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 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! :-)


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
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