It’s nice to see one of the premier summer leagues back to where it used to be. This speed league used to take up the entire house a few years back and sadly it almost folded last season.
Thanks to some hard work by Frank De Luca and Brian Fournier, the league has exploded! It’s the perfect setup: two person teams, five strings, five boxes at a time. The thing with this league is that Frank and Brian listened. They took the bowlers requests into account and they tried to work in the good things and leave out the questionable things and it turned into a major formula for success.
The most controversial topic that had to be addressed was the handicap. For years it was always 100% – and frankly this league was just too good for that to happen. In 2010, there were twenty bowlers – sixteen of which were over a 110 average. Realistically, it wasn’t going to work. It had to change. They put it to a vote, and the number that was agreeable to most, if not all, was 85%. It keeps it close but fair (if you were supposed to get 20 pins, now it’s 17). The league had such an infusion of teams that it even had to vote on bowling an extra weekend in July so that each team would face every other team once and still be able to have a position week at the end of August.
People came back to the league that were in it years past – Mark Ricci, Dave Mallahan, and Brandon Marks; and new people came in including Jon Boudreau, Maria Mazzarella, and Nick Norcross (there was even a Sammy Dagostino sighting as a sub)! The list goes on, and on and it’s clearly based on the good work of Frank and Brian.
So what happened on the first night you ask?
Yep – there were some scores thrown.
134, 155, 165, 127, 158, 164, 130, 133, 139!
Those were just in the first string alone! This league lit it up on Wednesday to the tune of 19 130’s, 8 140’s, 8 150’s, 3 160’s and even a lone 170 string! Of the 35 bowlers that threw in week 1 there were 11 600’s and one 700!
Yes, there was some great bowling. Yes, the pins were flying. Yes, people got breaks. Keep in mind, people still had to hit their shots. Malden is quite fast, but it’s what most bowlers call “honest fast”. If you hit the pocket, you get normal looking leaves and you still need to hit your two-pinners and triangles to score. The real benefit of Malden is when you’re slightly off the headpin. It’s very possible to get seven, eight, and even nine drops off the two or three pin, and that’s where your score really jumps because that’s either extra pins of fill, or it’s decent leave that gets you going to two or three marks in a row – unless you’re Mark Ricci and you just go 10 for 10 on the headpin – then this paragraph doesn’t apply (nice 712 by the way).
Speaking of Mark, he put it best when he thanked Frank and Brian (and me) – “Thank you for making this league amazing again. There’s an electricity in this building that’s been gone for years and it’s back. People are excited to bowl again. Thank you for not letting this league die.”
Week 1 featured some amazing bowling with Jon Bourdreau leading the way with a 175 single, and Mark Ricci with a 712 for five. Team 14 threw a high game of 315 and Team 13 (God you both need team names!) threw a high total of 1291. What’s even more intriguing is how close some of the strings and matches were. There were three strings that came down to a single pin, and five more that were five pins or less. Unbelievably there was a match that came down to two pins for total, and if that wasn’t enough how about the match between Nonsense and Doomsday Machine that came down to one pin in favor of Doomsday Machine!
There were battles in every match, on every lane. Expect more of the same this Wednesday 7:30 PM. Please God make it so we don’t have to bowl at the same time the Bruins are battling the Canadians in game 7. Just let them finish it out tonight…