Saturday, December 31, 2011

Vent-Dependent Quadriplegic Bowls a 212 and 14th Game of 200+

Recently at Quad Squad Bowling, I bowled my third highest score to date, a 212, which was my 14th game of 200 or better.  That's not bad, especially considering that I'm paralyzed from my neck down and use a ventilator to breathe.  I share this to show people, especially wheelchair users, what is possible.

If you're wondering how it's possible, the answer is called an IKAN Bowler, which is essentially a fancy bowling ramp that can attach to pretty much any wheelchair.  I'm actually credited with co-inventing the IKAN Bowler, and we got it approved by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) for league and tournament play -- any league or tournament, anywhere -- bowling with and/or against able-bodied bowlers or fellow IKAN Users.  Of course IKAN Users can also bowl just for fun, recreationally, too.

You can download my scoresheet as a PDF file (if you cannot open it, download free Adobe Reader HERE).

My strike ball was working well that day, but I had an unusually difficult time picking up spares (which is to say that I missed quite a few "easy" spares that I usually convert) especially in the first game.  I managed to bowl a turkey (i.e. three consecutive strikes) which helped me to a 161 in my first game, despite having just one spare.

My second game was the 212.  My strike ball continued to work well as I had another turkey and two non-consecutive strikes also.  I did much better with my spare attempts in game two, converting all five, including in the tenth frame.  I was particularly pleased with that spare pickup because had I missed it, I would've had a 202 -- for the third time.

I'll always be thrilled with any game of 200 or better -- and it's fun to bowl even if the scores aren't so high -- but I really wanted a score that I hadn't bowled before.  So picking up the spare in the tenth frame, and following it with 9 pins with the extra ball, that gave me a 212.  I've now had a 200, four 201s, two 202s, a 203, 205, 206, 210, 212, 221 and 223.

My third game was not-so-good, especially compared to what I'd just done.  Not to make excuses, but I had four splits and also missed two single-pin spare attempts.  That resulted in a 136, which I couldn't possibly end on, so I bowled a fourth game -- which could have been my 15th game of 200 or better.

Game four was good -- I actually had four consecutive strikes.  So I was certainly in good position to break 200 again, but in the tenth frame, I started my ball out too wide and it didn't come back into the headpin enough.  That left me with a difficult spare attempt (4-5-7-8; you can see the setup on the scoresheet) which requires perfectly splitting the 4 & 5 pins, and hoping the 7 & 8 will fall also.  I very nearly split the 4 & 5, just barely missing the 5 pin (the ball is just a bit bigger than the space between the two side-by-side pins, but a very accurate shot is required to get both pins).  And so I ended with a 195.

All in all, it was a whole lot of fun.  I thank my fellow bowlers, caddies, and everyone who was cheering me on, and also those who helped make it possible for a vent-dependent quadriplegic to not only go somewhere, but to physically and fairly compete in a sport.

I'm grateful.

All glory to God.

Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 223 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
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