I think it was rather ambitious of me to try and make a full-length post out of this topic. Let's see what I can do. I can always resort to "this is what I did today", I suppose.
Anyway, let's start with generalities. There are two ways to approach bowling. One is simply to roll the ball straight and hope for the best (the "straight" approach). The other is to put spin on the ball, start it wide, and have it curve back towards the center just as it reaches the pins (the "curvy" approach). I've been "straight" bowling my whole life, but I've reached a point where I'm not getting any better. This is likely typical of all "straight" bowlers - no matter how much you bowl, eventually your performance will cap out at some point, and you'll still get beat by all those "curvy" bowlers, because apparently "curvy" bowling is the only way to get really good. So if you want to improve your game beyond the "straight cap", you'll have to switch sides.
Now, I'm not saying I'm one of the best "straight" bowlers out there. Far from it. But I'm still not getting any better, and I was curious, so I recently decided to give "curvy" bowling a try. Actually, I don't really care that much about my bowling skill - I know I'm never going to be that good. My main motivation isn't to get better, it was just to screw around and try it out. I'm just trying to relate to the very skilled "straight" bowlers by discussing the "straight cap". (I can already feel it...I'll have no problem whatsoever making this a full-length post.)
Here's a question: why don't you see any crappy "curvy" bowlers? All the "curvy" bowlers you see at the bowling alley are pretty good. (With some exceptions of course, but even the bad "curvy" bowlers can still beat me most of the time.) Every "curvy" bowler probably started out as a "straight" bowler. When did they make the switch? And why don't you see anyone at the bowling alley who's in the process of switching? (By that I mean, a "curvy" bowler who obviously is just trying the curve out for the first time, and scoring very low.) Well, anyone who was at Northland Bowl in State College on Monday around 700p would have seen two people who fit that description. (I'll let you guess who the other person was. If you need a hint, read yesterday's post. Or the day before's.)
The main rule for this experiment is that we must attempt to spin the ball as long as there are at least 3 pins remaining. If there are one or two pins left, we are allowed to roll the ball straight to pick up the spare. Not that it really mattered at first - this rule never came up in the first game, at least for me. Final score: 23. I was happy, because my goal was just to break the score I put up at my friend's 1st-grade birthday party. (That being an 11. Made more impressive by the fact that it included a strike.) Well...can't quit now, right? Let's try it again. Second final score: 69! A vast improvement over the first game, and I even got a spare. (I might have gotten another mark or two, but I don't remember for sure.) Once I figured out the grip, a mechanic, and a place to aim, I started actually knocking pins down. That's another thing we didn't want to do - either ask knowledgeable "curvy" bowlers for help, or do research on the proper mechanics. Not only would that take all the fun out of it, but that wasn't the point of this exercise. Besides, I learned how to play disc golf not by learning the proper mechanics, but by screwing around until I found something that works. (But don't try that method with regular golf.) I don't remember Amber's scores, but she did get at least one legitimate strike. (And a cheap one by "accidentally" rolling the ball straight. Cheater!)
So, what are my lasting impressions? 1) "Curvy" bowling is a lot harder, obviously - you need to spin the ball just the right amount, throw it with just the right speed, and throw it in just the right direction. In "straight" bowling, all you have to do is throw it straight. I guess that's why so many people bowl "straight". 2) It's a lot of fun - more fun than "straight" bowling, even though I get twice the score with "straight" bowling, at least for now. 3) I look "professional". If someone in another lane sees me doing my "curvy" thing, they're automatically impressed, at least until they look at my score.
This is definitely something I'd like to try again. After all...if I triple my score again, I'll throw a 207 next time! (Unfortunately, my score as a function of repetitions probably isn't an exponential. Maybe it's a logarithmic.)
Today's random thoughts:
1) A lot of times, you'll see an advertisement on some food item for a movie - often it's cereal, chips, or crackers. Often by buying the food item, you can get a great deal on some cheap toy or something related to the movie. My question is this: who benefits more from this arrangement? Is it the movie, from the added publicity they get from having it plastered all over the box? Or is it the food item, from people who buy the food item because they liked the movie (or want the toy)? Either way, both sides benefit, and that's why you see this kind of thing so much.
2) For the first time ever (my parents' house doesn't count), I have my own dishwasher. It's really nice to just put dirty dishes in there, put in some Cascade, turn a couple knobs, and the dishes are clean a couple hours later. But using it feels like a terrible waste, because I don't have enough pots and dishes to fill it up before I have to use it. So every time I use the dishwasher, it's at best half-full. Oh well, I'll get over it.
3) My officemate got Bojangles' for lunch and brought it back to the office. Ugh...I wasn't happy about it. Stupid novelty protection...now I want some Bojangles'. But, I'm going to be strong and wait until July 24th. I guess the one-Bojangles'-per-month thing isn't as much "novelty protection" as it is "blood flow protection". July 24th is a Monday - I'm already making plans to stop at Bojangles' on my way back from work.