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Richards far exceeds 85 average

October 18, 2011
The Mining Journal

Normally, I'm not going to make this column just about the new Mining Journal Bowler of the Week feature.

But Tania Richards' feat on the lanes last week wasn't just impressive - it was extraordinary.

This new league bowler bowled an amazing 315 pins over her average in the Coors Light Ladies League at Ishpeming's Country Lanes last Thursday.

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For those of you who remember the century award they used to give out when you rolled a hundred pins over average in one game, the 30-year-old Ishpeming resident averaged better than that for three games.


Here's her statistics: Tania came in with just an 85 average after three weeks this season, so that would mean a 255 average for three games.

Instead she obliterated that number, rolling a 570 series that included a 214 game. The 214 alone was 129 pins over average, probably worthy for BOW consideration by itself.

Checking her league standings sheet for this week, with the big score included, her average popped all the way up to 111, a 26-pin increase four weeks into the season.

I modeled the BOW honor on what the bowling column did in my hometown newspaper, the Saginaw News, when I was growing up. I don't ever remember anybody going 300 pins over in a week in all the years I read it, and this was in a town that used to have near the population of Green Bay, Wis., and had around 200 lanes among six centers.

So I gave Tania a call on Monday, thanks to her league secretary, Joleen North, who passed on her phone number to me.

It was probably a little weird to get a call from the Mining Journal about bowling when she'd never participated in a league until a month ago, but Tania was happy to talk to me.

Moving to the area with her family about four years ago, Tania's mother-in-law, Donna Richards, said that her Thursday night league needed some bowlers. So she joined a team as a sub, then was quickly promoted to a regular when the need came up.

"The only time I'd ever bowled was with my kids, sometimes with the bumpers, sometimes without them," she told me.

And apparently it showed those first few weeks.

"There was too much for me to think about every time I went up there on the lane," she said.

Teammates and other league members were friendly enough to offer their advice, but sometimes the mind isn't as efficient as a computer. Bowling, like just about any sport, works better when you can just disengage your mind and let your body take over.

Tania said her high game in those first three weeks was 118, and even though she couldn't remember what her other two games were on her big night, I calculated her average in those "bad" games was 178.

The night wasn't without it drawbacks, though.

"I dropped the ball behind me once time," Tania said. "But all the girls were supportive. They said, 'That's all right, it happens to everyone.'"

The key to her vast improvement, Tania said, was slowing down her tempo. It wasn't a new ball, since she's still using a house ball off one of the racks near the lanes, though she went heavier this week.

"I was using a 10-pound ball, but some of the girls said I might want to try a 12-pounder for the first ball and a 10-pounder for the second," she said.

Hmm ... that doesn't sound like bad advice, because while the extra power in a heavier ball can help get you strikes, accuracy is all that counts for nearly every kind of spare.

All I know is that if Tania keeps improving this rapidly, she'll be ready for the Pro Bowlers Tour in about five or six weeks.

Back in the real world, the men's BOW winner was Ross Poupard of Negaunee, who rolled 143 pins over his average in the Miller Genuine Draft League at Country. Last Tuesday, the 140-average Poupard rolled 563.

The biggest pins-over report from Superior Lanes, by the way, was Chris Spagnuolo in the Friday 800 Mixed League. He was 125 pins over his 174 average with a 647 series.

A reminder again, for all you secretaries, feel free to send me an email at the address at the end of this column and I'll put your scores into the race for Bowler of the Week.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.



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