Tuesday, January 31, 2017

'This Is How I' BOWL! :-)

AbleThrive has a 'this is how I' campaign to change perceptions of people with disabilities, or different abilities.

I am a C1-2 quadriplegic, paralyzed from my neck down and I drive my chair with my mouth via sip-and-puff, and yet I can bowl with the IKAN Bowler®.


Here's my 'this is how I' bowl video:



Direct YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKLNmm-A7VI


#ThisIsHowI #AbleThrive #IKANBowler #PowerWheelchairBowling


For anyone wondering, this was recorded shortly before Christmas, and yes, I am wearing a Chicago Cubs Christmas stocking cap, and Buddy the Elf pants. :-)


Bill


William A. Miller, BSBA, ME
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 255 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website: http://www.ikanbowler.com
Personal website: http://www.lookmomnohands.net

Saturday, December 31, 2016

You Can Empower Yourself in 2017

I feel like I just got hit in the face with a 1-2 punch of profound messages that can inspire positive change for anyone needing or wanting such.

The first was a truly profound blog post written by someone in a physical condition like mine (i.e. a power wheelchair user due to an uncooperative body). The second was an unrelated video example that reinforced the first message.

Before I introduce them, my blog is titled empowering wheelchair users because I wanted to highlight how wheelchair users can "get (back) in the game of life!" with something simple like wheelchair bowling. In developing the IKAN Bowler®, we created a way for wheelchair users of all abilities to be in control of their bowling game, and therapeutic recreation experts have said something simple like that can empower the person to seek greater independence in his/her life. That is all still relevant and ongoing, but I feel compelled to also share these messages…

Jon Morrow is a young man with muscular dystrophy… and a self-made millionaire… from his wheelchair. To me, life is not about money, but I mention the "self-made millionaire from his wheelchair" part simply to get your attention and hopefully demonstrate that this guy has faced some enormous challenges, and conquered them to live the life he wants, the best one he can – isn't that the American dream and all anyone can ask?

Jon wrote a lengthy blog post titled "7 Life Lessons from a Guy Who Can't Move Anything but His Face" and although I do not consider myself in need of huge changes, Jon has me thinking a bit differently and considering potential options. There's a little bit of salty language in Jon's writing, but his messages ultimately are both poignant and profound, in my opinion, and he uses his life as a dramatic example in demonstrating such. Without further ado, here you go:

https://unstoppable.me/life-lessons/

As I pondered Jon's post, I somewhat mindlessly scanned my Facebook newsfeed and came across a video of a guy who, unknowingly, is also an example of what Jon was talking about, i.e. you can take your greatest problem or fear and use that to fuel positive change.

The gentleman in the video, Jared, used to weigh 510 pounds (no, not the Subway guy). It was impacting all areas of his life negatively. Year after year, he wondered if he would see the next. His doctor told him he was going to die. He chose to live, and made the changes necessary to do so. The video is short but powerful, and a Facebook account is not required in order to view it:

Direct link: https://www.facebook.com/DDPYOGA/videos/1200467636708657/

As 2016 concludes, and folks may or may not be pondering New Year's resolutions… or perhaps more importantly… real, significant changes that need to be made… I could not ignore these two powerful messages, and I wanted to share them just in case they can help someone.

For additional tools that might help you make change… my dad's story of how he was able to overcome cancer largely by doing what he learned at Hippocrates Health Institute might help other people with health ailments, or to simply be healthier (click HERE to download his story, but he recommends watching Forks over Knives and reading the corresponding book, as great starting points). Also, I know a guy who is legitimately recovering after more than two decades with ALS – Lou Gehrig's disease, and his recovery started by reading the book "Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself" by Dr. Joe Dispenza.

Having said that, I also believe such real change can (and arguably should) coincide with faith in both yourself and God. I personally like to do a daily Bible reading, and online reading plans make it easy to do so. You have your choice of which version you want to read (I like the New International Version) and option to read the entire Bible over the course of a year, or maybe just the New Testament if you are Christian and want to focus on that over the course of a year. The new year is the perfect time to start. Here is the website I use:

https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not extend the opportunity for anyone interested to ask me about becoming a Christian (it's a standing offer). Among other benefits, doing so can take the fear out of death and give you the gift of heaven, knowing that when our time on earth expires, something spectacular awaits. But that doesn't mean we cannot make 2017 and our lives as good as possible while we are given the opportunity to do so. Each day you wake, you have that opportunity.

May God bless everyone reading this and a blessed new year to all!

Bill

William A. Miller, BSBA, ME
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 255 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website: http://www.ikanbowler.com
Personal website: http://www.lookmomnohands.net

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wheelchair Bowling League (Online) Coming Soon!

The IKAN Have Fun Bowling League (Online) is beginning in January, 2017!

We want to provide a way for wheelchair users (and friends/family) to have fun in friendly competition from anywhere in the world. PARTICIPANTS WANTED! :-)


To make it as easy and inclusive as possible, people can bowl at their convenience, and we are looking for two sets of scores per month over a three-month period to complete one league. More specifically, here is the current plan:


• Four separate, consecutive three-month leagues (bowling year-round)
• League Q1: January through March (months 1-3)
• League Q2: April through June (months 4-6)
• League Q3: July through September (months 7-9)
• League Q4: October through December (months 10-12)
• Free participation from anywhere in the world
• Mixed participation, i.e. people bowling with IKAN Bowler® users can join as well (although we will designate IKAN Bowler® users and able-bodied folks)
• Two required sets of scores per month (bowlers share their two top series of three games bowled during that month) for three months
• Bowlers share signed scoresheets (either by scanning or digital photos sent by email)
• League scores and history posted on our website for bragging rights and all to see!


Please tell us if you have ideas on how to make the format better, or if you are interested in participating – thanks!


Bill

William A. Miller, BSBA, ME
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 255 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website: http://www.ikanbowler.com
Personal website: http://www.lookmomnohands.net

Monday, October 31, 2016

Quad Squad Bowling – Things to Know…

We have a local (central Florida) Quad Squad group of friends who get together and bowl regularly. A similar Quad Squad group is being formed in Washington state.

FORMATION OF A QUAD SQUAD: Quad Squad is kind of a generic term for a group of us power wheelchair users. Most power wheelchair users function like or as quadriplegics (i.e. people with impairment in all four limbs) but any wheelchair user is welcome – whether it's CP, MD, ALS, SCI, or some other condition that is the reason for wheelchair use… it does not matter. The IKAN Bowler® makes it possible for any wheelchair user to bowl. And a bowl-a-thon is a pretty easy way to equip a group of wheelchair users with an IKAN Bowler® for each.

CADDIES TO PLACE THE BALL: we have a local nonprofit group called LovExtension, which provides volunteers to caddie for us here in central Florida. It is certainly nice to have LovExtension's help, but for other folks reading this, one good thing about quadriplegics is we generally require a caregiver, who can caddie if needed.

FRIENDLY AND LEGIT COMPETITION: friends, family, caregivers, etc.… the bigger the entourage, the more fun. Able-bodied folks can try to beat us; the IKAN Bowler® is sanctioned for legit play (including USBC leagues and tournaments). Each wheelchair user generally has their own lane when we bowl, but it's easy for an able-bodied competitor to share the lane (multiple IKAN Bowler® users can share a lane, but it's easier to bowl next to each other).

OUR BOWLING SCHEDULE: our central Florida Quad Squad group bowls twice a month. Typically, the second Saturday of each month is at AMF Leesburg Lanes, and the fourth Saturday is at Break Point Alley in Tavares. Times are almost always from roughly 4-6 PM. In November and December, we switch from the second & fourth Saturday of each month to the first & third Saturday of each month, to reduce conflicts with the holidays.

It is a fun, social, friendly competition we engage in twice a month. We usually bowl "straight up" (i.e. regular scoring rules) but occasionally we do "8 pin no tap" which means if the bowler gets 8 or more pins with the first ball, it's recorded as a strike. That is just for fun, but really can allow for some big scores.

May God bless all who are reading this.

Bill

William A. Miller, BSBA, ME
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 255 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
My blog: http://powerwheelchairusers.wordpress.com
Business website: http://www.ikanbowler.com
Personal website: http://www.lookmomnohands.net

Friday, September 30, 2016

Low or No Cost Ways To Get an IKAN Bowler®

The IKAN Bowler® is a well-engineered, durable adaptive bowling device empowering all types of wheelchair users to be able to bowl. Each unit is proudly manufactured individually, by hand, to precision standards in Brandon, Florida USA. We realize the IKAN Bowler® purchase price is not exactly pocket change for nearly all of the wheelchair users who can benefit from having their own, but if we shared our manufacturing costs, any experienced business person would say we are charging (essentially) as low a price as possible. So to help, here are…

Low or no cost ways to acquire an IKAN Bowler®:

• State programs for adaptive equipment/technology
• Veterans can qualify to get one through the VA
• Having a bowl-a-thon (it's easier than you might think)
• YouCaring or GoFundMe online fundraisers
• Donations from charitable foundations or service clubs

From Washington state on the West Coast over to Vermont on the East Coast, and all the way down to Florida, we know of wheelchair users who have qualified to receive various types of adaptive equipment and/or technology, through state programs. The IKAN Bowler® has been acquired this way.

Veterans can qualify to get an IKAN Bowler® through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) via the prosthetics department. We have an SMA government contract in order to facilitate this. Please contact us for details.

Having a bowl-a-thon really is easier than you might think, and doing so is a good way to raise money for an IKAN Bowler®. We actually have had three annual bowl-a-thons to raise money to help keep one of my Quad Squad bowling buddies (she also uses an IKAN Bowler®) out of a nursing home. You can see the format, and also download (and modify) the files we use to facilitate the bowl-a-thon fundraising by clicking HERE. A bowl-a-thon would be a good way for a group of local wheelchair users to raise enough money for everyone to get an IKAN Bowler® and form their own local Quad Squad.

YouCaring and GoFundMe are online "crowdfunding" platforms to raise money for lots of causes. YouCaring focuses more on compassionate causes such as medical needs, which is why we utilized it for the above-linked bowl-a-thon (I think the fees work out a little bit better for such endeavors). But GoFundMe is the more common and popular platform for online fundraising of all types, and it can also work for someone to humbly ask their friends and family to chip in for an IKAN Bowler® purchase.

Last but not least, some charitable organizations like the Kelly Brush Foundation and some service clubs, like Rotary Clubs, have a particular desire to help people with disabilities, and have previously purchased IKAN Bowlers®. Entities like these generally prefer to help folks in their local area. And they cannot say "yes" if you don't ask!

If you have any questions about these possibilities, feel free to email me (BillMiller@ikanbowler.com).

May God bless everyone who reads this.

Bill

William A. Miller, BSBA, ME
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 255 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website: http://www.ikanbowler.com
Personal website: http://www.lookmomnohands.net

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Quadriplegic misses bowling 300 game by one frame… sort of!

Okay, technically the title of this blog is true. I am a quadriplegic, and I missed bowling a perfect 300 game by two pins in the ninth frame, and wound up with a 264 and 11 strikes. Wait, what?

That only makes sense if you know what eight pin no tap means, which is the "sort of" reference in the blog title.

No tap is a fun, but not "legitimate" way to score a bowling game. Eight pin no tap means if the bowler knocks down eight pins or more with their first ball, it is scored as a "no tap" strike. Compared to normal bowling, that makes it easier to get strikes and to score big, which can be fun occasionally, even if the scores would not count for legitimate records like we track on our WheelchairBowlingRecords.com website.

Nevertheless, after starting with 8 consecutive strikes, I was feeling "excitedly nervous" about the possibility of bowling a perfect 300, even if it was with the benefit of eight pin no tap. It felt a lot like when I have bowled legitimate 200+ games, which I have managed to do 24 times, despite being paralyzed from my neck down and using a sip-and-puff controlled wheelchair and IKAN Bowler® attachment to bowl.

I don't know that I choked, but I certainly screwed up the ninth frame by starting my ball out too wide to the right, to where it was unable to curve back and hit the head pin. I was left with the 1-2-4-10 pins remaining. Considering I had six with my first ball, if I had knocked down two more pins with that ball, the scoring would have credited me with a no tap strike, and the pressure would have been on me to keep it up in the 10th frame. I managed to bowl three more strikes in the 10th, but did not have the pressure of a perfect game on the line.

 


Anyway, it was fun, and I am blogging about it in case others want to try bowling no tap style (and for the record, I did have four legitimate strikes in addition to the seven no tap strikes).

I got the idea from one of my fellow Quad Squad bowling buddies Lilian Strandlund.

The top scoring line in the below picture belongs to Lilian, or "Lily" as she calls herself. Lily has cerebral palsy requiring wheelchair use, and yet she pretty thoroughly beat four able-bodied people – including her husband – in their "9-pin no tap" league, bowling with her IKAN Bowler®.


 
 

You probably figured out that nine pin no tap means that the scoring system gives the bowler a strike, if the first ball knocks down nine pins or more. It's harder than eight pin no tap, obviously. But as those able-bodied guys bowling against Lily can attest, a 643 series is quite good – and I am absolutely certain the smile on Lily's face was quite big and spectacular – much like when she bowled a legitimate 215, setting multiple records.

Lily shared the scorecard from her league, and that gave me the idea that maybe we should do it when we get together with some of our other friends for our local Quad Squad bowling. That's what we did this past Saturday. We all had fun scoring higher than normal thanks to the no tap, and Lily came pretty close to my 264 top score, bowling a 255.

No tap bowling or not, get out there and have some fun – life is short! :-)

Bill

William A. Miller, BSBA, ME
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 255 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website: http://www.ikanbowler.com
Personal website: http://www.lookmomnohands.net
 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Incredible Three-Game Series Bowled by Power Wheelchair User

Curtis (Curt) Wolff is an excellent bowler, despite having to bowl from a seated position.

Curt was an avid bowler – averaging in the 220s – before being afflicted by the West Nile virus, which resulted in him experiencing acute flaccid paralysis and he now functions much like a C4-5 quadriplegic. Thus, Curt requires a power wheelchair for mobility.

He was thrilled to discover the IKAN Bowler® which enabled him to rekindle his passion for bowling.

And on March 14, 2016 Curt bowled an incredible three-game series: he averaged 213.67, bowling three consecutive games over 200 – a 212, a 205, and a 224 – with ZERO open frames in the series!

As a fellow wheelchair user with about 1000 games of experience with the IKAN Bowler®, please let me try to explain just how good Curt's series was.

My average is about 150 and I usually bowl three or four games twice a month with our local Quad Squad group, and have been blessed to do so for more than a dozen years. That's where the roughly 1000 games of experience comes from, and I'm also a world record holder with a 255 high game.

In roughly 1000 games, I have scored 200+ a total of 24 times. Sheesh, that makes me look like not-so-good of a bowler – but it's really not that easy to break 200! :-)

Driving our wheelchairs, we get about 6 mph of ball speed using the IKAN Bowler® which requires us to be very precise (some luck doesn't hurt either!) in order to score big. Comparatively speaking, able-bodied male professional bowlers hurl their bowling balls down the lane at an average of roughly 19 mph, and consequently, they get much greater "pin action" when their ball impacts the pins. Greater pin action leads to more strikes. More strikes leads to higher scores. Consecutive strikes in particular really help scores add up quickly, but making spares is important also.

I mention all this because in three games, or 30 total frames, Curt had either a spare or strike in every single frame.

Comparatively, despite having 24 games of 200+ out of my 1000 bowled, I think I have had at most half a dozen (six games) with zero open frames (an open frame is one without a spare or strike).

Point being, it is quite difficult to bowl 200+ and even more difficult to bowl a clean game with no open frames.

Curt did BOTH in three consecutive games.

That is mighty impressive!

And if you look at his scoresheet, you will notice he had to convert three splits in order to not leave an open frame. Two of the splits required very precise shots.

The print out of his scoresheet (viewable as a PDF file HERE) shows that he had a 2-10 split in the second frame of his first game, and if you aren't familiar with the pin positions, the scoresheet shows you where they are. Even a non-expert bowler can tell that that is a difficult spare to pick up.

In game three, Curt had to pick up a 9-10 split, which is two pins exactly side-by-side. To convert that spare essentially requires the ball splitting the gap right between the two pins – and the ball itself is just a little bigger than the gap. The space between two side-by-side pins is 7.25 inches, and standard bowling balls are 8.5 inches, so there's not much room for error if the ball is going to knock both pins over.

In totality, that is the best three-game scoresheet I have seen from a wheelchair user bowling in dynamic fashion (dynamic just means incorporating the movement of the wheelchair, i.e. not stationary ramp bowling).

In case it's not obvious by now… I am HIGHLY impressed.


Click HERE for a video clip of Curt bowling a pocket strike.

And click HERE for a video clip of Curt picking up a spare.

Keep up the terrific bowling Curt! :-)

Bill

William A. Miller, BSBA, ME
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 255 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website: http://www.ikanbowler.com
Personal website: http://www.lookmomnohands.net