Oil Shortage; Tensions Flare on Wild Night at the Lanes

 They say a true craftsman never blames his tools. Frankly, that was my initial reaction when the first complaints about no oil on the lanes were voiced. Then more complaints trickled in. Then it was confirmed with the alley, and they apologized, and we shouldn’t have that problem again. In the meantime, two heavy favorites got waxed on the unfinished boards, a new team took over first, and the the standings experienced a major shakeup.

(Also of note, in a rochambeau tourney, this league would be easy to beat – 9 teams went rock, one went one of each, and one proposed drinks).

The Pinups 12 Dirty Half Dozen 3

Usually the DHD crew is a picture of joy and camraderie. They shout encouragement to each other, laugh, high five.  So it was apparent something wasn’t going right when I glanced over after a Dutch 8 and she winced, and seemed nervous heading to the bench, and her teammates were stone silent. Turns out it was because they were way behind the trash talking Pinups. The oil issue played a major role here, as scores were way down in these lanes. The biggest impact is on bowlers who spin, and the DHD duo of Jeltz and Harlyn were victimized all night. Still, the change in demeanor with the team was shocking. Perhaps it was the hangover from last week’s showdown loss to Off Constantly. Their confidence seems a little shaken too, as they lowered their chances of winning the title to ‘pi’. They do face BEER next week, and lately that’s been a cure for what ails a lot of teams. “Tonight puts us behind, but watch your ass, BEER,” noted the surly Riggs. Then he forced his team to practice. “Practice?  Practice?  You’re talking about practice?” stammered Jeltz in his wondertwin form of AI.

The Pinups started the year ok, then spiraled out of control with the loss of Chunk. Now, just as the league forgot about them, they have strung together two big wins to vault up the standings. Some may cast a dubious glance at last night’s results, as DHD rolled over 300 pins under their average, and the Pinups’ scores were overall unimpressive, but a 12-3 win is a 12-3 win, and knocking off the top team is still an achievement. “Look”, noted a defensive Big Ern, “we’re way ahead of expectations score wise, and way behind your mom-wise”. These guys would reek of confidence down 500 pins, and said their chances of taking home the title was greater than 100%. They did share a few things in common with the DHD. Both chose rock, and both referenced bowel movements they experienced when they heard of league expansion. Someone on DHD was “in the shower, and made a ‘tub ring'”. Big Ern was “in church. After I woke up from my shock coma, I had to change my underwear”. Gross and gross.

Off Constantly 12 BEER 3

With DHD struggling on the sticky lane next door, OC took advantage of the opportunity to take over first place. It is the first time all year we’ve seen a change in the top of the standings. All OC had to do was get by BEER and lately that’s been as easy as velcroing your shoes.

OC started the game with their often brash attitude a bit muted. Part of it was their respect, nay reverence, for opponent and league commish Hungus. Partly it was just a business trip for them, trying to just “do our job” against a lesser opponent and not suffer an emotional letdown after last week’s big game. Number One made sure of that, pacing his team to a big 4-1 win in the opener. BEER did post a 500+ score, but had no chance with Knuffi putting up a 145 and Oz being Oz. OC kept applying the pressure all night, and seemed bouyed by the attendance of injured co-captain Dick Liquor. After the game, they did some sweet breakdance moves and raised their chances of winning it all from 99 to 100 per cent. Also, in a touch of class, they named the entire DHD squad as “coolest opponent”.

Now, as for BEER. This is the second oldest team in the league, and being a veteran squad has its positives and its negatives. On the plus side, they’ve all seen a lot in their lives, and are not as likely as many of the younger teams to get too high or low based on a single night’s score. On the downside, it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks (also hard, as I have learned, to teach an old dog not to want to kill other dogs). Playing the top team motivated BEER and they stuck with OC for a while, but eventually “they just wear you down” noted Roy G, who paced BEER this week. Filthy had a nightmare of a week with a league record six splits. “I’m like a closer, man, you can’t worry about your last game – I’ll be fine”. One hopes. This game could have been worse but the Pin Whisperer (remember him?) scored 19 in his final frame to salvage a 99, a 2 pin win, and one last point for BEER. Up next for BEER, the other top dog, DHD, on what is sure to be a greasy lane.

“We’ll show up” noted Hungus, who then lathered on the bengay and popped some advil for his arthritic knees.

Derelicte My Balls 13  Saucy Posse 2

SauPo has been lingering in 3rd for weeks, and with DHD’s recent stumbles the door seemed open for a possible push toward 2nd place.  While the oilfree lanes played a role in the result, they were totally overrun by the suddenly explosive Balls, and now find themselves tied with Bubbles’ squad for 3rd, and actually lost a point in the standings to DHD.

“Hitchikers, pick em up” noted DSauce, drone like. The team has been repeating this mantra all year, win or lose. While noone knows what it means, the blank stares and monotone delivery makes it a little creepy and intimidating. Frank was a little more open, deviating from the family line.  “Oh my God!  We got our asses handed to us in the 1st game! And 2nd! And 3rd!”. True that. “The question” said captain PSauce, “is did we drink too much beer or too little?”. It was a bit of a comedown for RSauce too. Last week’s Bowler of the Week had to adjust his game to deal with the tacky maple, and his scores plummetted. “It’s hard to believe just five days ago I was dancing around my desk at work, rocking out to Pour Some Sugar on Me, celebrating the three week extension, now this. Talk about from highest of highs to lowest of lows”.

Bubbles’ Balls squad is pretty hard to figure. They have been all over the map, score-wise, but may be putting it all together. Any time Easy E, who started the season with a 46, rolls a 202, it is clear things are going your way. “What’s this bullshit about the lanes not being oiled” the newly confident E asked. “Bush league, psych out shit man. Laughable.”. Herbie ‘the love bug’ continued his late season push, and the rest of the team brought it as well. They win did go to their head, as they now rated their chance for a championship at 103.5%. “We are just as sexy as we thought we’d be” crowed The Silver Fox. “I’ll drink to that” shouted Bubbles. Then the team had a gas fight.

$3 Gutterballs 9 Purple Haze 6

In what was unquestionably the longest game of the season, $3 G’s picked up an important win to finally pull within striking distance of the middle of the pack. Purple Haze probaby should have seen this coming when the $3 G’s announced a new addition to their starting lineup: Ringer. Ringer didn’t disappoint. He led the team in game one, a 5-0 win where noone was under 130. An over exuberant Niclovin crowed “we are the shit, man!  We are Superman’s feces!”. Asked to comment about the fact they are last to finish each week, and on this week’s glacial pace, Highroller spread the blame around. “Other teams are slow. We are always the last to finish but it’s never out fault”. Sure sure. For those who were able to stay awake for it, the game did have a fantastic finish. Niclovin was last to bowl, needing a 2 to win the point for overall. On his first ball, he picked up the 10 pin. Game tied, one ball left. He couldn’t miss again, could he. Bam!  Straight in the left gutter. As he turned, shamed, the crowd yelled in shock. The ball had jumped from the gutter at the last minute to pick up one pin, winning the point. “Shyeah, I know. What?”.

Purple Haze is the other veteran squad, and like BEER seem to be wearing down. Lefty looked good all night, picking up a split on one of the highlight shots of the season, but after a demoralizing 5-0 loss in game one (despite a 492 overall), the team’s scores dropped each game. “Down and dirty” noted The Dude in a bit of a non sequitir. “We’re still alive. It’s a long season. I guess I’d put our chances of going all the way at 2%. Better than 0, right?”.

This team is still dangerous, but seem worn down by the toughest schedule stretch in the league, having faced the top three teams in consecutive weeks.

Spare Us 9   3 Livers 6

These two teams made me give up on predicitons. 3 Livers starts slow, then look like world beaters, then lose two in a row. Spare Us starts off at the bottom, puts some surprise wins together, becomes the first team to lose to Binga’s, now this?  I give up.

Spare Us captain Chupacabra was not completely surprised. “We come here to do two things, get drunk and kick ass. And win 50/50, so three things. I can’t believe we lost 50/50 this week. I think it’s rigged”. He believes his team is right on target with where it should be. It also leaked out this week that he is employing a cutting edge new computer program to figure out his lineups, working hard to find an edge anywhere he can. Interestingly, they learned of the longer season at the alley, and cried. I hope those were tears of joy.

3 Livers is as unpredictable as the rivers they ride. They say they have a 77% chance of winning, a number that frankly seems pulled from their collective ass, but who can blame them. Never wager on one of their games. Trust me. I did, and I had to scalp my tickets to the Jager Bomb Squad show just to save my kneecaps. “Say what you want about us, but everyone knows we beat Off Constantly, so we know what we’re capable of” threw in Maude.

Happy Hands Productions 9 Binga’s 6

Happy Hands continues their bizarre season.  “You know how we do” breathed Sasha “up and down, up and down”.  They say they heard of the league extension at work, “on the clock”.  Interesting scenario for porn stars.  I wonder how that scene ended up – did the joy of learning the news spill over into the shoot?  You’ll have to rent their next film.  Short of that, you could buy the upcoming BowlPortland calendar, being put together by HHP.  No word yet on what month they will be.

Binga’s has been buoyed by the addition of Wing Alex, even breaking through last week for their first win.  He and Wing Mike played well in this one, but it wasn’t enough for back to back wins.  They were perhaps the team most excited for the extension, as it gives them time to come together.  “I cancelled my three week vacation and speling clases!” noted Alec.  Tender Edna continued to represent the X chromosome, and also picked up the 50/50 pot.

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