Last year there was a lot of preseason chatter and consternation about a newly assembled team made up of high-caliber BoPo players. The low-on-rules structure of the league was thought to be under serious doubt with no way to prevent this new super-team from straight dominating the league. They were derisively called the Miami Heat by their detractors. Well, much like their namesakes, they failed to win a title, two original 12 teams battled in the finals, and the league survived. In fact it got better. Teams from 1-36 seemed to enjoy themselves, scores continued their gradual climb, shots were drunk, and people smiled and danced.
That was 2011. Now we are facing a similar threat, but a seemingly much more daunting one. Instead of a super-group of BowlPortlanders, we have a new team entering the league that is a super-group of actual league bowlers. For now, let’s just call them the Heat. Or maybe the Eagles. You’ll see them in the standings as The Steves, and they present the latest challenge to the rules-free structure so carefully maintained over the first four seasons. The Steves boast House Pro Stevie Strikes. His two 300’s on the wall and 225 draft league average are probably all that need to be said about him. They also have Bama, the tempermental wunderkind with the sweet stroke but a hatred of walls. On the ladies side they have Made In Japan, whose average will climb precipitously as she has been bowling an average of 19-22 games per day for the last month and shows no signs of going away. Oh, and Gutterboy’s Mom, who is some sort of semi-pro bowler who will be disappointed if her scores dip below 200. The final piece of the puzzle is Gutterboy. He has a strong game and would be the ace on most teams, but on this team he’ll be needed in his nbon-bowling capacity. The only Achilles Heel for these guys will be their lack of cohesion. They will grow accustomed to being the big bad bullies, but who will right the ship and keep them together if they ever face any adversity. That will fall on Gutterboy.
So, that’s The Steves. Or, The Heat II.
At first glance there are a few teams that can at least contend, but who can the fans get behind as a feel good story to knock out the big bully? You always have to start with defending champs. In our case it’s two-time winner Off Constantly. They always overachieve, so you have to keep them in the conversation, but these all-americans certainly won’t generate the underdog fan support. Also unlikely to gain that slice of support is BEER. They are looking for a third straight finals trip, but the BoPo crowd has a hard time cheering for Cheddar and Hungus (despite the amazing fan support for TR and Coco Lopez). Last year’s Heat? Maybe. They have the talent, they have upgraded from last year’s team in both bowling terms and team cohesion. Plus, they no longer have any sort of target on them. Valley Girl Jess could contend for league MVP. Then there’s Still Livin’ On A Spare, who get back a healthy Mr. Stiffy, plus Precious and Double Cheese (who won draft league MVP). Binga’s also is part of any championship conversation, though this year they are a bit more off the radar. They certainly could get the fans behind them. This will all shake out in a championship battle on April 14th.
Between nopw and then we have 14 weeks of drinking, bowling and stories to create. 2012 is going to be a great year. Hell yeah Season 5!
There will be a full season preview coming out with all the teams and all the storylines. Stay tuned. In the meantime don’t forget to sign up for the Bayside Bowl Holiday Hat tournament on Dec. 29th!