A sticky situation at our bowling league

I was the first man up on lane four for our eight minutes of bowling warmup Thursday night.

Old Man Bialczak, fresh off a day hanging out with Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle at the Little Bitty in the Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood and anxious to loosen up these creaky joints of mine, carefully one-two-three-four-ed it to the foul line.

Tightness of form be damned, I expected the familiar slide of my left foot in conjunction with the final arm swing to propel my spinning shot down the lane.

But my shoe stuck.

My body continued forward.

I suspect I looked a bit like a failing and falling gymnast not nailing the finish before I tipped forward enough for my right hand to touch the oiled lane to control the situation. In true league play, it would have been a foul.

Sorry, no video exists, I’m fairly certain.

It was humid in Bowling Green lanes of North Syracuse, thanks to the 78-degree F Wednesday followed by Thursday’s 50s.

And bowlers were sticking on the lanes all around me.

The sticky approach, with my teammate Steve Vicik on lane three.

The sticky approach, with my teammate Steve Vicik on lane three.

After a series of loud yelps, Rollie came out from behind the service desks with one of those big, wide dry mops and swept the approaches.

My left shoe, dried, powdered, and scuffed.

My left shoe, dried, powdered, and scuffed.

I kept sticking during practice. I borrowed teammate Tiny’s resin back, powdering the bottom of my bowling shoe. I scraped my shoe on the bottom of the mat they place on the stairs leading down to the lanes. A clean sliding shoe is a constant need each and every week.

I kept sticking, even when the real bowling began.

And so I improvised. I moved my starting spot up, shortening my approach distance to slow myself down. And I replaced the finishing slide with a little hop.

It wasn’t terrible.

Bottom of the team heap but over my average.

Bottom of the team heap but over my average.

I put together a couple of strike strings the first two games, overcoming three spare misses — two splits and a left-side pin each game — for identical 179 scores.

I kind of hoped to close with a 179 to score a triplicate patch.

Alas, my first shot kept creeping toward the head pin that last game, and three splits and a missed 10-pin paired with a couple of doubles added up to a 154.

Team-wise, we took two of three and total pins.

It’s getting toward the end of the season.

Not as good as the first half.

Not as good as the first half.

We entered the night in eighth place. The five-point night versus Dings Disappear, the ninth-place team, was much-needed.

Average, I am.

Average, I am.

I did enough to keep my average at 165.

When my schedule came out for week one in the paint department at the store, I was scheduled for the closing shift. Somebody will sub for me next week. The week following, I’m scheduled off. Yay. For the three weeks left in the season after that, I’m hoping to land opening or mid-shifts so I can roll out the campaign with my teammates.

What has a sudden rise in humidity done to mess up your routine? What did you do to cope with the circumstances? What would you have done in my shoes?

22 thoughts on “A sticky situation at our bowling league

  1. We don’t deal with a lot of humidity here. That stinks about your shoe sticking. But from what little I know about bowling it sounds like you landed on your feet with regards to your score. Have fun with the paint machine!!!!


  2. With how hard and uncoordinated I run up on my approach, sticking is something I always worry about. A stick that brings my foot to a dead stop will probably result in me being halfway down the alley if it ever happened..

    How coincidental that I was also working on a triplicate last night… only I actually came within a whisker of getting it. 168, 168….. 169. Needed XX9 in the 10th for the trip and wound up striking out. Then again, that got us a tie game and our lone point of a rare 1-6 night….


    • Yes, Bill, sticking for a mad-dash power bowler such as yourself would be horrific! We have some guys in our league who throw it in the 19 mph range. Not on the other team this week or lanes flanking us, so I didn’t spot how they reacted to the sticky mess.

      Wow, I’m glad you struck on the final shot for that tie and precious lone point. Much more important that the 168 triplicate would have been.

      I’m actually thinking of keeping the shorter, slower approach when I go back in two weeks … but with a slide replacing the little hop at the end, I hope.


  3. Hi Mark, I have only bowled now and then, but this looks like fun, even with the slip-sliding. I may have to put it on my Life List, except who would want a beginner on their team? You adjusted as needed, and Syracuse weather has many unexpected effects for sure! Enjoy the rest of the season.


    • Ermine, there are many folks who would enjoy going with a beginner on a non-league outing, and even throw in some tips for fun, I’m sure. League play could follow after a bit of practicing and comradeship. πŸ™‚ Hey, it’s been great to see you pop into the store these past few months, my friend. Remember, now I’ve moved to the paint department.


  4. Higher humidity generally doesn’t impact my day to day life much, other than being less comfortable. That said, when I was trucking one of the dash gauges indicated turbo boost pressure. This was a good measure of turbo efficiency and could give a preliminary warning of a number of other issues including fuel pressure, fuel waxing, Oddly enough, it could also indicate a coming storm. When the barometric pressure dropped, the turbo boost pressure would increase. I had a Cat 400 Horsepower 3406 mechanical and the boost was typically 26-28 pounds. As a low pressure system moved in the boost would increase to as high as 35 or more (the gauge only went to 35). The higher the humidity and lower the air pressure, the higher the boost pressure. It may have been my imagination but it seemed the truck worked better when the boost pressure was higher. As odd as it may seem – when trucking in remote areas it was useful to have a forewarning of a large storm approaching. if the boost pressure was high and climbing and I was tired, I would pull over in a safe place to have a snooze rather than get caught in a storm (especially in winter).


  5. ooh, sorry. i had no idea that could happen. looks like you did okay in spite of this, a true bowling pro. as for me, my front door sticks when it’s truly humid and my hair gets a bit crazy – that’s it!


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