I’m not sure a writeup could do the all-star game justice, but no mention of it certainly would be an injustice. Opening night had its moments, but it was spread out over two nights and four time slots. BowlPortland has grown to a point that moments of leaguewide unity are particularly appreciated. That’s why the semis and finals night, with seats lining the lanes and intro music and all the bells and whistles will be amazing, and that’s why the all-star game was incredible.
The tone was set early as bowler after bowler entered the alley – to watch. Several teams sent large delegations to cheer on their representative in the game. Over the course of the evening around 35-40 BoPoers would come just to cheer. It was an inspiration to the rollers.
Tuesday had taken some lumps over the first five weeks on the trash-talk board. The Junior league, JV or whatever. Having been at all the Tuesday and Thursday game, I knew that was a misconception. I did believe that Thursday had more firepower, but thought it would be close, especially with Thursday having to turn to bowlers #13 and #15 due to absences. What quickly became apparent, however, was that Tuesday was in no way starstruck, and believed themselves to be the superior team.
Tuesday Captain Jerk put together some great fivesomes, each with a very distinct personality. He split the Team Micaela power-trio of Bama, Stevie Strikes and Gutterboy onto three squads, bringing Bama onto his own team to get a close up view of the new guy nipping at his heels for top-dog status. Cheddar created an uber-squad of Thursdayers including the top three men (himself, Oz and Danny Diesel) and the top two women (La Gatita and Coco). But it was his fourth squad, the self-anointed Castaways that would be the difference makers on this night, going 7-1. Filthy McNasty (12th), Number One (14th) and Shithawk (15th) teamed with Sneaky Pete, an all-star lost behind the noise of Dr. T, and Lucky, part of a very dangerous Y&B squad, used the perceived slight as motivation in stealing the honor of night’s top team.
The shouts from players and fans alike of “Tuesday” and “Thursday”, teams finding unity based on their nights, the old rivalries rekindled with bowlers that don’t get to play each other very much, all created a great night that reminded the crowd of BowlPortland’s potential as we head into the final stretch of the season and the playoffs. (Also evident, even though The Walkaways are the team to beat, League scorn is reserved for reigning champs BEER, as all BEER players were booed on introduction, including newcomer Coco Lopez and emcee Karl Hungus. Interesting.) The 17-15 score was practically irrelevant (except for the prize – which is that when Tuesday teams play Thursday teams in any playoff matchups, Tuesday teams have to enter their lineup first). Let’s get into the heart of the season!
Writing will return, and we’ll make it more interactive. The real stories are going on in the captain’s emails, so hopefully some of you will share some of those and we can run them. Come out now and then and watch the other night bowl. The league has gotten huge, but it’s nice to see we still all can pull together.
On to the lines!
Game of the Night: Tuesday
I.B.S. (-3) vs. Strikes of Hazzard (8pm)
Lost in the hoopla of Oolie’s trash talk, the IBS squad behind him is putting up solid numbers. The Ram brothers in particular are playing well. The team hasn’t been dancing as much, and do seem to be looking for a spark. Maybe the all-star game was it. The Strikes and their two all-stars have been up and down, but on their good nights can beat anyone. And they shore can run shine.
Team Micaela (-11) vs. 3 Livers: The rest of the league finally got a glimpse of what Team Captain Micaela has known for some time: Team Micaela is loaded with talent. Bama, Stevie Strikes and Gutterboy are as strong a top three as you’ll see in the league, and Mona Laudley’s frills add panache to the black and pinks. They battle an improving 3 Livers, who looked lost for a few weeks before turning it around. Wilma got her groove back and Bernie got a wrist-brace. They won’t be intimidated, and will battle til the end, but a win is too tall an order.
Sweet Rolls (-1) vs. Gutterballs: The Gutterballs sit 8 points ahead of the Sweet Rolls in the standings, but the Rolls are rolling nearly 40 pins higher per game. The Sweet Rolls look great one week, then collapse just as the fans are getting their hopes up. The Gutterballs are flying totally under the radar, but keep doing whatever is necessary to keep picking up points. I Think the Sweet Rolls have the talent to win by more, but the Gutterballs are guttier.
Balls Of Fury (-5) vs. Pinups: For years, Pinups fans had to wait on pins and needles to find out if Oft-Injured Chunk would be in the starting lineup or out again with ailments. With Chunk off the roster, I though maybe it was possible Big Ern would seize on the certainty and get more out of the rest of the roster. I was wrong. The only thing he’s getting more of are Screwdrivers pulsing though Hugh Manatee’s system. The Balls of Fury have yet to really integrate as an expansion squad. That will probably take them getting plastered at the Bowling Ball this year. Maybe because captain Bacon is the little sister of BoPo star Danny Diesel, the team is staying quiet. They could get a little louder with a win here.
Lesbowlians (-7) vs. Madbotts: This is it for these squads, a golden chance to jumpstart a season, or at least a rare opportunity to gather some points. The Lesbowlians looked on the verge of breaking from the playoff play-in crowd after last year, but have taken a step back (in spite of the impressive all-star game of Tilt-A-Whirl, the great team camaraderie, and the excellent shocker t-shirts.) The Madbotts may be playing this game on a whole different level that we can’t grasp. The entire season may be part of some avant-garde performance piece. Who knows what happens if part of that performance is supposed to involve a win, or three mimes, or a squirrel hauling a miniature pioneer wagon.
Saucy Posse (-9) vs. Bowlderdash: I thought Bowlderdash was a franchise doing everything right, taking positive steps forward each season, building team unity and working on their games. Michael Bowlton even took home a Captain of the Year award. Lately, though, it looks like the progress has been halted. This week is a tough one to judge them by, as Carrie Okay is having to pick up the reins of the absent captain and rally some subs. The Posse has different goals – they want to break into the league elites, not just best of the rest. Walter has made the leap, and now Hot Sauce is powering his way to all-star status. N Sauce is on the shelf with a baby on the way. At the post all star game after hours tourney, I said to Redonk “you know, if you get it going, Saucy Posse becomes a really tough out.” He looked at the ground and shook his head. “I know that,” he said gruffly. “Everybody knows that!” Apparently he’s heard this line of reasoning and it may be wearing on him. Still, it’s true, and he may be getting his game back. Look out.
D. – G.U.T.S. (-7) vs. UREA!: The GUTS crew has had an interesting welcome to BoPo. They rolled into the league with a Media League championship behind them, but knowing they were stepping up in weight. The thing is, they may have been blinded by the big lights, as on a talent basis they have Sweet 16 potential. They came up big in Capt. Collection’s grudge rematch with Boston’s Incredibowls, but are mired in the bottom of the standings coming out of the all-star break. If he gets slightly more from Old Thumper/Pot Loughran they could make a second half run. UREA! has been fielding odd teams, sometimes captainless. I don’t know what to make of them after T-$. I need to see more fire in team Captain J-Bird to put more faith in these guys.
Incredibowls (-3) vs. 5 O’Clocks: The 5 O’s may be having more fun than any team in the league. They really seem to be enjoying themselves. Very impressive. The Incredibowls need to rediscover their inner joy. My prescription would be a booze-fueled post-game bonding session, but then I am a part-time booze merchant.
White Whale (-7) vs Pud’s Taxi: I’m not sure what became of the dancing Pud’s of yore. This is the team with so much joy they could often be found in snowy after party dancing in the Yankee Lanes parking lot. Something happened when they lost the mint green, I guess. Maybe this contest with some familiar faces will reignite them. White Wale has got it all working right now. Three all-stars easily could have been five. They have a ton of confidence and enough perspective on life that they find the idea of having bowling confidence slightly amusing.
Binga’s (-11) vs. Roll Another: There’s a rumor floating around the bowling community that General Tso won an afterhours high-stakes singles tournament over players including McQueen, Booth, La Gatita, Hungus, Number One, Gutterboy, Chernobyl, Walter and Redonk. True or not, he’s been playing well, and Jerk has proven a capable captain. Layne and Cookie are always practicing, these guys have their mojo back. This is one of those games Roll Another has disappeared in the past, but I am starting to believe they are different this season. Picking up a few points in this game might really convince me.