How to keep score in bowling — just in case the machine breaks down

Editor’s Note: This column was unavailable for Sunday’s edition. It will return to its normal day this Sunday.

If you are an avid reader of this column you are aware that last week I explained ? with the help of Wikipedia ? how bowling works for the person who really doesn’t know. Fortunately most people have enough rudimentary knowledge of the sport that my efforts may mostly have been wasted.

However, there is one thing that may present a problem with the younger bowlers today. That would be keeping score. Virtually every bowling alley has automated scorers. Would you be able to keep your own score if those scorers suddenly malfunctioned? Though I feel confident I could explain it without help, I will once again refer to Wikipedia.

When it comes to scoring in bowling, the first sentence I ran across stood out, and here it is: “Scores can be greater than the actual number of pins knocked over if strikes or spares are bowled.” Really?!? Try to keep in mind that Wikipedia is explaining the game to the person who knows nothing about bowling.

Someone decided a long time ago that a spare and a strike would get the same value of 10. A bowler gets two tries per frame to knock down all the pins. Do it in one shot and you get 10 points. Do it in two shots and you also get 10. The difference is what we add to the 10 you just achieved.

If it is a spare, you get 10 points, plus however many you get on your next shot. If it is a strike, however, you get 10 points and whatever you get on your next two shots. Got it? Let’s try an example.

You bury your first shot of the game only to leave the ringing 10 pin. Same thing happens in the second frame. You fail to convert either spare, so your score in the second frame is 18. In the third you finally get what you think you deserve; a strike. Again the same thing happens in the fourth frame. The fifth frame mirrors the first two. So what is your score in the third frame?

You take 10 for the strike add the next two balls ? a strike and a nine count ? and you add that to 18. Your score in the third frame is 47. What about the score in the fourth? Depends on what you did with your 10 pin shot in the fifth. Oh yeah, we know about your spare making ability. Your score would be 66 in the fourth and 75 in the fifth.

Who needs those scorers now?

The terminology for getting marks is interesting as well. Throw two consecutive strikes and it is called a double. Everyone knows that. Did you know, however, that it used to be known as a hambone? Maybe some of the older keglers are aware of that fact; this scribe was not. Three straight is a turkey and now we use the term hambone to describe four consecutive strikes.

So what do we call five consecutive strikes? A five-bagger is one common term. Dropping the nickel is another, though for my team those words would cause a rush to look under the table in hopes of getting rich. “Yahtzee” is another term used for five straight.

Six consecutive strikes goes by six pack or six bagger. Wikipedia then suggests that seven or more uses the “pack/bagger” moniker or simply (however many) in a row. Apparently not much thought went into anything over six strikes. There is room for improvement here. Put on your thinking caps.

Finally there was one more interesting term that I found. If a bowler throws three consecutive spares he is known to have recorded a chicken. Apparently, this term came into use just last year. It would appear it hadn’t made its way to Seneca County ? at least not until now!

I have given you bowling nomenclature and taught you how to keep score. The only thing left is learning how to throw a bowling ball effectively. For that feat you might want to ask someone else.

I have seen my bowling scores. Enough said.

There were some mega scores shot this Thanksgiving week. We’ll start with the Rocket League where Tim Sturgill must have overworked the “pack/bagger” theme as he fired a robust 774. Steve Barnes shot 660, Tyson Shope 621, Paul Landers 613 and Dave Coppus 608. Rich Yates Jr. topped the Sportsman League with 760, while Scott Hartsel posted a 662, Phil Neikirk 641, Chris Johnson 631, Lance Davis 629, Ken Butturff Jr. 626, Rustan Burks 625, Rich Yates Sr. 621 and Dick Gabel 617. In the Alley Cats League Robin Dickman shot 552, Carla Siebenaller 545, Janet Houk 495, Pat Cook 475 and Martha Heyman 475.

Rich Yates Jr. was at it again in the Wednesday Morning League as he fired a 721. Steve Norman shot 633, Dave Jumper 616, Harry Smith 608, Tyson Shope 605, Paul Landers 580, Sharon Dowdell 501, Dianne Smith 447 and Cheryl Radin-Norman 378. Big 8 League scores included Greg Tiell 665, Brian Soals 646, Dave Ross 628, Ken Bauman 625, Mark Huffman 609, Mark Ratliff 606 and Jim Hershberger 604.

A couple of the “old” fellas were throwing strikes at the K of C Lanes in the 55 Plus League as Jim Ruess and Ken Gaietto rolled 693 apiece. Bill Mizen shot 540, Dick Gabel 517, Dan Coppes 505, Bob Reinhart 484, Bob West 480, Jim Ferstler 472, Paul Fey 459, Jim Donaldson 423, Ron Mellott 404 and Dave Everhart 397. In the Senior League Ken Ritzler shot 562, Scott Kromer 547, Doug Snyder 536, Mike Reser 535, Tim Gassner 528, Steve Tiell 509, Kurt Smith 504 and Fred Reimer 502.

Al Stephenson is The A-T’s bowling columnist.

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