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LET’S START THE 2021-22 season out with mentioning some news and highlights from the Mercer County Bowling Association yearly meeting that was held on May 24.

After the meeting was called to order, state and local tournaments were discussed. The only state tournament that has not concluded is the senior tournament that will take place in Williamsport in the months of October and November.

County tournaments are tentatively scheduled as follows: The Open County Tournament is scheduled for the last weekend in Feb and the 1st weekend in March of 2022 at Celebrity Bowl. The senior tournament is scheduled for Thornton Hall the weekend of March 12, 2022, pending approval from the new owners.

The final news of importance concerns election of officers. The following were elected: President: Bobby Johnson, 1st VP: Burton Stiles, 2nd VP: Lisa Brajkovich. The following were elected to the Board of Directors: Jamie Altman, Jeff Bragg, Alan Carpec, Beth McCracken Griffin, Brenda Scrivens, and Jim Scrivens.

• It’s the start of the new bowling season, and hopefully we can get through it without interruptions from COVID or other things. Here are a few tips you should consider before you throw that first ball.

If you didn’t bowl during the summer, you should get out and practice. However, take your time and don’t exert yourself on your early shots. Your muscles need to adapt to the new activity. You don’t want to pull any muscle or have any type of early injury that could prevent you from a full year of bowling.

You should also consider cleaning out your bowling case. Get rid of all the items you collected from the previous bowling season (standing sheets, banquet notices, and i.e.). Wash your towel or get a new one.

Check your equipment, and begin with your shoes. Clean the bottoms and consider new laces. If your shoes are worn, you might want to think about purchasing a new pair. If you have improved your average significantly and are contemplating a more competitive league, you might want to consider a pair that permits you to change the sliding soles and heels depending upon the condition of the approaches.

Restock all your accessories (tape, ball cleaner, i.e.). Today’s high tech equipment has a tendency to absorb oil. If you don’t use a ball cleaner, purchase some. It comes in either spray bottles or wipes.

Changes in your physical situation from the previous year should be taken into consideration and some of those might lead to having your ball re-drilled. Remember that as we get older, we tend to lose flexibility.

If you are or approaching the senior citizen age group, it’s a good idea to have your pro-shop owner evaluate your grip. You might need to shorten your span or change your pitch to compensate for any physical differences that may have occurred.

Youth bowlers also should be aware of changes. They experience growth spurts and increased strength. This usually leads to an increase in your span and a potential of going to heavier equipment.

Age may also play a part in strength. Most of us lose strength as we get older. If you find yourself struggling with a ball that seems too heavy, don’t hesitate to drop your ball weight. Tests have shown that with today’s high tech equipment hitting power loss is almost minimal.

You may have had surgery that may have affected your strength (rotator cuff, hip replacement, knee replacement). If that has occurred, a couple of practice session is a must.

It’s also a good idea to check your thumb and finger grips. No matter what brand or type, they all wear out. There are usually three indicators that tell you it’s time to change grips – a loss of lift and power, a loose feeling in the thumb or finger holes, and lack of grip (fingers) when releasing the ball.

The last area we will discuss is resurfacing your ball. We are well aware that the surface is one of the major factors in how the ball reacts with the lane. That’s why it is important to clean your equipment after each session.

However, that is not enough. Dirt, lane conditioner, and oil get into the pores of modern equipment and will affect a ball’s performance. Normal wear and tear on the ball also compounds the problem.

All bowling balls will pick up nicks and scratches. This is to be expected and is usually not a main cause for concern. However, any damage to the track area should be dealt with

We all know the track area is the worn part surrounding your ball that is a result of routine contact between the lane surface and the ball. As we continue to use our equipment, typical wear in the track area will progress to the point where your ball may be ineffective. When this occurs, it may be time to get your ball resurfaced.

There are two methods that can be used – hand-sanding the ball in a high-speed spinner or one of the high tech ball resurfacing machines. Both methods are usually done by a pro-shop owner. Obviously, the latter method is preferred as it eliminates over-sanding which leads to a flat spot on the ball.

To each and every one one of you, here’s hoping you have a great season.

GABE D’ANGELO is a member of the Mercer County Bowling Hall of Fame and Professional Bowlers Writers Association who writes this weekly column for The Herald.

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