Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Endless Winter of Bowling

An interesting fact about blogs from caslon.com: "Several studies indicate that most blogs are abandoned soon after creation (with 60% to 80% abandoned within one month, depending on whose figures you choose to believe) and that few are regularly updated."

I have now maintained this beast for 420 days. I am proud of that accomplishment. This is the 176th post. Many of these posts are meaty, not simple affairs. It has required constant maintenance, upkeep, data entry, and analysis. This blog is far from the average blog. I benefit from certain circumstances many folks of my age do not have. I am childless, so I have a lot of free time. I am a professor, so I have limited responsibilities for three months of the year. For the last nine months and the next seven, I have been on sabbatical, which means I have an incredible opportunity to do what I want when I want... i.e., very few employment responsibilities.

Many people have noted that the key to successful blogging is to write about what you love. I guess that's what has happened here, except I can't say that I truly love bowling nor that this endeavor has been a resounding success. I have an obsessive personality, although my obsessions are not long lived. I went through a golf phase a few years back where I went from essentially never having golfed to shooting in the 80's in a matter of 16 months. Then, my attention turned to bowling and fishing.

Like golf, to become a good bowler requires practice and repetition. The best bowlers in our league have been at it for a long time. There are many young guys (in their 20's and 30's) who average over 200 in our league. They have been competing since they were kids. They have more than 10 if not 20 years of experience. I have what amounts to about three. Progress is present, but slow and barely perceptible. It waxes and wanes.

The core of our team, John, Joe D., and I have all had our moments. In the first season, I carried the team. The next season is kind of a blur to me because I missed much of it with a ruptured ACL, and when I bowled, I did not bowl well. In the 1st half of the next season, Joe was the king of our team, and in the 2nd half, he was awful. Then, John stepped up and carried us. The first half this season belonged to me, and lately, Daniele has made a strong push as my bowling has gone south.

It's a strange bird, this game. Yes, you get better with time, but superimposed on that slow upward creep are big oscillations of bowling well and bowling like shit. It is easy to keep your interest and your drive when you are on the upswing. When things aren't going so well, it's a lot harder. Lately I have found my focus shifting elsewhere. I have no intent of ending the BM Report anytime soon, although I have been very close to doing just that on many occasions. Something just keeps bringing me back.

In Laramie, it has been cold. Yes, it has been cold everywhere, I know. It has been an exceptionally frigid winter as Arctic air has been deflected south all winter long (unless you happen to live in the arctic). But our cold is not like your cold. We live almost a mile and a half above sea level. The air is thin. We have ice and snow on the ground that is two months old. Cold here is like 20 below. I don't have much sympathy for you people in Atlanta whining about subfreezing temperatures. Try living that way for seven months of the year.

This is the context in which we bowl up here in the Rocky Mountains. The Bernaski season stretches from September to May. For most people that means late summer to early summer. For us, it is the endless winter of bowling. If you bowl well, the slippery drive home with the guys on icy streets is really fun. If not, you just long for the warm days when you can get up to the lakes near 11,000 feet and catch some brookies, bows, or cutthroats. Those days are still some five or six months away.

So, where am I going with all this? I don't really know. I guess I feel a responsibility to keep writing about bowling because there are a small number of people out there who look forward to what I have to say, usually as a distraction from work. My pace has slowed. My updates and analysis have been less frequent. So, I thought I'd let it be known what's on my mind. That's all.

Here's a brief synopsis of the last two weeks. Last week, we bowled Lazer Wash. We went 2-2. There are only five possible outcomes of any week of bowling 0-4, 1-3, 2-2, 3-1, 4-0. Strangely, this was the first week all season in which we went 2-2. It was a decent outing against the league's elite rollers.

Last night, we suffered a demoralizing and crushing defeat. Laramie Lanes Lounge absolutely killed us. They bowled brilliantly, and we had what was probably our worst night of the season. I led the team with a 442 series, not exactly a strong effort.

That's the endless winter of bowling.


  1. Don't let the idea of work (i.e. no more sabbatical) let you think you can't spend time on the interwebernets. I have a job, and am horribly unproductive :)

    Here's to another 420 days!

  2. To the Blog that will never Die!

  3. I can identify with the longevity of a blog being related to your love of the subject matter. My wife and I have kept our son's blog going for over 7 years and like you, we have had moments when we were on the verge of mailing it in.

    I found this blog when I was doing a web search on how bowling averages were calculated and found your Dec 09 post on the topic. Ten minutes later the BM Report was bookmarked and it's now part of my daily morning reading.

    I never heard of Laramie before I read this blog. As far as I'm concerned, this blog is Laramie's claim to fame, how could you even consider quitting?

  4. Seven years, huh? Wow. That's an accomplishment. I'm not surprised you haven't heard of Laramie. Other than the university, there's not much going on here. For what it's worth, I have heard of Vienna. I grew up not too far from there in the Mount Vernon area.


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