When I last wrote about our bowling team in early February, I conceded that we were living up to our team name — the Mediaocracies.
Four weeks into the winter season, we had won 8 games and lost 8 games, a mediocre showing that put us right in the middle of 22 teams competing in the Average Joe’s League at AMF Pro 300.
Well, I’m happy to say we finished on a roll (sorry, cheesy pun). During the just-concluded season, we improved to 38 wins and 26 losses — good enough for a two-way tie for fourth place. We finished 10 games behind the first-place team (48 wins, 16 losses) and just one game behind the third-place team.
As a reward, we received enough prize money as a team to treat ourselves to dinner out Monday night at Portland’s Temple of Hamburgers, otherwise known as Tilt.
No, it’s not really the Temple of Hamburgers, but every one of my friends and family who’s eaten there agrees it tops the list of burger joints in Portland. After last night, add two more true believers — teammates Mike Slama and Joel Odom. (Both showed remarkable restraint, steering clear of the sinfully rich offerings in favor of healthier options.)
Mike (aka “Spud”) and Joel (aka “Joey”) joined Brian Wartell and me this season when our two previous teammates had to bow out. Everyone on the team contributed to our late-season surge.
Joel, who became known as Joey only because league officials mis-typed his name onto the team roster, led the way with a 171 average. On some nights, he was simply awesome, rolling four or five strikes at a time and often notching games of 200 or more.
Mike, Brian and I all finished with averages in the 140s, which makes us appear more consistent than we really were. From week to week — and often game to game — we never knew who’d be on or off their game. As a result, the others had to try to step up when one bowler wasn’t at his best.
Above all, we had fun. And that’s the point in a coed, non-sanctioned league like ours. There are some great bowlers, for sure, with a half-dozen men and women averaging 175 or better and one dude at 210. But there are also some who struggle to break 100 — and who enjoy themselves just the same.
The dirty little secret? The worse a person bowls, the higher their handicap — which means their team starts off each game with an advantage in points. As a matter of fact, that was a frequent challenge for us — having to overcome the opposing team’s larger handicap.
The spring league starts June 6 and we’re all looking forward to it. Like any baseball team emerging from spring training, we’ll be starting the season with optimism and fresh hopes for a better season.
After all, we’re mediocre no more.