Just what is the most difficult achievement in the sport of bowling?

The mind was turning. When asked the question that appears as the title of this column, I gave it some serious thought. The first thought I had — at least for me personally, particularly as I got older — was to not get hurt. Hey, that was an achievement!

Perhaps that was not the most serious thought I had, but it did cross my mind. When I started thinking about the things that every bowler dreams of, a list formed. I came up with five things: rolling a perfect game, shooting an 800 series, picking up the 7-10 split, converting the sour apple (5-7-10) and firing a perfect 900 series. Which of these is the most difficult was difficult to determine. Considering I never came close to any of them, I considered them to be equal in degree of difficulty.

So I decided to do a nonscientific study (I asked my dog) and put them in order based on the study. Here — in reverse order of difficulty — is my list. If you don’t agree, you can blame my dog!

1 — Shooting 300. I had the front 10 once, but I never considered myself to be a really good bowler. With new equipment this feat is not as tough as it used to be. I realize that one has to throw 12 consecutive decent shots, but good bowlers can do that. Carry the corner pins and it can happen.

2 — Converting the 7-10 split. Basically this is just luck. You have to hit one of the pins very hard and hope that it comes out of the pit to take out the other one. Many people have made this split though they may not have seen it happen. I suppose you could say it is easier than throwing a perfect game because it only takes one shot, but with the advice of my dog, I’m putting it second.

3 — Shooting an 800 series. Many of my bowling friends have told me that they would rather shoot 800 than 300. Their reasoning is that to break 800 means that you were on target all night. The insinuation is that in one game you could get lucky on a couple of shots. However, to shoot 800 means throwing one good ball after another — for the whole night!

4 — Converting the sour apple. It’s always fun to see someone leave the 5-7-10 split. Their reactions are priceless. You are not likely to leave this split unless you throw a good ball. Pocket 7-10 splits are frustrating. The sour apple is more comical, but picking it up is nearly impossible. You have to cut the five pin so thinly that it cuts in front of the corner pin, hits the sidewall before hitting the corner pin and rolls all the way across the lanes to take out the other corner pin.

I have never seen this split converted though I did talk to a bowler who said he had witnessed it. The degree of difficulty here is really high.

5 — Shooting 900. Glenn Allison is the first person to accomplish this feat, but it has been done by others since. Imagine throwing 36 shots and having 10 pins go down each and every time! It boggles the mind.

Some may think shooting 900 would be easier than covering the sour apple. They may be right. All you have to do is hit your mark, release the ball properly and keep your speed consistent — albeit 36 straight times — and (if you carry) the perfect night.

Seems simple doesn’t it?

Actually there may be one feat more difficult that any of the above five things. That may very well be shooting a 292 game. There’s only one way to accomplish this and that is to throw 11 consecutive strikes before getting just two pins on your last ball.

You can decide which is more difficult: throwing 11 straight strikes, or getting two pins on the last ball! Personally I think it is the latter.

In conclusion: if you have accomplished any of the above feats, congratulations!

Congrats also to Ellen Ewing who followed up a nice city tournament performance with her career high game of 194.

Imperial-Majorette-Sportsman: Brian Kidwell 735, Rich Yates Jr. 713, Aaron Kidwell 707, Jim Mason 673, Kevin Fitch 639, Jason Ball 625, Rich Yates Sr. 625, Jim Lord 607, Bill Fleming 600, Tina Whitaker 480, Deb Nominee 477, Meg Pifer 463 and Miriam Fankhauser 408.

Allen Eiry: Bob Reinhart 341 (186), Robin Brownell 333 (172), Ed Wise 327, Jim Donaldson 320, Larry Cobb 292, Harry Smith 271, Sally VanBuskirk 246, Dave Everhart 245, Paul Fey 245, Sandy Smith 238, Bill Steinmetz 237 and Viola Rumschlag 234.

Senior: Phil Hoerig 610 (244), Ken Ritzler 570, Doug Snyder 566, Scott Kromer 531 and Fred Reimer 518.

Alley Cats: Rhonda Tiell 568, Jan Houk 551, Justene Tarris 514, Crystal Butler 512, Monica Musgrave 511 and Kathy Breidenbach 509.

55 Plus: Bill Mizen 612 (210), Jim Ruess 591 (212), Paul Gosche 538, Jim Ferstler 515 (213), Jerry Gillig 508, Hank Collet 479 (200), Dave Everhart 468, Jim Donaldson 453, John Ferstler 423, Dick Gabel 421 and Paul Fey 376.

Wednesday Morning: Tyson Shope 661, Joe Brickner 635, Paul Landers 623, Dave Coppus 621, Jeff Chance 600, Dianne Smith 466 and Deb Phillips 380.

Lady Knights: Marilyn Gangluff 489, Carol Burmeister 448, Deb Hoerig 434, Alaina Ritter 433, Lin Nitecki 429, Char Raubeson 414 and Linda Kimmet 404.

Rocket: Tom Tiell 585, Jon Distel 576, Rodney Ohms 575, Dean Distel 558 and Dave Coppus 544.

Al Stephenson is The Advertiser-Tribune’s bowling columnist.

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