This Week's Results: 2 wins, 0 losses, 1 tie (18-11-1 season, 5th place overall).
March 25, 2003
Mastodon: It has been a long drought for the Mammut, but I return envigorated and looking forward to the final evening of bowling as a Powerful Creature. These are sad times, and bowling is but a paltry salve. This is not a place to write about our country's failings; here the ten pin game is revered, as it should be. Yesterday I went four games, averaging in the neighborhood of 135. I did not bring my ball and used a ball with plugs for the index and middle fingers. There is one verifiable truth I learned yesterday-plugs make your ball fucking hook. They will be inserted into Francis as soon as possible, and I will hook with the likes of The Kid and El Tigre. I will start a bowling camp for gawky junior high kids and teach them about said plugs. I will discourage them from using plugs that are colored anywhere near sepia. I will encourage periwinkle and blood red. They will return to their suburban homes enriched; and soon after their return, will find love. This is my offer to the world. Please send me money to start my project. All one needs to do find a picture of a Mastodon, paste it on an envelope, insert cash, and place it in the post. The P.O. knows where to find me, as I am notorious.
March 24, 2003
Manta Ray: I believe that everyone has a Powerful Creature inside of them. Everyone, even the handicap. That is why this past Friday when I was bowling there was a man who was blind. The amazing thing about this man was that he was bowling, and bowling well. He had a partner who would tell him what pins were left. He would stand up, hold on to a rail, step up, and slam it down, usually picking up what was left. Even when he didnít bowl a strike he would shout, ďHow did that happen. That was a good ball.Ē Yes, it was a good ball. May you continue to bowl well. Bowl on!
March 21, 2003
Monkey: What a finish! It was an amazing season. Last season, the Manta Ray and I wanted to hide when it was time to get our cellar-dweller trophies. Mastodon bit his lip and courageously accepted all three of them for us. This season, 21 teams will be called before us. When our time comes, we will leap from our seats. One of us will attempt to tackle the others. 5th place is ours. Young team!
We were in eighth place coming into this week, so we were out of contention for the title, but we wanted to finish strong. (Our pre-season 'lofty' goal was top ten!) I'm sure Bowltron wasn't thrilled to see us, but they are for real, so they were probably looking forward to another shot. (They'd have been playing for first were it not for our sweep in the first meeting.) Tai Chi Master (Vietron) and I traded nods and began our silent battle of wills. We match up very well with that team. Manta Ray doesn't have the Kid's (Bowltron's) raw ability, but he does a masterful job of cheerfully interacting with him and thereby keeping the Kid's killer instinct from locking into place until it's too late. Mastodon strategically reminds Mexitron that was once El Bowlo, and all of the gutter balls after spares that entails. (Oh, and it does entail.) Tai Chi Master and I battled each other to a standstill, both taking about thirty pins off the other's average. In the end, we were too much for them. 2 wins, no losses - and a tie! We'd talked about what would happen in the event of a tie before the match, so of course a tie finally happened.
All in all, it was a powerful and remarkable display of teamwork from the Powerful Creatures. The Manta Ray carried us in the first game, Mastodon put us on his back in the second, and at last the Monkey came alive in the third. We had an entourage for the first time, too, which was pretty cool. Some teams have entourages every week. We wanted to give that a try.
We finished strong, rising rapidly through the standings all season long. Truly, we reached our potential as a team. The promise of the Powerful Creatures was fulfilled.
Next week is the awards ceremony, with trophies and an open bar - and a Powerful Creature walks away from the game.
March 19, 2003
Manta Ray: Who would have thunk that we would meet up with Bowltron in the playoffs. We walked up and you could tell that they didnít want any of our shit this time. I was only thinking about how our shit canít be all that bad. On the way there we met up with the S-Dogg. He decided to join us to watch the final competitive appearance of the Powerful Creatures.
The first game was never in question with Tai Chi Master having some royal problems. Bowltron himself, formally known as The Kid, was out of his mind as well. I asked him to settle down. He told me I had to settle first. Understandable. So bowling continued. We had major support because the Broads of Team 10 were just to the right of us, drinking, singing, dancing and yelling. Very little bowling much to the chagrin of their opponents. We ended up taking the first two games very comfortably. Then came the third game, 10th frame. I was struggling. Itís been a while since I had to actually bowl well in that frame, win or lose. Bowltron turkeyed it up. So it came down to me and Tai Chi. X for Tai Chi, 6 for me. Crap. X for Tai Chi...forcing me to get a mark or we lose. / for me. Whew. Tai Chi 8. Now I had no idea what I really needed. I thought 7 should do it. Instead I bowl what I thought was a X, instead itís a 9. I breath a sigh or relief when I hear behind me...ĒWE TIE!Ē A fine way to end the season for a fine bunch of bowlers. Bowltron informed us that they will be back next season, but sadly they believe they will be without Tai Chi. Sad, since we will be losing a member ourselves. More on this later.
The Powerful Creatures took a photo to commemorate the powerful moments. The picture currently sit upon my phone. A fine way to end the league. Now we only look forward to the party in hope that we will be in 5th place.
March 18, 2003
Monkey: This is the final night, this is what the whole season comes down to. If war with Iraq leads to World War III and the apocalypse, I want to die a bowling champion.
Who's with me?
March 17, 2003
Monkey: Controversy erupted this weekend when it was discovered that certain parties, who may have been concerned more with bananas that the intricacies of league scheduling, misunderstood the standings and mistakenly reported that there were two weeks left. In fact, there is only one week left, the famous position round. It is a sort of playoff wherein you are matched with the team right next to you in the standings. You get full credit for your wins (2 points for a win, 1 extra point for highest total pin count), but you can only make educated guesses about who you'll be playing until the schedule is released when you arrive at the alley. It's designed to even out the strength of schedule factor and match you against a team with similar abilities, but we've had the hardest schedule in the league this year and there are a number of respects in which no other team in the league can hold our jocks, so the position round cannot achieve its goals relative to us. On the plus side, though, it's a chance to make a real move in the standings, since half the teams in front of us will be losing two or three games. We could be anywhere from 5th to 8th when the standings are released before the match. If we are 5th or 6th...well, we're trying not to think about the specifics. We know we just have to go out there and bowl like we know we can bowl.
Tomorrow may be the biggest day of my life.
(There are a small handful of respects in which other teams in the league can, in fact, hold our jocks. Boobs, for example. We have none. The Kid's collection of vintage comic book and sci-fi shirts, for example, far outstrips anything the three of us could put together. The Velcro Shoes are better bowlers. The crazy Mardi Gras guy has a better approach. And much as I - along with everyone else in the world who feels that babies should not be eaten - despise Ode to Gary, those shitheads could probably drink us under the table.)
March 14, 2003
Monkey: With two big weeks ahead of us, we have discussed getting some practice time in. The Powerful Creatures have an unfortunate history of late-season fades. That would seem to have been reversed this season, as we are performing at our peak right now, but I don't think any of us realized that it was late in the season until we saw this week's standings.
I'd really like to express my gratitude to Your Mom for rolling over for us last week. (I can't talk about that team without sounding as though I am trying to insult the readerships' mothers. Idiots.)
This week's match against BFM will be interesting. They took two of three from us last season, with one game decided in the last frame. They were missing their loud guy then, as they were last week, during what was clearly an off game for them against Ode to Gary (fuckers). I have to admit, we do not match up well one-on-one against BFM. They have a loud guy, a crazy guy who co-owns a futon store, and a girl with a monkey tattoo. I'm not that loud, Mastadon does not even have a minority stake in any futon stores, and the Manta Ray has no tattoos, or boobs for that matter. (He does drive the girls wild, though.) We just have to go out there and control the tempo, make them work against the things we can do rather than the other way around (e.g. Mastadon getting a job at a bean-bag chair retail outlet), and hope "Punk Rock Girl" comes on the stereo at the right moment.
March 13, 2003
Monkey: Jesus came to me in a dream and told me that the POWERFUL CREATURES are his favorite sports franchise. I thanked him, and we high-fived. My bowling hand is blessed.
March 12, 2003
Monkey: There is a bowling team. They are the Powerful Creatures. Let me tell you what has been going on with them.
First, there was the much-anticipated return match with the Groove Assassins. When the standings were released, they were in third place. They are fine bowlers. Manta Ray and I had talked to El Tigre about the rematch, but the other two Groove Assassins, J.D. and Christopher Robin, didn't realize it was us until we arrived. J.D. shook his head as we laced up our shoes. "I looked at all of those animal names and I got this uneasy feeling in my stomach. It was you guys who beat us at the end of last season, wasn't it?" Mastadon confirmed that it was. Then, we did it again. Man, El Tigre was pissed. Mastadon and I usually make some noise, but we kept quiet lest that guy lose his shit. J.D. and Christopher Robin are a genial pair who seem able to accept that sometimes the pins just do not fall for you, but the silent rage of El Tigre kept growing as the frames passed. Although I struggled at times to adapt to my newly-lustred ball, I dropped four strikes in a row for the first time, and topped out at 174 for the first game. Everyone contributed, and it was fine team bowling. I will admit that we lost our intensity for the third game, which is rare for us, but you have to understand, El Tigre was liable to kill someone. We had to let up. He rolled something like a 220 in the third game without saying a single word. They fell to seventh in the standings this week, but seemed to be well on the way to a sweep when I stopped by to ask how they were doing. (El Tigre was not chatty. I think he is still pissed off at us.)
This week was different. After a long run of top-five opponents, we finally got a respite from the schedule with a match against the 25th place Your Mom. Mastadon had to be out of town for work, so he bowled on Monday and his scores were waiting for us when we arrived. Manta Ray and I were both sick and had nasty headaches. But, let's be serious about this. We are the Powerful Creatures. We don't lose to suckers. Your Mom are the league's resident rockabilly team, so they have style, and their leader Boobsexx (coat button: "I Like Boobs") is a pretty fair bowler, but it wasn't even close, and we swept them. We ran up the score in the third game in the hopes of moving up in the overall tie-breaker standings. It wasn't polite, but what could we do? We won by over 200 pins. I'm not even sure Manta Ray or I intended to keep getting strikes, but the pins will do what they please.
There are two weeks left in the season. Next week, we have the legendary BFM. They sometimes lack focus and coherency, but they are not short for strength of conviction. They pout after they get spares or strikes, because they rant and scream about Team Ten, and in their minds, getting ten pins is the symbol of the team they curse. Their celebrations when they get nine pins are really something to see, though. (They get into a huddle and start chanting "Nine, not ten! NINE!" Then one of them runs off to find Team Ten and curse them.) BFM was one spot ahead of us in this week's standings, but Ode to Gary (fuckers) swept them, so BFM is coming off a bad week. Then, there is the Position Round, when we play the team right next to us in the standings. There was some debate over who we're hoping to see in that round. We could wind up with Bowltron (the I Screamers) again, for example, who have managed to climb back up the standings to third. Or we could face the Groove Assassins. Would that be good, because we own them? Or would it be bad, because El Tigre will fucking kill someone? The season is coming down to the wire. One of the Broads From Team Ten gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek for making our first appearance in the top ten. It's good to be a Powerful Creature.
This Week's Results: 3 wins, 0 losses (16-11 season, 7th place overall).
March 5, 2003
Monkey: You breathe deeply, and you don't even need to try to time your approach with the arrival of "Paradise City" on the sound system. They are one. You know the ball is perfect as it leaves your hand, and you follow your own momentum to one knee, waiting in a gloriously long moment until the rest of the bowling alley discovers what you already know: that's a goddam strike, folks.
This Week's Results: 2 wins, 1 loss (13-11 season, 11th overall).
March 4, 2003
Mastodon: One often hears that history repeats itself. Tonight the Groove Asssasins will learn that lesson real good. Season 1: broke 'em. Season 2: demoralized 'em. Season 3: Will disembowel 'em. I hate to do it, they're genial fellows with a love for techno. But some shit just takes precedent. During the largest winter storm Chicago has seen this year, the Powerful Creatures will be creating quite a storm themselves. Fuck strategizing, it's time to drop bombs. (Bombs entirely composed of bowling fury, mind you.)
Monkey: I have developed a powerful training regimen for game nights. For one thing, it is important to have a large dinner. I avoid eating a lot of dairy products, but it's fine to have foods that include small amounts of milk and / or butter in the preparation, such as macaroni and cheese. Caffeine is entirely prohibited. There is often the temptation to have some ice cream after dinner, but I find that I perform better if I take a strategic nap instead. Ultimately, I aim to arrive at the bowling alley relaxed and ever-so-slightly sleepy. That puts me in the best position for a remarkable night of bowling.
We held practice last night with our pal Mutton. Each member of the group had at least one excellent game, and some had two. I experimented with new techniques and left with a powerful sense of confidence for tonight. Mastodon and I both gave our bowling balls a spin in the Lustre King, which could be the deciding factor in tonight's matchup. Once the Groove Assassins realize that we are bowling with lustre, they will have to alter their game plan dramatically, and we will cruise to victory.
Another aspect in which the Powerful Creatures are far ahead of the rest of the league is our scouting division. We have a line on a promising four year old Mexican boy who was bowling two lanes away from us. His father was committed to teaching his son the fundamentals, so no bumpers were used. The little guy persevered through several gutter balls in a row - his accuracy was an issue - but he clearly had the intangibles and raw physical tools that you just can't teach, and when he got a strike near the end, we all leapt in the air with joy, and his father beamed with pride. We decided to trade the rights for one of our friends (we haven't decided who) to one of the other bowling teams (perhaps the Groove Assassins, if they are still on speaking terms with us after we beat the crap out of them tonight) in exchange for a late first-round pick, which we will then use to draft the kid, who can develop at his own pace, not pressed to play until he is old enough to stay up late for the league. (His bedtime is probably very early right now.) We have the LeBron James of Chicago youth bowling. Just as our dynasty begins to age in 2015, we will bring him in, and the confetti will continue to rain.
March 3, 2003
Manta Ray: I suffered a non-bowling related injury yesterday. My left leg (my planting foot) feels a sharp pain from my ankle to my knee with every step. This is not good since we, The Powerful Creatures, need to have another powerful showing to earn the respect that we feel we are due. I woke up hoping that it would be better. Iíve sat through my day at work pondering ways to fix my leg. All to no avail. Instead the Powerful Creatures will meet tonight to practice and get our heads back to where it needs to be, down the bowling alley. I will be experimenting with possible new techniques if the leg becomes a huge factor. Watch out Groove Assassins, we are coming to get ya!
February 27, 2003
Monkey: You have to pity the Groove Assassins for the timing of their match against us. Our skills are sharp and we are motivated. When one of them stopped by to say hello as we were packing up this week, the Manta Ray informed him that we have them figured out and we know their weaknesses. He was befuddled. We have no qualms about befuddling our opponents, as El Bowlo can testify.
February 26, 2003
Monkey: Yeah, that one was hard to take. The Manta Ray's summary was agreed upon by all of us as the official story of the match. They are the #1 team in the league, and we bowled well enough to win - but didn't. It's not that we caught them on an off week. They were at the top of their game and we came together, played how we needed to play, and fell just short. 587-584 in the first game, and 618-616 in the third. We won the second game by 83 pins, making the narrow margin of defeat for the other two all the more frustrating. They made a wise roster decision by swapping out one of the Vacation Photo Two for a crazy tattooed guy. I actually liked two of their three members, and the third guy, he of the half-hour approach, gave sincere congratulations afterwards. But, those are not bowling words. These are: fuck it. This is not a low point, and in time we will recognize it as a small triumph. At present, though, we can only wonder about what might have been.
We play the Groove Assassins next week. They're good guys, currently in fifth, and they took two of three from Ode to Gary this week, which will always get applause from me. In what I'd call the #3 moment in Powerful Creatures history, we emerged from a vicious slump to win two of three against the Groove Assassins at the end of last season and singlehandedly took them out of title contention. (Ah, spoilers.) But they didn't hold it against us and gave respect for the performance. (I dropped a 193 for the second time that week.) It's fun to play the top team, in a way - the other teams are always coming by to check on how you're doing, especially as it gets late in the season. (I have no idea how many weeks are left right now.)
Three out of four weeks against top-five opponents. (There are 26 teams.) That's tough. But Ode to Gary has the same schedule, always one week ahead of us, and we're doing a fucking lot better with it than them. So, we've got that going for us, which is nice. Young team!
Manta Ray: Imagine that you are one of the 16th seeds in the NCAA basketball tournament. Youíre playing the 1st seed. You stick with them through out the entire game, sinking threes, grabbing tough rebounds, taking hard fouls. There is only 1.9 seconds left and you find your team ahead by two points. Sweet you think. An upset, but an upset of grand proportions. So grand that no 16th seed has ever beaten the 1st seed ever since the NCAA tournament began. They in bound the ball, dribble, and some one gets a good block on you. You watch as the other team sinks a three snatching victory out of your grasp. You lose and their team celebrates. That is sort of what last night at bowling felt like when we faced the number one team in our leauge.
We lost two games by a total of five pins last night. Aggravating in a sense since all members were consistently producing spares or strikes. The other team were big time 10th frame guys. Even if their first bowler would take 15 minutes to prepare to bowl. Iím pretty sure we were the last league members still bowling, He should remember that the pins really donít change positions each and every time you bowl. Maybe heís reciting something, like a song. He really should pick a different tune than Stairway to Heaven, or at least cut out the guitar solos or something. Geez.
This Week's Results: 1 win, 2 losses (11-10 season, 13th place).
February 25, 2003
Mastodon: As Manta Ray has already mentioned, we bowled four games yesterday evening. If I applied 19th century medical procedures to my bowling I'd be leech-covered, bloodless, and pissed that I've somehow contracted gangrene. The final two games were frightful, and not for goons who are bowling against us. I'm having trouble concentrating on bowling given the current geo-political fracas going on. Spain? I thought all they did was party and host clay court tourneys. Who knew they'd sign their name next to the U.S. and England? It's hard to develop a decent curve when this kind of shit occupies your mind.
Be forewarned vacation picture guys, I've been on some trips that would make you shit blood.
Monkey: Tonight is certainly a big match. Facing the #2 team in the league just two weeks after the #3 team will be a stern test for the Powerful Creatures. They are not paper champions, as former Steelers safety Lee Flowers accused the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of being. Their bowling ability is for real. But the Manta Ray's account of their despicable moral and ethical principles is true to my recollection. I mean, not only did they spend the whole time going over their vacation photos, but from what I overheard, it wasn't even an interesting vacation. "Oh, look, there is some guy in a Hawaiian shirt sitting in a chair under a palm tree. Wait, that is me. I am so boring that I forgot about myself."
Complicating matters somewhat will be another round of prima donna behavior from the Monkey, because I have a 10:30pm show at the ImprovOlympic, and will then have to race to the bowling alley and play without practice. In that sense, I am the Allen Iverson of this bowling team. I may bring my bowling ball into the theater with me to make sure it doesn't get cold out in the car.
Manta Ray: I got my bowl on early this week. Mastodon, a soon to be enemy in the next league, and I ventured out to the wide prairies of bowling this past evening. It was quite interesting to say the least. Another league was playing, but not a league no where near as powerful as the one we attend. The group that dresses up as wrestlers, masks and leotards and all, will not be able to stand up to the might that is THE POWERFUL CREATURES!
One of The Broads of Team 10 was there. We received a powerful discount.
For our league night we will be facing a group Monkey and I faced in our rookie seasons. This was during the period when we were named after certain lower clothing one would wear when you sleep except that you are dancing, not sleeping. They talked about their vacation and showed pictures the entire time. Odds are Monkey will be making an evil face at them. I will tell him to settle if I feel he may get out of hand. Mastodon will definitely give them the evil stare.
I was playing around with a new style of throwing. Iíll let you know if it will continue after tomorrows league. Stay tuned.
Total saved on not renting bowling shoes since the purchase of bowling shoes = $26.00
February 22, 2003
Monkey: Oh my. (Link from Dave, of the Velcro Shoes.)
February 20, 2003
Manta Ray: My plan of taking a week off from bowling did not really improve my score, but my accuracy was just a little off from making my bowling experience a truly Powerful Bowling Time! I was still able to perform close to my avg. even though stomach flu hit me about 20 minutes before bowling time. I fought on, and that is what this season is all about. Fighting onÖand kicking ass!
My vow of silence was due to my poor bowling. I take it close to heart, especially if I think I harm our team from winning. There are times I release the ball and right away and I just float there in disgust. But shit is coming together.
February 19, 2003
Monkey: I think the other two Powerful Creatures may have taken vows of silence. Mastodon? Manta Ray?
Although we won last night, there was an air of disappointment as we left. It was a win, but it's a sign of our commitment that we were not satisfied with a simple 2-1 victory. Still, the key was to avoid a letdown after last week's triumph, and we did that. Our two wins were decisive, and the one loss was completely out of our hands - it's hard to compete with a team who drops 8 strikes in the last two frames (including five in a row for one guy). My thumb injury flared up again, but I played through, and am really quite comfortable with my new ball. I averaged 147 for the night. Mastodon struggled for the first half of the night and then turned it on in the second. He's contemplating pre-game practice regimens to get past the slow starts he's been having. The Manta Ray was frustrated with his performance, but I thought he flashed some fundamentally sound bowling. It was really only two or three badly-placed balls at most that separated his sub-par showing from a much stronger one.
Alchy U turned out to be a good bunch of guys. Sometimes, in bowling, a team name only makes sense when you meet the players behind it. One guy kept getting possessed by the spirit of Hacksaw Jim Duggan whenever he got a mark. They all had strange approaches. Mastodon, who studied Olympic curling this weekend, noted the curling influence on one guy's delivery. Another kind of teetered and wobbled as he delicately approached, like a small ballerina trying to wield a ball that was far too heavy. (I don't mean that as an insult to the guy's masculinity, of course, but it was strange to see.) They didn't seem to be drinking very much, considering their status as an institution of higher learning for the practice of alchoholism. Perhaps that explains their relatively strong showing.
Next week, we play the #2 team in the league, Fam Lee Jules. The first time we bowled against those idiots, two seasons ago, they spent the whole time looking at their vacation photos. Their star has an irritatingly slow approach. (The pins are in the same place every time, guy.) They absolutely demolished our arch-enemies this week, though, so we have to take them seriously. I'd never seen Ode to Gary that quiet before. They only managed two or three meek "Yeah, bud-dy!" chants, and only one "Cream soup!" (Those are their catch-phrases.) It's like when a new super-villain is introduced by having him beat the living crap out of Doctor Octopus. Sure, Doc Ock is a very bad man, but there's a history between him and Spider-Man, so you cringe a little bit when he gets his ass beaten that badly by this new, unknown quantity.
The Kid, one lane over, had a pretty sweet Darth Vader shirt on this week. He was so pissed off about getting swept last week that he bought the holy grail of the Diversey Pro Shop, the clear bowling ball with the skull in the middle. You have to respect that kind of commitment.
February 16, 2003
This Week's Results: 2 wins, 1 loss (10-8 season, 11th overall).
Monkey: It's time for the Powerful Creatures to get back to work. We have to make sure we don't lose our momentum from last week's triumph. I think we're all still in awe; that's what we discussed on Friday, while out for the Manta Ray's birthday.
This week, we play Alchy U. (A university for alchoholics, I guess. Funny, most alcoholics seem to work it out on their own.) Their averages are among the worst in the league, so they are no match for us, talent-wise. But they will have a substantial handicap advantage to start, so we'll be bowling from behind, and we've played poorly when we've been in that situation before. We just have to go out there and execute our game plan, play how we know we can play. It shouldn't be a problem. It's always easy to get motivated for teams with stupid names.
February 13, 2003
Monkey: Thirty-eight hours later, I am still in awe of our triumph. I'm not sure what to say; we won, and we won big. The I Screamers (now 'Bowltron') are one of the best teams in the league. They were third overall coming into this week. Last week, they set records for team high score as they dismantled and demolished our arch-enemies, Ode to Gary. They're a crafty bunch, too. They switched their lineup on us right before the match, so Mastodon was no longer head-to-head with El Bowlo, and Tai Chi Master wasn't matched up with me. That threw off our planning. The first game was close - we only won by nine pins. In a way, though, I think that worked to our advantage. Tai Chi Master could have taken it in the last frame, and he missed. (I was making phantom tai chi fists behind his back.) That was hanging over their heads at the start of the second game, so when the three of us turned it on at the same time, they weren't ready, and we blew them out by well over a hundred pins. The third game was almost an after-thought at that point, and we won that one by seventy-plus. We dominated them in every area of the game. The Kid is scary good and dropped four strikes in a row at one point, but the Manta Ray kept him contained with perhaps his finest sustained bowling since we've been in the league. It was fucking beautiful. I averaged 155 for all three games, 15 above my average last year (and 27 above my season-to-date). Tai Chi Master's attempts to Repulse Monkey fell apart like El Bowlo bowling after a strike.
Bowltron is a class team, and that's why I'm so proud to have beaten them. It's fun to bowl against an actual team. There's an intangible but immediately discernible difference between three people who bowl together and a bowling team. You can't really tell how those three guys know each other or what keeps them together, but don't really think to question it, and you can't imagine them with anyone else. As they left, they were talking about their mid-week team outings. Much respect to the vanquished.
God damn. Powerful Creatures in the motherfucking house.
February 12, 2003
Monkey: POWERFUL CREATURES REPRESENT!!!!
February 11, 2003
Monkey: New shit has come to light about the underhanded tactics employed by Tai Chi Master, leader of our opponents this week. While studying the Tai Chi book that the Manta Ray bought at his company's book sale for a powerful dollar, I discovered the Repulse Monkey form, and I realized immediately that Tai Chi Master had been using it to repulse me throughout our previous match. This passive aggression will not stand. If I catch that bastard in the Repulse Monkey stance tonight, he is going to find a whole lot of monkey up in his face. Meanwhile, I am developing counter-measures. If I have to Carry Tiger and Return to Mountain, I fucking will. I have no qualms about that.
I am looking forward to seeing what strategies the Manta Ray has devised for his match-up. The Kid is probably too experienced for the old 'JLA vs The Avengers, who would win?' manuever, nor is he likely to be thrown off by a sudden demand that he rank the Marvel Comics film adaptations, even if such a demand includes a theoretical juxtaposition of the Roger Corman 'Fantastic Four' with the forthcoming 'Daredevil' film. But everyone has a weakness, and I know the Manta Ray will find a way to take him out of his game.
Although none of the proceeds were spent on items directly related to bowling, we should put in a word of thanks to the Ho-Chunk Casino in Baraboo, Wisconsin. We three Powerful Creatures took those poor bastards for a $81.70 ride over the weekend. Had I known the soda was free, the damage would have skyrocketed even further.
This Week's Results: 3 wins, 0 losses: SWEEP! (8-7 season, 12th place).
February 10, 2003
Mastodon: Last week, I bowled five out of seven days. My girlfriend (Sasquatch Substitute) tells me I'm overworking and am doomed to right arm fatigue. About this I'm not so sure, I'm bowling more often as I feel a breakthrough is imminent. My pin action is good, the accuracy has improved; yet I have not yet bowled a truly solid game with the new techinque. The curve suits me well; I need to iron out a few approach and release-point issues in order to achieve greater consistency. What I'm after are passionate bowling mechanics, and that shit takes practice. It's roughly the equivalent of making a perfect omelette while semi-drunk, at this I'm quite proficient at. Now I must transfer the skill to a different medium. A little more time, and the Mastodon will again roam the midwestern plains. Faintly, the words "Mammut Americanus" are whispered.
P.S. I know you're reading this El Bowlo.
Monkey: The Powerful Creatures, accompanied by Sasquatch Substitute, took the floor at the Thunderbird Lanes in Baraboo, Wisconsin on Saturday night. Thunderbird was nearly indistinguishable from the Lodi Bowl in Lodi, Wisconsin, where we did some offseason training long ago. Three things set it apart: a fine selection of bowling balls, its status as a teen hangout, and the clinically insane DJ, who kept cutting in and out of the middle of songs. He hit his stride with a block of Neil Diamond, The Offspring, Britney Spears and Radiohead. Most of the teens weren't actually there to bowl - they just roamed around on the carpeted area, left the building, returned, and repeated their migrations for hours on end. The lot of the youth of Baraboo is not a pleasant one.
Sasquatch Substitute wound up the big winner of the night, beating her all-time high once and then again. (Girls achieving their all-time high when bowling with us. This is happening far too often to be considered a coincidence.) I had it in the first half of the first game, and then I lost it. My scores for the last two games were much better than they should have been. Still, I had a good time. My thumb is not 100%, but doesn't seem to have been adversely affected.
Mastodon and I lost our focus for good when the refreshment stand announced that someone's family-size order of cheese curds was ready. Manta Ray insists that the spectre of cheese curds did not affect him, and that something else distracted him.
February 7, 2003
Monkey: My thumb injury lingers still: a bruise at the base of my right thumb, which affects my grip on the ball and therefore my accuracy. I first noticed it after our training camp after week two. We bowled six games that day, with a break for lunch between sets, but I didn't feel any pain until the next day. I haven't had a full week off since then, but I also haven't bowled more than three games at a time, so I'm frustrated that it's not getting better. The team may send me to a specialist. Perhaps there will be curative waters up in Wisconsin this weekend.
There is much talk of retro sports jerseys lately, but the truly elite items are much harder to find, such as the vintage Manta Ray jersey with the 'Mighty' in cursive letters spaced evenly over the 'Manta Ray' on the back and the stinger coming out of the bottom of the '3', or the Mastodon rookie uniform where the 'M' is a beast charging towards the rest of the name, and 'Powerful Creatures' on the front is transposed over a five-color rendition of the Lisle skyline.
Manta Ray: The Manta Ray has been swimming in some cold ass waters lately. Three weeks straight of poor bowling doesnít make anyone happy. He has decided to swim towards warmer waters to break out of his slump. Four games out of six without breaking a 100. Shame. As the other two have said maybe a change of scenery will improve the form and bowling prowess of the mighty Manta Ray. Let us head to Wisconsin!
A women hurt her ankle because she was on the lane and was fat. Casual bowlers have no place on a greasy lane. They will incur an injury. Word of advice from the below average Manta Ray.
Iím proud of the The Mastodon for not punching any of the bowlers next to us this fine evening while we went bowling. He did give them a nice glare and shouted, ďThatís what you deserve!Ē after they threw a gutter ball.
February 5, 2003
Monkey: I'm glad to have come out of there with two wins. We could have had three, but we lacked execution down the stretch in the second game, and we fell just short. (We also could have had only one win. Our focus in frames 3-6 has got to improve.) You have to give credit to The Runaways for the mental toughness to stay competitive. Lita Ford has really revamped that team since we last saw them in the first season, when they were all named for their bra sizes. (Lita Ford was by far the largest, so I guess she was the leader.) In that first meeting, we lost two out of three to them in embarassing fashion - we were well ahead of them in actual pins, but their handicap was so large that they came out ahead anyway. At some point in the second season, Lita Ford apparently cleaned house, ditched the two weaker members and recruited Joan Jett and Cherie Currie. Now they're a pretty decent squad. The problematic tendency of female bowlers to have career games against us continued, with Cherie Currie almost singlehandedly winning that second game, and that's something we really have to address.
Next week, as Mastodon mentioned, we have a return match against the former I-Screamers. They have no women, so that will help. It will be a stern challenge for us, though. They are far and away the best opponent we have faced this season. They took two of three the last time we met, and they have raised the level of their play quite a bit since then, evidently battling our arch-nemeses (Ode to Gary) to a standstill this week. Mastodon should have the matchup with El Bowlo (now "Bowltron") well in hand. I don't care what his average is; that guy is the worst bowler alive. The Manta Ray vs. The Kid matchup will be key, I think. The Kid is streaky. He may have the highest ceiling of anyone in the league, and he has an impressive arsenal of vintage comic book shirts. He is inconsistent, though. If anyone can take him out of his game, it is the Manta Ray. I am already drawing up strategies for my second go-round with the Tai Chi Master. He ran roughshod last year, but now I know his tricks, and I am going to tell him so before the match. The Manta Ray gave me a book about Tai Chi, so I am going to figure out how it applies to bowling. I already have some ideas. Bring the noise!
Mastodon: Last night our descent towards the cellar of the League standings ended. The new release proved successful, as I averaged 140 for the evening. While the Creatures took 5 out of a possible 7 points we still were dreadfully inconsistent as a team and had pull out the third game in the final frame. (We should have had it handily by the 6th.) Still, things are looking up, and Saturday bowling in the northern hinterlands (Baraboo, Wisconsin) should be put us in the proper state of mind for next week's matchup with Bowltron. Those guys need a lesson taught to them, El Bowlo in particular. My bile churns at the thought of that guy. Next week, he will be my bitch.
This Week's Results: 2 wins, 1 loss (5-7 season, 18th overall).
February 4, 2003
Monkey: Tonight, we return to the lanes. After last week's match, as we were unlacing our shoes, I said to the Mastodon, "This is going to be a long week." And it was. To sit with such defeats was not easy, especially with a single-pin loss in the last game. We bowled with friends on Sunday and had a good time. Mastodon experimented with a slight curve, Manta Ray bowled well, and I worked on my old side-arm motion, which I have decided to call "The Hammer of The Gods", because I think that is funny. It's not all the way back yet, but I did have limited success, so it will be a game-time decision as to whether it returns to the line-up. The base of my thumb is sore again. It seems likely that I will be playing through injuries all season long.
Please note the picture of an actual mastodon, newly added above.
February 3, 2003
Mastodon: My bowling bag is under my desk; it is a brown and white number with Beemster's Travel printed in capital letters on a white background. In it is my grandfather's bowling ball, which I had redrilled to fit a hand far less manly than his. (Although my forebears are far more testosterone prone than myself, I've taken the Tokarski family to a new level in terms of grace.) After work I will bowl two games and drink a single High Life. The goal of this session is to throw a curve passably well (I averaged 133 yesterday in the 1.5 games I put English on the ball, which is 15 pins better than my current league average). 118 is simply unacceptable given the amount of time I spend bowling. In the early evening my new fighting technique will take formation.
January 31, 2003
Monkey: There is a lot of soul-searching going on among the Powerful Creatures this week. The Manta Ray has declared this to be a week of seclusion. He does not wish to even see a bowling alley until our next match. Mastodon and I are going bowling on Sunday. He is still adjusting to his new ball and shoes, and has been having some precision issues. I think I am now completely comfortable with my new 16 pound ball - having previously used tens - and I am ready to begin experimenting with the sidearm delivery motion that I used for strikes with the ten-pounder. (I have two different motions for spares, one for single pins and one for multi-pin pickups, and I have thus far been using the latter as my main delivery motion with the heavier ball.)
We need to discuss strategy about the girls-having-career-games-against-us issue. Should we tone down the Manta Ray's raw sex appeal? We will do what we must in our drive to bowling greatness.
January 29, 2003
Monkey: The highlight of the night, for me, came from The Branch Davidians, the team we played last week. Two of their members, Big and Lowly Worm, are normal boobs-and-hockey guys, solid fellows, but their third, Jesus, is a genial, perpetually disoriented hippie, and he kept wandering over and trying to bowl in the wrong lanes, so they'd have to yell "Jesus! No, Jesus! No!", and he'd turn, grin, and find the right lane.
Other than that, last night was fucking brutal. We lost the final match by a single pin - a single pin! for the second time this season, already! - and the set by a combined total of less than thirty pins over three games. Ulga, whoever she is, bowled out of her mind. This is not the first time that a female bowler has had the game of her life against us. In fact, it's like the seventh or eighth time. I don't know what that's about.
I had a nasty bruise at the base of my thumb from over-conditioning (bowling six games on Monday), but I cruised along at my average for all three games. Their leader, Quade, and I had a dynamic tenth frame showdown in which we matched each other strike-for-strike, which would have been fun if it happened during a victory. Overall, we lacked the killer instinct we needed, which is the kind of thing that got Steve Mariucci fired from the 49ers, so I am going to go ahead and fire Steve Mariucci from our team, too, and see if that gets any results.
It's going to be a long week until we get out there again.
This Week's Results: 0 wins, 3 losses (3-6 season, 18th overall).
Manta Ray: Shame. That about sums up last night bowling. The worse part is in the final game, the one we really had a shot at winning, they ended up beating us by one pin. An off night for The Mighty Manta Ray.
January 26, 2003
Monkey: I, too, am rooting for the Raiders in this year's Super Bowl. I appreciate their craftiness, their guile. But I think the Buccaneers will win, in much the same way that I think I will never have a job I like and I will never pay off my credit card.
The wood, the balls, the pins. Every breath. Every day. Ah...bowling.
January 25, 2003
Manta Ray: I checked how my package was going according to Fedex package tracking. Iíve been waiting for some fine looking bowling shoes to arrive. The computer screen then told me that they were already thereÖfor two days. Now, I may miss things every once in a while, but miss bowling shoes? I donít think so. Crap, Porch signed for it. I must have missed it due to the fact it has been freaky cold out here for the past week and I just rush to get inside. So, just let me say welcome bowling shoes.
Iíve noticed the speed of my first bowling ball has increased to extreme levelsÖaka 19-20 mph. Monkey recently informed me that the speed should be around 15-17 mph. So it is time for the Mighty Manta Ray to increase the weight of his bowling ball. Prepare for some chaos.
Mastodon recently joined me in bowling Thursday evening. We both wanted to try out our new shoes and he was still trying to figure out his recently received bowling ball. Let me just say if we continue to bowl in that style no one will be able to withstand our onslaught.
The Powerful Creatures are taking Monday off to go bowling! A morning session and a late afternoon session should prepare us. There will be talk of the recently played Superbowl. I would like to go on the record that Iím rooting for the Raiders.
January 24, 2003
Monkey: We have scheduled a team retreat and training camp for Monday. I am excited about it. We will take advantage of half-price bowling during the day, and we will eat lunch. Although we are off to a good start this season, it is still felt by all that we are letting too many opportunities pass. Our offense features a lot of new techniques and equipment, and we will practice those under simulated game conditions. There is a commitment to excellence among these Powerful Creatures. We may be a young team, but we are part of a very old tradition: winning.
If our daily hit count gets high enough, perhaps I can get Steve Sabol to produce an audio supplement.
January 23, 2003
Manta Ray: It is quite impossible to miss as many close shots as we did miss the past bowling extravaganza. The worse is when it came to the 10th frame and I had to pick up the spare and just missed it, losing the game by one pin. Crap. I blame it all on not hearing ďPunk Rock GirlĒ over the sound system for two straight weeks now.
Bowling shoes have been ordered. Iím awaiting their arrival.
January 22, 2003
Monkey: A tough loss last night to a team we should have beat. I think we've played and beat Jesus, Lowly Worm and Big before, but not this time. We lost the first match by a single pin, and then got blown out in the second. (Lowly Worm and Big both had career games.) We rallied to win the third in solid fashion, but losing the set was hard to take. Mastadon struggled in the early going while adjusting to his new ball, and I had a severe pain in my left leg (just above the kneecap), so that altered my entire approach, and I had to fight through the injury. We didn't exploit the weaknesses of our opponents (trivia about NHL defensemen and girls with immense breasts), and we didn't execute our game plan. But I feel positive about our situation heading into next week. We haven't dug ourselves an early season hole like we have in the past, and Mastadon was on fire in the third game, suggesting that there are bright times ahead for him and his new (old) bowling ball, which bears the initials 'FAT'.
This Week's Results: 1 win, 2 losses (3 - 3 on the season, 13th place)
January 21, 2003
Monkey: We have already raced past the Bowling Indonesia Mailing List on Nedstat list of Top Sites (Bowls). Yes! Feel the sting of the Manta Ray, the stomp of the Mastodon, the arching eyebrow of the Monkey.
Indonesia has enough problems, though, I don't mean to single them out for abuse.
Monkey: Tonight, we bowl! We must continue the momentum from last week and put some distance between us and the fools at the back of the pack. It seems likely that I will be the only member of the team who does not own his own shoes. I'll solve that in time. Manta Ray is the only member who does not own his own bowling ball. Mastodon is the only member who sometimes wears a hat while he bowls, and then stomps on the hat when things don't go his way.
January 20, 2003
Monkey: I went bowling on Saturday night. Making a commitment to working out during the week like this will pay dividends when fatigue is beginning to set in for other teams late in the season. We were at the Marigold, which is not one of my favorite places to bowl - the facilities are run down, which is often a good thing when it comes to bowling alleys, but in this case, the low-rent ambiance does not add up to any real character - it is simply a wide open space with intermittent flashes of drunk Lakeview residents. (In a fight, the clientele from Diversey would eviscerate the average Marigold attendee, and the Timber Lanes folk would give a blank, genial shrug, preferring to talk about the White Sox instead.)
However, despite the flaws in the facilities, I was looking forward to bowling there because I have been thinking about homefield advantage as it applies to bowling. Some lanes are different than others, even within the same bowling alley, and we must be able to make the necessary adjustments in those situations before our opponents do. Lane 16 at the Marigold, for example, has an annoying tilt to the right. I bowled in very fundamentally sound fashion, experimenting with different techniques, and came in about ten pins under my average for the night. It was a satisfactory performance.
Contemplating the sheer power of our bowling force is like trying to look directly at the sun.
Manta Ray: Tomorrow is the time that we will shine. After a powerful show of force last week this week we will be greeted with another of the crew having his own personal bowling ball...one that tells people they are FAT. That is powerful alone. Not to mention the shoes that are currently on their way to help in all forms of powerful.
To sum it up - I'm excited to go bowling tomorrow night!
January 16, 2003
Monkey: I'd like to get Hunter S. Thompson interested in our bowling team. He writes on sports for ESPN's Page 2, and he is ready to abandon the 49ers, the team to which he has been loyal for years. He talks now of the Oakland Raiders, but they are aged, and will not hold his attention for long. We are a young team, and poised to strike.
January 15, 2003
This Week's Results: 2 wins, 1 loss. (Total pins unknown, because handicaps won't be factored in until next week.)
Monkey: Week 1 was a heroic return for the Powerful Creatures. We took two of three from T-Bone and the T-Boners, who were in the top three last season. They seem nice, but I wanted to beat their asses, and we did that. Our defeat at their hands midway through season two began our tragic late season slump, so I consider this an inspirational act of bowling redemption.
It was not an offensive shoot-out. My opinion is that we won through smart psychological manuevers and key marks in the clutch. Manta Ray was well above his average, carrying us through many tight spots, but Mastadon and I did not bowl very well. I am nursing a bad ankle and thumb, and I was breaking in my new ball. It was cold, because it had been in the trunk of my car all week. I have to remember to bring it in to warm it up on game days. I hit my average once and was about fifteen pins below for the other two games. Mastadon was simply having one of those nights where nothing works - he rolled the most fundamentally sound '98' you've ever seen. His new 16 pound ball will, I think, take him over the top. We are going to practice after work on Thursday. Conditioning is key to preventing these late season troubles.