Positive Access Point
By John Baker
An Ode to Glory !
In the hours of work and all the people I talk to for research for my article’s it is very rare to come upon a Diamond in the rough, someone that isn’t afraid to put themselves out there for all to see. Even though they are not a Professional bowler but do it for the love of the sport and to have a bit of fun as well. Timmothy Merath from “ Gutter to Glory” is one of those people . He writes a bowling blog about his trials and tribulations and even though we have not actually met, I consider him a friend . He makes me laugh and in this day and age its exactly what we need. I asked Tim a few questions and I hope you enjoy his responses as much as I did.
Q. Please introduce yourself to our readers with a little background on yourself?
A. I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my wife, Kim, and my daughter, Lily. I have worked in advertising for the past 11 years and love just about every moment of it. Bowling was just a recreational sport for most of my life, maybe hurling a ball haphazardly down the lane once or twice a year. My boss is an avid bowler and asked me to sub a few times during the 2008/2009 season. I didn’t get much bowling but did end up averaging 134 after a very generous and knowledgeable teammate gave me one of his old finger-tip balls and showed me a few things. I then bowled almost the entire 2009/2010 season, ending up with an average of 154 (with very little for accomplishments or highs). Then, I think I bowled two or three times recreationally until the fall of 2011. After a year and a half off, I wanted to get back into it and the opportunity to be the featured bowler for guttertoglory.com gave me a great reason/excuse. Since then, it’s been a wild ride full of tons of great experiences and a few head-scratching slumps and bumps. I’m really, really grateful that I have the chance to represent Roto Grip and they’ve been nothing short of amazing with providing equipment, coaching, and support. It’s been a high-speed education in bowling and I look forward to each new gear. I’m anxious for that next gear, actually.
Q. What Balls do you throw?
A. Thanks to the amazingly amazing folks at Storm and Roto Grip, I have a great arsenal to work with. I started out with a Roto Grip Outlaw, a Roto Grip Bandit, and a Storm Ice Storm spare ball. In December, I added the new Roto Grip Defiant to the team. It is really a good variety of hook potential and I can respond to just about anything. In theory, that is. Doesn’t mean I’ll throw it right.
Q. How often or amount of games do you practice a week?
A. I practice during lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays, at the least. I try to bowled at least 10 games of practice between those days, if not more. Then, I bowl league on Thursday nights. I only have two more weeks of my first league left and then we have a Monday night league for work starting. I will probably move my practice days to Wednesday and Friday, then. And whenever I can sneak away and roll a few games, but don’t tell my wife… haha!
Q. Do you bowl cheaper tournaments to learn new oil patterns?
I have yet to bowl any tournaments besides the 2010 Wisconsin state tournament. I don’t even really know what went on then and what I faced for oil since my game, so infantile at that point and I was overwhelmed by all the activity and craziness going on around me. I would really like to start bowling some tournaments this summer or fall, though. Can’t be anything but good to experience more conditions and challenges to make my game more versatile. Bowling would be easy if you always saw the exact same situation, right?
Q. Do you have a coach and what is their advice FOR you?
A, Steve Richter, USBC Silver Level Certified Coach & Storm Certified Instructor, is my coach and is a huge reason why I’ve been able to make the improvements I have this season and reach some of the personal goals I’ve set for myself. We’ve worked on a handful of things to tune in my form, but the biggest impact he had came from our very first session. He taught me how to calm the motion in my shoulders. After releasing my left hand from the ball, I point my left arm out, palm outwards towards a target off to the left. A theoretically stationary target so that I don’t twist my left arm back and therefore pull my right arm forward and the ball after it. I used to struggle a ton with crossing over and gutter balls to the left. Now that’s been 99.9% solved (creeps up occasionally when my muscle memory gets nostalgic).
Q. If a ball is dropped in a forest does it make a strike?
A. Nope, there are lots of leaves in the forest.
Q. When did you first start bowling?
A. Aside from recreationally, 2009.
Q. What is your overall goal?
A. My big, grand goal is to get to a 200 average. I anticipate that it’s going to take quite a while to get there, but I’m in this for the long haul.
Q. What is your average now?
A. As of 1/19/2012, my league average is 157. That’s only 51 games out of 133 I’ve bowled and tracked (including practiced). My overall average is 160 if you include all those other games. Not that there’s a huge difference there, but I prefer higher numbers.
Q. Who is your favorite Bowling Star?
A. I’ve had the great pleasure (and luck) of meeting my fair share over the last year and it’s gotta be Norm Duke. He’s so approachable and pleasant off the lanes, with an obvious appreciation for his fans, and then turns on the ferocious competitor within him when he steps onto the approach. I respect that drive and dedication and how he balances that with the fame and intrusion into his personal life. He’s the favorite, but everyone I’ve met has been really nice. It’s a wonderful community and it’s great to get even a glimpse of it.
Q. What advice would you give bowlers out there.
A. Bowl, a lot and push your boundaries. I’m just beginning to understand versatility and adjustment and it’s helped me hit personal bests for game and series. How can you compete if you don’t understand the conditions? Like hitting out of the rough on the golf course—you’re not going to ever learn to do it correctly if you keep kicking the ball back onto the fairway. Embrace the challenges and frustrations and turn them into fuel.
Our thanks to Timmothy Merath for his candor and humor. You can read his blog at www.guttertoglory.com of course after you read us here first. Would like to go on record along with Tim, “It’s a wondrful community and it’s great to be a part of it”. Remember, bowling (or anything) is what you make of it. If you want to learn, put yourself out there and ask questions. Stay positive and so will your game. Thanks again Tim and we’ll be keeping an eye on you and your progress.
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