Monday, March 1, 2010

Bipolarity in Bowling

I have no explanation for our team's bowling problems. They are similar to EB's in that we seem to be hot or cold with little in between. Lately, we have been on the cold side of things. Earlier, in the season, things were quite a bit warmer. I was looking at our team time series down there on the lower right, and I was struck by two things. First, our four worst bowling outings have all happened this season. That's more than a little disconcerting. Aren't we supposed to be improving? Second, it really looks like we are bipolar bowlers. We either bowl pretty well or very poorly. There is very little in the middle.

So, I made a histogram of our team series for the season to this point. Histograms show the distribution of the values of a variable, in this case team series. It simply shows how common different values are. Here is what it looks like:

This is not normal in two ways.. If you look at the distribution of virtually any bowling statistic for a bowler or a team, it will be "normal", or bell shaped. There will be a peak or mode in the middle of the graph, which tails off to the left and right. This distribution is bimodal, meaning it has two peaks. It's abnormality stems from its lack of normality, if that makes any sense. The lower mode falls around 1,625, or an average of 135.4 pins per bowler per game. The higher mode is at 1,825, an average of 152 per game.

So, yes, we seem to have two modes of bowling. Sometimes we bowl well; sometimes we bowl terribly. We rarely have a night when our bowling is comme çi comme ça. Why is this? I have no idea. If this pattern described a single bowler, I think I could argue it's mental, as EB is fond of saying. But this pattern describes the bowling of four guys who lack psychic unity. I am also pretty sure that it has nothing to do with the consumption of bowling juice. Whatever it is, I suggest tonight we add to the height of the peak on the right side of that graph.


  1. I never considered the "psychic unity" angle... (I've already considered the the "psychotic unity" angle, though.)

    Good luck tonight, you guys!

  2. Thanks EB. We are in great need of a good night on the lanes.


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