This is one of my favorite examiner.com stories and was originally published May 9, 2012. It has been updated with a postscript.
It was shocking and improbable.
Bowler Theo Sojourn simply called it “sick.”
The Santa Clarita Valley resident did what few people would even dream of accomplishing.
He bowled his personal-best game with an over-the-top score of 240 – and he did it left-handed.
Sojourn recorded the feat in league play at Brunswick Matador Bowl in Northridge just six weeks after being forced to bowl with his “off” hand because of a snowboarding accident that broke two bones in his right forearm.
Sojourn’s previous best was a 238, which he bowled as a right-hander.
Sojourn averaged a remarkable 173.7 during his 521 series in which he bowled 152, 240 and 129. That was more than 40 pins above his previous-best average for a series as a left-hander.
What was amazing about his series is that Sojourn averaged a paltry 90.7 two weeks earlier (92, 104, 76) and a 117.7 a week earlier (108, 138, 107).
Sojourn said he didn’t practice the week before his powerful series but just tried to mentally figure out how to regain his touch from a few weeks earlier when he averaged 131 – then his left-handed high series.
“If you throw a hook, you’ve got to figure out two variables – one is rotation and the other is speed,” Sojourn said. “You’re trying to find the perfect match.”
Sandie Rose, a Matador Bowl official, watched the proceedings while she was bowling on an adjoining lane.
“He really got it down,” Rose marveled.
Sojourn, in fact, rolled strikes in his first five frames in Game 2.
“When he got his fifth strike, he said, ‘Oh, Hell, yes,’ ” said Rose, laughing.
Sojourn didn’t open in Game 2 until the seventh frame and just missed a strike in the sixth on a Brooklyn hit.
“People were coming over and watching,” Sojourn said. “After five strikes in a row, I threw a nine in the sixth [on the first ball] and the pin was wiggling. Everyone said, ‘Go down, go down.’ ’’
Sojourn had averaged 89 in his first week as a left-hander, then 119 and then 131. When he slumped the next two weeks, he felt his run might be over.
“I was thinking, ‘I had peaked,’ ” Sojourn said. “And that’s it. It’s over. I’m not getting any better and I’ll just have to wait until I get my cast off and wait until I can bowl right-handed.”
Sojourn recently had his cast removed, but he said he had no plans to return as a right-hander when his arm fully heals.
“I’m feeling pretty confident left-handed,” Sojourn said.
Postscript: Looking back now, Sojourn says of his 240 score: “There definitely was a lot of luck there. It wasn’t like all the strikes were pockets [hits]. I had slow-motion, rollers and spinner strikes.” Sojourn bowled three months as a lefty before returning to his right hand. In the last year, he's blasted a 279 game and a 653 series – all right-handed. He has no plans to return as a lefty.