For someone with a 200 average, David Appy took it pretty well when he started to bowl in the 30s.
Appy was discussing his one season in league play when he shifted to a left-hander after tendinitis forced him to stop bowling as a righty.
“It was fun to barely get the ball on the lane and try to get above 100,” Appy said. “The first time, it was going in the gutter most of the time.”
Appy made the conversion to his “off” hand three years ago. The success he later enjoyed serves as an inspiration for that growing sect of bowlers who turn to their opposite hand after undergoing an injury to their primary hand.
Four years ago, Appy was living in the San Fernando Valley and bowling Thursday nights. He was a top-caliber bowler as a right-hander, having rolled a “handful” of 700 series with a single-game high of 299.
Then as a lefty, he started in the 30-average range, but he didn’t stay there for long. His average kept growing until it topped out in the 170s. He also bowled several games in the 250s as a lefty. “It was just a few strikes from perfect,” he recalled.
Appy, who will turn 33 on Friday, said he wasn’t “terribly surprised” that he was able to work his lefty average within range of his prior right-handed average.
“I’m moderately ambidextrous. I’m not terrible with my left hand,” Appy said. “The hardest part was the footwork and what you do with the other arm. Once you get your ‘off’ arm to balance your body, it’s really easy [to bowl as a left-hander].”
Appy was at AMF Woodlake Lanes in Woodland Hills last week, but not as a bowler. He was there to reconnect with a large throng of friends that he had made while bowling in the league there. Appy is now living in Ames, Iowa, where he has returned to college to pursue his doctorate in chemistry.
As for what bowlers could expect if they shift to their “off” hand, Appy said, “My advice would be this would be an opportunity to learn the game without all the bad habits.
“Your ‘off’ hand won’t be as natural and you won’t be as good. I think I learned a real technical style with my ‘off’ hand.
“I didn’t rely on my strength or skill. You can relearn it without all the bad habits.”
Appy said his irregular schedule has made it difficult for him to return to league action since he was bowling as a lefty.
But he does plan to return.
And it will be as a righty, he said.
“It’s just more natural,” said Appy simply. “It’s my more skilled hand.”