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Alan Logan was ‘smashmouth bowler’ deluxe

Alan Logan tried to "blow up" the pins.
Alan Logan tried to "blow up" the pins.
Jerome Aron

This is one of my favorite stories and was originally published Dec. 22, 2011. This article is in honor of Alan Logan, who died at age 52 one month ago today.

It's called “smashmouth bowling,” and in many ways, it’s the same as “smashmouth football.”

In football, it’s the defensive line that takes a pounding when a big-muscle offensive line uses its brawn to run straight ahead and plow through beleaguered defenders.

In bowling, it's the pins that feel the wrath of an all-out onslaught by a rampaging ball.

And few people personify “smashmouth bowling” more than Alan Logan, a strapping 6-foot-1, 214-pound right-handed flinger who drives his strike ball right up the gut at the pins.

There’s no messin’ around by Logan.

He just doesn't knock down pins.

He blasts them.

He overpowers them.

He destroys them.

He obliterates them.

In Logan's vernacular, he “blows them up.”

Typically, Logan will send “messenger” pins scurrying everywhere as they try to cut down any still-standing pins.

This is “smashmouth bowling” at its finest and this method is not for everyone. It’s just for those powerful enough and bold enough to pull off the feat.

Does “smashmouth bowling” work?

Is it better than simply trying to throw a dainty hook that wedges into the pocket and tries politely to shake up all the pins?

Consider this:

Logan's teams have won two league championships in his five years of bowling. And Logan has averaged a more-than-respectable 152 during his league competition at AMF Woodlake Lanes in Woodland Hills.

Logan, using a 15-pound ball, registers 18 mph on his strike ball before reducing his speed to improve accuracy on his second ball.

He said before he got his own ball, he sometimes would hit 22 mph with the house ball.

“I’m not sure if it's the right coaching method,” said Logan of his gun-slinging ways, “but it’s just my personal technique.”

His colleagues have taken notice.

“He sometimes gets a strike and he doesn’t even hit the head pin,” noted bowling expert Tom Martino, who competes in Logan’s league. “The pins sometimes hit the side wall and then bounce back toward the middle of the lanes and if something is standing, it’ll just wash it out.”

Even with his successful bang-it-up style, the 50-year-old Logan said he gets offers “all the time” to help him develop a hook.

Logan said he good-naturedly agrees to try, but “I don't get a chance to practice [a curve]. I have a busy life with grandkids. I've tried it a couple times, but you have to practice it.

“I've just been very successful keeping my arms straight and bowling strong. I admire people who release the ball and you don't hear the ball [down the lane]. It's like a duck on water. I always applaud them. It's the coolest thing.

“I'm not able to do that with my big arm,” said Logan, laughing.

Logan’s enthusiasm is quite visible after he rolls a strike, using an ear-piercing clap right afterward.

“It's my personal excitement,” Logan explained. “I wear my excitement on my sleeve.”

A striking figure on the lanes – no pun intended – Logan is a popular figure at Woodlake Lanes.

“Alan is one of the kindest people I've met,” bowler Carol Tucker said. “He cares so much about others and is filled with a radiant spirit that makes everyone around him happy. He is a very special man.”

Logan bowls on a team with his life partner, Lillian Matson, along with Chris Ohmstede and Scott Tschappat. The team is enjoying a strong season and is battling for the league title.

On that team, there's no shortage of excitement – or noise.

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