey will usually beat them. The problem starts when they say they had enough because they now will back the good bowlers and stay all night to take your money if you let them.
The Back-upper. They are the lefty want-to-be’s. Some of these players are not in their “right” mind out on the lanes. I’ve seen where the lefties have a shot that won’t quit and they feel the only way to pay their mortgage is continue throwing back-up balls. Their personality is always a little left of being right. They know they now have an “a” game on the left side and a “b” game on the right side. It’s the question of what game they need for that condition. They will use their “b” game if they’re winning. They have been known to say, “Let’s throw back-ups and see who wins.” To beat them, you’ll need to string strikes so they start thinking that maybe they should have played their “b” game. The back-uppers are out there for blood and the reason to show up for pot games. Fake an injury so you only lose a part of what you started with, if you haven’t won a game. If Ken shows up, he has had many 300’s, two half 900s and threw a 900 in color pins. You’ll have a hard time beating him. The others back-uppers can be beat if you fill frames with mostly strikes because they get confused easily when shooting at spares. (Check out Ken in dictionary.)
The Bowlaholic. They are always at the center testing the new balls hoping it makes them better bowlers. They bother their ball drillers for knowledge in buying the latest and greatest balls hoping that 300’s are drilled into them. They also try any new gadget hoping to get one more rev on their ball. Their personality is being quiet until pot games start when they wake up and become super competitive. Usually comes to bowl with a four ball bag and two three ball rollers for competition. They have been known to say, “I’ve been shooting 750’s with my 2 new balls and I’m not stopping now.” To beat them, you’ll need just a couple of balls drilled for the condition and let them know it’s not your first rodeo. Bowlaholics have been known to win big once in a while because of all the practice they get in. If you stay away from open frames, you beat them as they don’t practice shooting spares.
The Bragger. They are always willing to gloat about their 300’s, 800’s and tournaments championships every chance they can. They usually will only bowl pot games before the good bowlers show up as they can’t brag about losing pot games. Of course they can shoot some great scores during league, but when their money can be lost because of on bad shot, the pressure can get to them. They don’t realize the pot games isn’t about what happened last month, it about being able to perform under pressure to win the pot. They show up because they have some money and the ability, but will lose focus at times and have cost them from cashing. Their personality is talking about their bowling to everyone at the lanes. If only there were a few bowlers that cared about their accomplishments. They especially hate when coaches show up for pot games. They feel that they know more than most coaches from all the honor scores they shot and don’t need to learn anything else. They have been known to say, “I shot another 300 and had 812 last week in the Friday league.” To beat them, let them know that they will have to shoot those scores they’re bragging about to take your money. It will put more pressure on them and most of them can’t handle the added pressure. Make sure you’re wearing your 300 and 800 rings so they know you can shoot those numbers as well. Once they can’t walk the walk on the lanes, they’ll be walking to their car to go home.
The Coach. They are willing to help you during pot games, because they think, you’ll be thinking about what they said instead of focusing on the match. They’ll tell you all the pros they helped that are now in the Hall of Fame. Most coaches think that the one ball they brought will be enough to win big money. They can and have showed that they’re capable of shooting great scores. Most coaches can’t find a better coach to help with their game so they bowl some good scores, but not great scores. Their personality is letting most bowlers know they can reinvent your game and take it up 2 levels in just an easy two lessons. I can honestly say, they can help with your game, but not during pot games. They have been known to say, “After just one lesson, you’ll be shooting 700’s every other week.” To beat them, get them to analyze your game. Keep asking them if your push away is in line with their target. Trying to confuse them will help keep their scores lower. This way, they’re not thinking about their game. Stay in the present should be enough to put Benjamins in your pocket. (Check out Andrew, Bobby & Laura in dictionary.)
The Crybaby. They are always complaining about the lane conditions, the breaks their opponents get and the breaks they don’t get. They kick ball returns, act like the scoring system is a punching bag and drop balls on the floor in hoping that this will help their game. They love hearing themselves talk and hope others are giving them enough sympathy when the struggle to carry strikes. Some have been known to wear diapers under their jeans. Their personality is getting the waitress to get them a cheese pizza. (To go with their whine.) They aren’t happy unless they can bitch about something and looking for some sympathy from anyone near them. They have been known to say, “How could that not carry, it was in the pocket.” To beat them, on every shot they left something, let them know they were robbed. If they’re not steaming over that 10 pin, reminding them about it again will usually take them over the edge. Crybabies are always complaining about something as they’re almost never throwing the ball good enough to win. They focused on the 10 pin they left 5 frames ago, 4 frames ago and last frame. You do know that maybe once or twice a season, they bowl good enough to come out ahead. They love taking your cash almost, and I do mean almost, as much as complaining.
The DJ. They are more into dancing than bowling. They used to bring their huge boom box with them, but now because of technology, they only need their phone or I pad. They turn up the volume so much that someone usually tells them to turn it down. The one good thing about DJ’s is that they usually play the feel good 60’s on 6 on their app for Sirius XM. A few DJ’s can put up some great scores because they’re having such a great time listening to music, that their not so worried about their score, so they don’t feel much pressure. Their personality is wearing bell bottom pants and tie-dyed shirts of the Moody Blues or the Beach Boys. They say hi by giving you a peace sign. They have been known to say, “You should listen to Phlash Phelps phunny pharm in the mornings on Sirius XM. To beat them, you need to get three friends to ask them to turn down the music or turn it off. Once they can’t dance their way on the approach, they timing will be gone and their scores will also go down. (Check out the DJ entry and Phlash in Bowling dictionary.) (Check out Phlash Phelps in the Phinal Phour in Inspirations.)
The Gambler. They are always willing to wager money. They show up hoping for the $200, $200 and $500 side bet. They seem to never run out of money. They normally stay away from the $5, $5 and $10 action but will participate if the action is drying up and it feeds their egos. Most gamblers can shoot in the 270’s so if they get lined in, you may want to get out with whatever you won that day. Every dog has their day describes the gamblers the best. When ten bowlers and side bets of Benjamins are floating around, you’ll see more gamblers joining the action. Their personality is flashy by wearing expensive clothes, Rolex watches, diamond rings and bowling jerseys. They won’t show up in blue jeans. They have been known to say, “Double or nothing on the next game.” To beat them, you never double the bet. This will eat at them because they’re there for only one reason, to empty your wallet. They want you to think more about the money on the line then your game. If they never lined their pockets with cash, they would never show back up. But as always, newbies, creeps and want-to-bees show up weekly, so gamblers continue to show up. So just never bet more than you can afford to lose. (Check out John & Mr. Stats in dictionary.)
The Headless horseman. They are known for losing large amounts of cash after about four games. It’s the thrill of winning early that keeps them coming back. After all isn’t winning cash the American dream? They seem to forget that after winning early, they leave with no cash on hand. They’re lined in during practice and never make adjustments. If it worked the first game, it should be good for the rest of the day. Pots games are fun when you’re winning, but they forget that it can be profitable as well. They bring lots of cash and just continue to bowl till they run out of money. Their personality is wearing clothes like the homeless. Since they keep losing, they can’t afford anything better. They never make adjustments and won’t admit they don’t know how to adjust. One week every two years, they shoot lights out because their shot holds up the entire night. They have been known to say, “My shot was there last year, it has to come back.” To beat them, show up two games late so the transition on the lanes have taken place. Tell them they’re throwing the ball pretty good and wish them luck. Of course you meant bad luck, just hope that it’s not their night. They have been known to donate two to three hundred dollars almost every week while winning $50 to $60 once or twice a year.
The House mouse. They are eating cheese three meals a day to give them energy. Since they work at the center and get unlimited free practice, they know the characteristics of every lane in their 32 lane center. They can’t wait to make extra money when bowlers come around for the weekly pot games. Most don’t adjust fast enough and the reason why they won’t show up every for every pot game. Making just better than minimum wage doesn’t give them the opportunity to test their skills every week, because they won’t make enough money from pot games. Their personality is their clothes are the uniforms they wear for work. They’re able to tell you what pair is the highest scoring in the center and what pairs to avoid if you want to take home money. They have been known to say, “Can I get in your pot game, I had to borrow a few dollars?” To beat them, you’ll need to bowl games over 6 lanes so you have at least a chance of taking home some money. Make sure you pick the lowest scoring pairs for the 9th and 10th frames as this will psyche them out. They can come out ahead at times, but only if they bowl on one pair. You must not let them psyche you out with their strikes. Use all your tools in your tool box and your brain to make the right adjustments to defeat them. (Check out Joey in dictionary.)
The Hustler. They are looking for a fish to fillet. Traveling from center to center searching for easy matches to stuff their pockets with lots of cash. Where there are fish that have some cash, you better believe there will be sharks, coming for the kill. You know that bowlers normally pay their dues when starting out, but how much are the fish willing to pay to keep playing with sharks? I’ve seen it happen where the hustler got hustled because the fish took lessons and now bowls better. The hustler knows they can only keep a fish, hooked on their line for a short time. Their personality is taking everyone’s last dollar. Now the fish on the hook, wants to return the favor and usually lose even more Benjamins. They have been known to say, “Come on back kid when you have more cash.” To beat them, you’ll need to get them off their game by spilling a drink in the bowler’s area. This way, they’ll be more focused on staying away from the spill and hopefully away from the pocket as well. (Check out Dewey in dictionary.)
The Individualist. They are always by themselves in some corner of the center. They even think there is an ”I” in team (“teiam”, Hawaiian version). If there is doubles action, they grab their balls and go home. It’s all about them and don’t want to depend on others. Most of them have been single their entire life. They need to experience life on their own and are not afraid to announce this to others, willing to listen. If they bowl in a league, it will be a doubles league to avoid less interaction with “teiam”mates. Their personality is doing everything on their own and show up to bowl pot games in some gaudy shirts and pants. They want to just bowl singles action, because they don’t need no stinking help. You don’t want to draw this guy in blind draw doubles. They have been known to say, “If were bowling doubles, I’m out.” To beat them, you’ll let them know they must get in a side pot for doubles. They’ll get upset and won’t score high enough to even claim the last cash spot. When their money runs out, they’re gone as they won’t ask anyone for a loan or backing.
The Pro bowler. They are trying to make a living, traveling across the country in search of a few peanuts that the tour offers. The rookies and young guns need to supplement their income because of the cutbacks in tournaments. That’s why many will show up for pot games, as they can almost make more from bowling pot games as they can out on tour. The pros practice 100 games a week so they can shoot huge numbers at any given time. And yes, the pros can be beat, but it won’t be easy. Remember, they get discounted equipment right from the manufacturer before the public even hears about it. So armed with the latest and greatest equipment, only the top bowlers at that center stand a change of coming out on top any day of the week. Their personality is that they dress for success with slacks and the latest jerseys from the manufacturers. They tell everyone about the time they were crossing with Hall of Famers, and even beating them in a match. They have been known to say, “If you put in the work to become better, you could be out here on tour.” To beat them, you’ll have to bowl some of your best games and focus on what works. Pros are the real deal and are always ready for action. If you can’t beat them today after a couple of games, pretend you stuck on the approach and tweaked your knee so you lose a few bucks. Don’t beat your head against the wall and let them take all your money. They will soon be taking your whole house in the double or nothing match, and you’ll be living on the streets if you continue to bowl and can’t beat them. My suggestion is to check the schedule for the pros, as if they’re on tour, they won’t be at the center bowling pot games. (Check out Earl, Mark & Norm in dictionary.)
The Psych out. They are looking to just mess with your mind. Can you say crazy? Some go the extra mile and pull out voodoo dolls even if they’re not for you. Some will chant between shots so the gods will give them better results. They may even yell during your approach to throw you off your game. Their antics while you’re bowling can be distracting, but it really fun to watch what they do next. They will be ready to bowl if they’re winning and take much longer to bowl when they’re behind. They try to destroy your rhythm in the effort to pry money from your hand. Some will fill their pockets with rabbit’s foot to show that luck will be on their side. Most of them need luck just to shoot over 200. Their personality is wearing dark clothes, because they live on the dark side of life. Their necklaces will have a skull and may be gold so it stands out as a symbol of psychic powers they think they have. They have been known to say, “I would rather be lucky than good, because good bowlers don’t need luck.” To beat them, bowl the lanes and not these idiots destroy your focus. Keep your eye on the prize as their intimidation works better than most bowlers realize. They wouldn’t need to psych out their opponents if they knew how to bowl. They think this is their advantage over you.
The Sandbagger. They are looking for ways to make big bucks (and no wammys) in pot games and tournaments by keeping their average low in leagues. They average 180 playing 4th arrow when they ask you for a match. They think there’s a sucker born every minute, and it could even be you if you’re not on your game. They bowl out of their minds during pot games and tournaments, when they move outside into the dry and average 220. Consistency and accuracy isn’t their asset as their ball has soaked up so much oil that it loses it potential to actually strike when they need strikes to win. You have to watch out if the pro shop just drained the oil out of it. Their personality is having fun bowling badly. Their pot of gold is just over the hill at the next pot game or tourney. They wear old t-shirts and faded blue jeans. They have been known to say, “I can’t believe I missed that 5 pin.” To beat them, you just need to repeat good shots. Sandbaggers will only bowl pot games if the best bowlers in the center are bowling a tournament. They have trouble handling pressure situations because they don’t participate in any side pots during league. Repeating shots when money is on the line is not in their game of tricks because of all the oil soaked up by their ball during league.
The Shot maker. They are very accurate bowlers and pick up splits more than half the time. They have cleaned house on several occasions. They bring eight balls to bowl pot games so they can open the shot on the lanes after just two games. They can get into trouble when the high rev rate bowlers deplete the oil faster than the shot maker can make the right adjustments. Very few will go home with less cash than they started with. The reason why shot makers miss pot games is have jobs that they get called into work during the busy season. Their personality is watching the other bowlers for indications of when adjustments might be needed. They’re always cleaning their balls to get the best reaction from them. They get asked to bowl leagues all the time as they will have only one or two opens for every three games. They have been known to say, “Go get more cash form the bank. I’ll wait till you come back.” To beat them, get a bunch of doubles bets going, so they’ll constantly be checking on his partner’s scores and over load their brain. If Mr. C. shows up, all the extra side bets actually help his game. He knows that shooting 279 or better will be enough to sweep most of the bets and won’t have to worry what his partners are doing. If you can’t win some of his cash after two sets, it’s time to regroup next week. (Check out Dwight in dictionary.)
The Social Director. They are always on the phone texting friends, family and relatives. They have even bowled with their phone in their non-bowling hand. You always have to tell them when to bowl, so be prepared for matches to last twice as long when they bowl. They play the lanes so they won’t have to make many adjustments. This means that they can score because they turn to the internet for advice when having trouble. Thinking about adjustments will take away from texting the one hundred persons that are on their list. Their personality is hard to describe as they’re glued to their phone and won’t put it down. It’s not easy even talking to them and nothing matters, except for their phone. They only show up to bowl so newbies will be another new person to text. When they do talk, they say, “I need your number so we can text.” To beat them, you’ll need to text them before two bowlers before their up so they constantly looking for when they really are up and get whiplash. Can you repeat after me, “Easy match”? It will make it harder to bowl and make adjustments, if their neck is sore from the whiplash. This personality is far the easiest to beat of the 23 I describe.
The Space cadet. They are practicing on the wrong pair, don’t know when it’s their turn to bowl, bs’ing with their friends instead of being ready to bowl, will also throw the first ball they grab even if it isn’t theirs and keep an eye on the front door waiting for aliens from another planet that want to bowl. They bring three balls drilled the same way and think that each has a different reaction only because it is a different ball. They think they’re pro bowlers as they’re bowling for real cash on the line. Some bet $100 a game on the side and went home winners. After all, winning $200 for the day is more than some pros make bowling tournaments. Their personality is wearing tight fitting clothes, mismatched socks and wears a florescent ’Beam me up Scotty!’ shirt. They carry batteries because they don’t want to lose the brightness in their shirt. Some will wear goofy hats because they feel it helps their bowling. They have been known to say, “I knew that ball felt different.” To beat them, tell them the ball they haven’t thrown still have few strikes left in it and may win the pot game. They’re easily distracted, so the figure it may work. You must keep them guessing about what works because as soon as they throw a few strikes and figure the lanes out, it very well might end your day.
The Stat Watcher. They are constantly looking through about five notebooks trying to improve their game. Then after each and every shot, they input the results into their laptop. Some even bring small printers to have up to the minute results because it could affect their score if the stats, the whole stats and nothing but the stats were not up to date and the standards of the American Statisticians Association. They can tell you what their average is for each and every board they have ever played. The stat watchers can put up numbers depending on the number bowling. When the lanes get drier and adjustments must be made, they’re always second guessing themselves and their accuracy goes way down. They are also watching where others are playing and try to play the area of the lane where no one else is. Their personality is wearing a backpack for their laptop and binders and bragging they can out average you playing the three board. They have been known to say, “I have shot a 300 from 1st arrow, 2nd arrow, 3rd arrow and fourth arrow. To beat them, you’ll need to bring eight friends down to bowl with everyone playing a different board to give them less opportunities to score. Once they’re out of their comfort zone, playing where they only average 202.857, they most likely to lose four games before heading home.
The Storyteller. They are willing to talk your arm off if you’re willing to listen. Their stories are interesting and so many of us become guinea pigs to their tales. Some of them could write a best seller, except that their brain gets short circuited when they try to put their stories down on paper. They can wins pots from time to time, because those that were listening fell asleep. Some of their stories are actually true to life and usually are interesting if you have the patience to listen to the very end. Some even tell you how well they threw the ball many, many, many, many … years ago. The best storyteller, Mr. N. even knows some great card tricks and wastes that talent because he loves to bowl more. Their personality is wearing logo jerseys from the pros or nationals so others will know they actually lived the story. They want to meet as many bowlers as they can so they can start telling new stories about those that cross their path. They know pot bowlers themselves have some great stories and will listen, only if it is interesting enough. They have been known to say, “Over 30 years ago, I walked into an alley and Mark Roth challenged me to a match. I accepted and …” (I wanted the short version and it would take five pages to compete what they babbled on about.) To beat them, ask them about Nationals but beware, it might just put you to sleep. Remember that I warned you earlier. Every once in a while and late in the game, ask them to repeat part of their story. It sometimes will put them to sleep. (Check out Len in dictionary.) (Check out Len's podcast on Phantom Radio as the Phantom Strikes Again.)
The Thinker. They are making charts on how to become better. They keep stats for every pair and as soon as they get home, peck the info into their computer and print up the new results. The stats are very important to them as they use the print outs to learn useful information. They know their average each game and know what pair to bowl pot games on so they have the advantage. They also what they need to work on to improve their game for their upcoming practice sessions. Their personality is taking five minutes to throw each shot as they go through the motion of throwing the ball before every shot of the match. They check their log book to make sure they’re standing on the right board and their targeting is correct. They carry a graphing calculator to chart their next adjustment. They have been known to say, “I should have moved a board and a third instead of just moving 1 board.” To beat them, you must let them know every other frame that the lanes are changing. Of course the lanes are changing, even though you didn’t make any adjustments. They then calculate that into their equation. They will hit the pocket, but the entry angle will be off enough so they won’t carry. While they’re bowling, replace the batteries from their calculator with dead batteries. It has the program for making proper adjustments based on carry down, transition point and depletion of oil in the heads. It would make it harder to win without their calculator, but now it takes ten minutes between shots as they now have to estimate all adjustments on paper. (Check out Mike in dictionary.)
The Two-hander. They are always putting both hands on everything including the waitress. They saw Mr. B. do it on TV, where the pins exploded like throwing a grenade and they think that’s cool. They try to put more revs and horse power on their balls then a NHRA event. They don’t worry about their lack of adjusting skills, because all they need to do is hit the head pin, and most of the pins hit both side walls to strike. It is true, they won’t strike every time, but with a 97% strike ratio, they almost impossible to beat. Their personality is being overly aggressive and trying to pick up on every woman they see while they bowl. Hint: leave the women at home or you’ll be paying more attention to them being hit on by these monsters instead of your bowling. They will drink beer two handed because it’s in the brain that two hands are better than one. They have been known to say, “I need to get my rev rate higher to carry those off hits.” To beat them, pick the pairs that have the least amount of oil on them. They’ll be scrambling for less aggressive equipment and might be enough of an equalizer. You must let them know that spares will win a few games tonight. They have a four board pocket while you have just two boards. Those added revs are good when there is a lot of oil on the lanes. These two-handers will grove a transition point for them after only a half game. This spot will disappear after about 3 games. If you can’t beat them early, you may beat them late in the day. It could be a waiting game so bring extra money for that first set of games. Some of these monsters have been known to hit and run. Don’t be blind-sided. Instead of the usual $5, $5 and $10, get them in a $5 a game, $10 a set and $20 for a six game match. You will have to stay close in the match because they try to hypnotize you with their ten in the pit, shot after shot. They will have a few splits in game four or five, (yes, even a 4 count split) so NEVER, NEVER, NEVER quit if you have some close losses, your time is coming in games five and six.
The Visionary. They are looking at a wealthier future after tackling the lanes and taking down some of the best bowlers in the center. They only bowl when their planets in their horoscope are in line with the other planets, and look up their biorhythm to see if science is on their side. Then they go to a website for the best time of day to bowl. Pot games have been delayed due to what websites tell them. Who said that science could be a good thing? The good news is that they are only decent bowlers which is why the rest of the pot bowlers wait for them. A few that believe everything they read did win big a year ago and that keeps the rest of them, showing up about every six weeks. Their personality is bringing charts of the planets with them to make the right adjustment at the right time. Their problem is that they bring too many charts and this slows the pace, until everyone says that if they don’t bowl, they get zero for the frame. They have been known to say, “The planets tell me to use a different ball and move in.” To beat them, bring some fake charts and replace the ones they brought to confuse them. Your charts will indicate they need to move outside when the lanes are breaking down. After they figure that the planets aren’t helping, they usually bowl one more set before going home. (Check out Steve in the dictionary.)
The Wallbaby. They are only to be found on an easy walled up house shot. They stay away from conditions that require any accuracy on the bowler’s part. When the transition takes place and they have to make the second adjustment, they start crying to the front desk person and to the manager if he’s around. He is a one dimensional bowler and won’t play the lanes out of his comfort level. They know that to beat you, they must have their condition on the lanes to stand a chance to win. They may only bowl one set unless the lanes shot hold up for a second set. They have shot several 300’s and a few 800’s, so they can bowl up a storm until the transition changes the lanes. Their personality is being arrogant and they’re hard to be around. They gloat after they beat you and NEVER let you forget about it. Their heads will swell after winning a few games to match their egos. They have been known to say, “There’s a nice shot out there. I wished they could learn to keep this shot out there for at least eight games.” To beat them, you must pay the lane man a Benjamin so he won’t add anything to thicken the oil so the shot will break down sooner. Since the wallbaby will leave after maybe two sets, you must destroy his shot from the start. Tell the wallbaby that you want a rematch for double the action and hope he didn’t pay the lane man two Benjamin’s to double the oil for today’ pot games. Remember that he bowls only to clean you out and you throwing aggressive equipment, will change the condition sooner than he expects.
The Zoner. They are the center’s best bowlers. They have the best mental game of all the local bowlers. They very rarely ever come out behind for the day. They know how to adjust and have made them before they’re needed to continue throwing looooooong strings of strings of strikes. They bring just three balls to the pots games to keep their game simple make adjusting to defeat everyone in their way of cashing for that top spot. They aren’t rev dominate players as they are strokers who are as accurate as any pro on tour. They practice at least twice each week as well bowling two leagues to stay competitive. Their focus is unmatched from all the other creatures who show up for the cash games. They will win about 67% of the time and if they’re short of funds, they’ll find a backer within a few minutes. You can only hope that the zoner is bowling a tournament or going to a concert later that day. If you can get some doubles matches with him as your partner, you could double or triple the money you’ll win. With them as a doubles partner, he’ll help keep you lined in and stringing strikes. Warning: they won’t bowl doubles with just anyone. You’ll have to have shown in the past months that you could handle the pressure, and are a team player. Their personality is being prepared for anything as no one knows what the future holds. They may be the first to show up for pot games getting mentally psyched up for taking home your cash unless you can post some impressive numbers. They’re not there to make friends. They show up so at the end of the day, they’ll get the respect they deserve as well as your cash. They have been known to say, “After you left that split, I moved one and one and threw another eight bagger." To beat them, you’ll need probably need to shoot 279 or better each game. When the money is floating around, throwing the first ten happens almost weekly. You can’t psyche them out. You’ll need to bring all your cranker friends to dry the lanes up and maybe you’ll stand a small chance to win. If you think of bowling blindfolded, you’ll still end up with the short stick. They’ll just move in a little with a more aggressive ball and still carry strikes. Bringing you “a” game and string strikes from the beginning is your only chance. (Check out Scott in dictionary.)
NOW, you absolutely sure you still want to pot bowl against some of these crazed individuals? If you are, you also may have more money than brains. Three of these personalities, if and when they show up, would empty some of your wallet. But if you averaged 240 or better, you probably won’t go home broke. My thinking was to bowl two sets and decide if bowling more sets would make for a profitable day. It’s about the how and the who. No, not the rock group, The Who. How many are going to keep bowling? This determines the number of bowlers cashing and what first place will pay. Who’s bowling more pot games? It will come down to who do I have to beat for first place? After all, it’s not a popularity contest, it’s about taking home more cash than what I started with.
NOW for a reality check. What group do you fall under? Will the real you please stand up, be counted and claim one of these groups. You’re not standing because you fall under two groups. Well you just have to decide which one best describes you. I need an accurate count for my fantasy bowling league J.
As far as the pot games, normally we bowl for $5, $5 and $10, $20 per set. If 17 others showed up next week, that’s a super turnout with three pairs being used, with six on a pair. If you’re keeping notes and I’m sure you are, that makes 18 bowling two game sets. 3 would cash each game and set for a total of 9 spots. That’s 50% of the bowlers and I like my chances to grab some dough. It would pay $45, 25 and 15 each game. $90, 50 and 30 would be for totals. If high both games, $180 for your $20 investment. Not a bad day at the office. Years ago, it was more fun to bowl pot games than league. Pot games were instant paydays where league paid you after 35 weeks. For a few of these clowns that show up for pot games to try to take your wallet, the lanes are their office. Expect them to mess with your mind.
And now of course most of you want to know who I am? I’m more the gambler as I love the competition. Now that you know who you may meet, what’s at stake to win a steak, and how to survive this action jungle, take no prisoners and show them what you got. If you leave with the shirt on your back, no broken bones, most of your equipment and even just one dollar in your pocket, well done. You survived the dayJ. Congratulations on not losing your house.
Once again, don’t take this article seriously as it is more for fun, even though some of what I wrote is close to real life, at least for some bowlers I have read about on the internet. Even though I don’t believe everything I read on the internet, when names get used to describe a story, it‘s possible that it could have happened. I started this article after seeing an article in a golf magazine. It reminded me of the different types of pot bowlers that I bowled against 40 years ago at Keglers Lanes on Stone Avenue with over ground ball returns. When I started bowling pot games, a few called me “fish” because I donated for a short period of time. After about a year, some referred to me as ”shark”. I paid my dues, know the value of spares and became a better bowler from it. Over the last 20 years, there’s almost no pot games to be found. These are changing times, but is it for the better? I hope you enjoyed reading about the past just a little bit and find some action in your town.
Some pros have shown up to bowl with no money on them and left with hundreds lining their pockets. Seriously, this actually happened and they lived to tell us about it. When I heard this from different sources, it’s really hard to believe that it happened, but there’s a good possibility it did.
NOTE: This article would be better with drawings for each. I’m not much of an artist so I didn’t attempt it at home. If someone out there wants to accommodate me with drawings, I’ll publish them and get them credit.
Pg. 27a: 7/3/20
NEXT (Traveling Masters) : My top 10
NEXT (College of Mental Toughness): Mental library.