That was something. Last night marked week 6 of league play, and it was obvious that teams have moved past the adjustment period and are settling into a groove as we move toward the postseason. There was also a tangible playoff atmosphere in the air as at center court the league featured its marquee matchup – Off Constantly vs. The Durty Half Dozen. The intensity of that showdown spilled over into surrounding lanes, made evident by the shouts and clapping, and especially the fist pumping, toe tapping celebrations from the players. Over a dozen players would set personal bests. Frankly, I paid more attention to the game of the week than any other, even my own, so the writeups of other games are a bit short on detail.One note before the game recaps: a tentative arrangement has been reached between the league and the many team owners for a three week extension to the season. All that is left to be worked out is the financial issue, as each team will have to come up with $150 for the extension ($25 per player) to fund the three week extension. It appears this will all be worked out smoothly by next week when the Owners meet with League Management. Testing for performance enhancing drugs is off the table in this round of negotiations.
Game of the Week:
Off Constantly 10 Durty Half Dozen 5
This was the game everyone had been waiting for. The extra attention was not lost on the players, as you could sense the tension during warm-ups. After the balls were buffed and tattoos were applied, the teams lined up next to each other for some practice rolls. Each roll was not so much about working on their game, but more about gaining a psychological upper-hand on the opponent. Glares were exchanged after practice strikes, smirks after practice misses. The tension was palpable.
The pressure may have gotten to a few of the players, but not Number One. He made a statement in Game 1 with a 187, 60 points over his average. Oz and Tron finished under their averages, but the pressure seemed to have more impact on Durty Half Dozen. This team has been in first from day one, and they have felt all along that they belonged there. Off Constantly was the preseason favorite, and knew they were the top pin team, and have wanted to reassert themselves as presumptive favorites. Durty Half Dozen may have been pressing, as Jeltz and Riggs finished a combined 99 points under their average in game 1. Harlyn P finished strong and DHD did salvage one, but momentum was clearly on the side of OC.
Game 2 saw two substitutions: Pirate came in for Jeltz, and Knuffi for Benny Boom. The subs weren’t the main story however; the main story was Oz. Oz had struggled to a 132 in game 1, but came out on fire for game 2 with four straight strikes, followed by a spare. He would finish with a 200, his first of 2 200+ scores. Riggs picked his game up, and Dutch put together a very strong performance with a personal best 130, but even a combined team score of 512 couldn’t save them from a 4-1 loss.
With the win wrapped up, OC stuck with their lineup. DHD had had their air of invincibility pierced, and one wondered how they would react. The answer was clear fast: they combined for 5 strikes and 3 spares in their first 8 frames. Oz kept pouring oit on for the Off Constantlies, rolling up a 211, but with the exception of Harlyn P mock bludgeoning Oz with a bowling ball, the team kept heir focus, knowing that point was out of reach but picking up the rest, coming to a 3-2 win for a final score of 10-5, OC. Jeltz had the biggest rebound, from 97 to 164.
After the game, DHD still holds a 6 point lead in the standings, but OC has the confidence of a league leader. DHD captain Riggs noted that the loss will “keep us hungry”. OC brothers Tron and Number One simply noted “we’re hungry now” and went to Binga’s. Both teams had full attendance at the bar, as after such a competitive match, a few beers were definitely needed to take the edge off.
Binga’s Wingas 9.5 Spare Us 5.5
Maybe it was the fact that they were hosting the post-game. Perhaps manager Al’s constant roster tweaking (14 players thus far) bfinally hit on the right combination. Whatever the reason, Binga’s finally broke through with their first win of the season. Central to their rise is newcomer Wing Alex. He paced the team with a 2 game score of 323. Al, who never stops looking to improve his roster, apparently has a call in to Rick Cleves, who signs at Yankee Lanes proclaim rolled a 300. The Winga’s also welcomed back Tender Edna, the first woman they’ve had in weeks. “It’s been like a prison on this team” noted Eric ‘D-Bloc’ Rand, “it was nice to have a Tender around finally. Wing Mike was starting to look like Gisele.”
Spare Us finished with a team appropriate score of 5.5. “So we can’t bowl, but we can 50/50 baby!” noted an excited Chupacabra after his team took home their third straight 50/50 win. Sticking with the theme, the team plans to invite 50 Cent to bowl with them. “Our score was irrelevant, we’re going to Disneyland!”
Saucy Posse 12.5 Purple Haze 2.5
With all the attention on the top two teams, Saucy Posse has quietly solidified their hold on third place, just under the radar. After N Sauce picked up bowler of the week honors last week, this week R Sauce felt some extra motivation. He had the night’s high score with a 221, and followed up with a solid 188. The team also welcomed back Frank for a full complement of players. “We’re like Genghis Khan meets Sarah Silverman” noted captain P Sauce. “Today we’re f’ing Matt Damon, tomorrow, the world!” Amen to that. The best news on season extension may be getting these guys a showdown with the top teams.
The Haze never got it going this week, one week after nearly knocking off DHD. “Not much to say” noted The Dude, “brutal stretch in the schedule, we stunk tonight.” H Stein wasn’t bothered by the score, but was distracted, actually answering a phone call while rolling. She still got a 7.
Pinups 12 Happy Hands Productions 3
Lady luck was smiling on the Pinups this night as they pulled off the league’s big upset. 10 of their points came with wins of under 10 pins. Still, close wins count the same as big wins, and the Pinups were psyched to move up the standings. They attributed the victory to “our awesomeness, and the long run of Michael Jackson tunes. And Happy Hands’ attempts at seduction were lost on us – we’re bowlsexual.” They set a record by playing 8 bowlers in one night. Still no word on the recovery of Chunk, one of the great mysteries of the season.
Happy Hands made some critical mistakes in judgment before the game even got going. I’m pretty sure they ended up at Tortilla Flats again, pretty much guaranteeing a miserable 24 hours. Whether or not they went there, their play left them with upset stomachs. “To lose so many close points – over and over. It was like our ‘Ron Jeremy’ night, fun, and hairy, but ultimately just gross.”
Derelicte My Balls 8.5 B.E.E.R. 6.5
The co-commish smackdown was full of ups and downs, and appropriately ended with Hungus and Bubbles tying for the final point of the night. B.E.E.R. got off to a strong start, opening a 4-1 lead on the strength of Tom Richards bangin’ opening. But DMB quickly turned things around with a tightly fought but ultimately overpowering 5-0 victory in game 2. “We were thinking of Dick Nixon’s White House bowling alley, and Michael Jackson, and Vince Vaughn, and somehow it all worked itself out” noted Bubbles, who is also tied with Hungus for %100 postgame attendance. Herbie “The Love Bug” sped to a 180 in the final game, and the teams finished with 2.5 to 2.5 tie. Both teams admitted to being distracted by having front row seats to the game of the week. With the result, DMB and BEER flipflopped positions again, with DMB moving to 5th and BEER back to 6th. One of these teams will have to get hot to crack the established top four seeds.
3 Livers 10 $3 Gutterballs 5
The Battle of the Threes turned out not to be much of a battle as the Livers jumped out to a 5-0 lead and coasted home to victory. $3 Gutterballs held on to 11th place despite the loss. “We’re regulars at postgame, we look good bowling, and we know it” noted NicLovin. “Extend the damn season already, we can’t imagine a sober Tuesday”.
Three Livers does their talking on the lanes, as they are old and need their sleep, so do not attend postgames (with the exception of Maude). They did note, very uncomfortably (and anonymously) “this league rocks my bunghole.” Yowks.