Even the top bowling pros make mistakes.
And sometimes they can even be doozies.
Take Scott Norton’s championship match against Michael Haugen Jr. in the finals of the Mark Roth Classic, an event that was telecast Sunday on ESPN from Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich.
The left-handed Norton of Costa Mesa got a huge break in the eighth frame of a close contest after he seemingly left the seven pin on his first ball, but a messenger pin rolled all the way across the alley to topple the seven and give him a strike.
Seconds later, the exultant Norton fell back to earth. His shot in the ninth frame hooked past the pocket, bounced into the head pin and left the 4-6-7-10 split – which resulted in his first open of the game and was a back-breaker.
“A lack of concentration,” the announcer said of Norton’s poorly placed shot.
Haugen of Carefree, Ariz., then took charge and won the title with a 215-194 victory.
Amazingly, Norton’s first shot in the 10th frame also resulted in the same Big Four split.
The lesson of the day: Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Norton, who turned 31 today and is one of the elite young bowlers in the game, didn’t take advantage of his good fortune and his lapse cost him.
Typically, an opportunistic bowler will seize the occasion after a big break.
It can happen even outside the pro sector.
Such was the case two months ago when league bowler Ken Borshell of Palm Desert rode the momentum of a lucky break at AMF Woodlake Lanes in Woodland Hills.
Borshell registered his fourth straight strike on an eighth-frame shot that he called the “most unorthodox strike of my life.” The right-handed Borshell barely ticked the pocket and the pins wound up falling everywhere in unilateral, slow-motion fashion.
Borshell then rolled two no-doubt-about-it strikes en route to a thunderous 240 game, well above his 157 average.
At the time, longtime bowling observer Tom Martino said, “The bowling gods were looking down to provide a helping hand. And tonight they found Ken Borshell.”
Blessed with divine assistance, Borshell took it upon himself to capitalize.
Don’t be surprised if Norton – an attorney – courts the next time he gets a favorable roll.