You just can't hold a good bowler down.
I'm learning that with the Mining Journal Bowler of the Week honors not even a month old.
I'd like to take credit for two huge performances in the past two weeks, since I must have inspired these bowlers to new heights in their quest for fame and adulation.
But alas, neither bowler even knew about the BOW award until I called them at their respective homes.
It is kind of fun, however, telling bowlers who seem pretty average that their fun times on the lanes are going in the newspaper the next day or two.
Last week, it was brand-new league bowler Tania Richards of Ishpeming shooting an amazing 315 pins over her average in a league at Country Lanes.
This week, it's Rich Vanderschaegen of Munising, who travels with his girlfriend Krissy Kampe to Marquette every week to participate in the Tuesday Night Mixed League at Superior Lanes.
Vanderschaegen rolled a whopping 277 pins over his 156 average, shooting a nice 745 series on games of 265, 287 and 193.
Though his pins-over-average total wasn't quite as high as Richards, his circumstances make the feat just as impressive.
Unlike Richards, who never bowled in a league before September, Vanderschaegen has been a weekly bowler for about a decade, though it's only his second year away from Munising and bowling at Superior Lanes.
And while Richards had just three weeks in when she shot the lights out, the 30-year-old Vanderschaegen now has seven weeks in, so his average is more "settled," I guess is the best way I can describe it. Despite now having in 21 games, he raised his average 13 pins to 169.
He told me Monday that his previous high series was in the "mid 600s" on a night he bowled a near-perfect 299 game several years ago at High Fives lanes in Munising.
"It's hard to explain, but everything just felt right last week," he said.
The night started off rather strangely from what Rich told me, as he threw one ball in practice, his 15-pound Hammer Black Widow Sting, then switched to another ball to start the first frame, a 14-pound Brunswick Slingshot that used to be Kampe's ball.
Vanderschaegen actually missed a spare to start the night, then reeled off nine strikes in a row. The 265 was 109 pins over average by itself.
Then just to one-up himself, he began the next game with a spare and threw 10 more strikes in a row for 287, a game 131 pins over.
Right there he was 240 pins over for two games. Or to put it another way, if he bowled a zero the third game, he still would've shot 552, which is 84 pins over his three-game average.
"I didn't really think about it," he said when he started the final game. "I was just worried about shooting 600. I had an open frame in the first frame and in the third frame."
But he still pulled out 193 for a stupendous night on the lanes.
It took an effort like that to overshadow Tim McIntire of Marquette, who rolled 216 pins over his 184 average with a 768 set a night later at Superior Lanes in the Industrial League. He had games of 278, 265 and 225 for what I imagine would be a BOW winner just about any other week this season.
The top male shooter reported at Country Lanes last week was Jeff Wood in the Tuesday Miller Genuine Draft Major League. With a 122 average, he popped a 537 series to go 171 pins over average on games of 176, 169 and 192.
For the women, Ashley Cole was reported at 106 pins over in the Country Trio League on Wednesday. The 140-average bowler shot a 526 series.
I'm just itching to see what kind of numbers will be produced this week by some bowler almost nobody knows about. They've got some high standards to meet, however, with what Richards and Vanderschaegen have been doing.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.