I'm so proud of them for all the hard work and sacrifice they've done; an awesome 39-9 record for an .812% at the break; best in the nation and should have them ranked among the elite 8 in the NCAA. That record includes 3 wins over the reigning national champion University of Maryland, and wins over FDU, Vanderbuilt and Central Missouri. Keep it up ladies!
Now onto the blog...
I've been watching PBA telecasts for decades. Long ago, I was fascinated how bowlers delivered the ball; the consistency of bowlers like Earl Anthony, Mike Durbin, Brian Voss and Wayne Webb. It was all about fundamentals back then.
Since 1992, the birth of reactive, it's less about how they bowl but now what they're using. Many Mondays the phone at the shop would ring and they would ask what ball so and so was throwing. It became less about the style and more about the ball.
In the last decade, the PBA adopted their animal patterns like Shark, Cheetah, etc. Kegel and the World Tenpins have also added to the library of lane play with all their varieties. Every local event advertises Dead Man's Curve or an evening on Broadway. So no tournament is announced without the lane pattern anymore. No longer is it as much about how you throw or what you use but where you play.
With the internet, bowlers can look up on youtube.com for advice on how to play these conditions. USBC Team USA members and PBA players alike will tell you their method for nearly every condition; which balls would be appropriate and where to look and stand; hand positions to use and what balls to transition to. To me, this is good to help bowlers work on playing different parts of the lane. We know that short patterns are attacked more on the outside and longer oily patterns are now best attacked inside. But how is this making bowling better?
I ran a Turbo clinic at White Plains a couple months ago with the pleasure of PBA superstar Bill O'Neill and Gold coach Lou Marquez. They we showing a theory of taking 6 shots to determine a bowling pattern. Billy O went upstairs and blind to the condition threw a series of shots to determine the length and volume of a pattern and while he thought it was a medium length condition, it was in fact short. I found this interesting because his ball choice and moves might not match up to his first impressions. I felt I had a secret. I had knowledge he didn't so his thoughts I knew were only partially right about what he was bowling on.
The drama of watching him try and identify an unknown pattern was intriguing. I would love to watch a pro bowl on a mystery pattern and tell me what he does to "match up." Are you going to move, change balls or change your game? Is it a complex move or a simple one?
Let's think bigger. What if a PBA title were on the line and they used a fresh mystery pattern each game of a finals? Consider it a brand new puzzle to solve where each bowler is given 5 shots and a 4 ball arsenal to read, align and execute their best game? Why can't there be about 30 different choices where we watch the machine rolling down and back resetting the previous match into a fresh unique condition? Wouldn't that make for serious drama as we watch top players in the world totally blind to what ball and where they'll play? Perhaps a short gutter shot for game one and then a super long flat pattern game two? Would they play them right or get lost? That would be an amazing challenge.
Will they make the big move and risk an open to perhaps find a better part of the lane to play or be content to stay where they are and change balls and their game? The announcers would have a great time being the voice of perfect knowledge. Since the matches are now taped, they can post dub the "if he stays here since it's a short pattern, anything he misses inside his target or slow will hook way too much" and there it is. A miss inside. Now it's the "he should use the other shinier ball and get more up the back and move right or firm up with the medium ball." Reading. Now that's something we're totally missing from bowling.
In this scenario, all 3 eras are in play. The consistency of the 80s, the equipment of the 90s AND the advanced lane play of the 00s. For an absolute fact, the best bowler wins.
I watch the World Series of Poker. Outside of the finals, the early rounds are all filmed and the announces know the outcome of a hand. So they already know who has the better hand while it's going on. The tension is watching a player who we already know is a loser consider making the WRONG move based on his imperfect information. The PBA could be the same way. Lets say the pattern is long but a player believes slow and outside with a dull ball is the way. He's pushing his physical game and equipment to make up for the playing the lanes wrong. The drama is can he do it?
Reoil every game with a mystery pattern. The telecast can be done so that the announces can inform the viewers the condition while the players are totally in the dark. That's what can make bowling fun to watch. 5 shots each and bowl for score. Read em and adjust like lightning. That's bowling where there's tons of skill and experience involved.