Women bowlers don't get the attention they deserve in my weekly column, and I've felt bad about that. I made a start at rectifying that a few weeks ago by recognizing Nicole Kulju for the near-area record 774 she shot at Red Rock Lanes in Ishpeming.
But there's another "minority" that's been underserved, too - lefthanders.
We'll right that wrong this week by saluting not one, but two southpaws who reached perfection in the same league in back-to-back weeks.
Two weeks back on Jan. 22, David Lancour, 25, of Marquette rolled his fifth career 300 game in the Wednesday Industrial League at Superior Lanes. He struggled at the start with 165 but added 218 the third game for a 683 series.
Last week in the same league, Mathew Adams, 23, got his second career 12-striker to open the night, tacking on 236 and 149 for 685.
The two were teammates on the Marquette Senior High School boys bowling team about five years ago, making a formidable pair of left-handed pillars with the powerful balls each of them throw.
They were opponents last week, though Adams was glad to have Lancour there.
"I'd rather have another lefthander bowling with me, helping push the oil around to set up the shot," Adams said about avoiding a common occurrence of being the only lefty when he bowls.
Despite having a good look on the lanes with his 15-pound DV8 Misfit reactive resin ball right from practice, Adams was still nervous by the time he got to the final shot.
"The first two in the 10th (frame) were all right, but the last one was the worst one," Adams said. "I just felt it in my whole body."
He said he took several deep breaths to compose himself, then buried the ball in the 1-2 pocket just like his first 11 shots. In fact, the only balls that came close to not striking were ones he may have thrown too well.
"There were a couple where I blew the rack apart and left the 8-pin, but a messenger took it out," he said, alluding to a pin that comes flying across the pin deck to knock over any stragglers still standing.
For his 300, Lancour used a 15-pound Storm Lucid reactive resin ball - but not in its original form.
"It didn't fit my hand at all the first game," said Lancour, who was still 24 at the time of the 300 with his birthday three days later on Jan. 25. "I couldn't get a consistent feel with my fingers."
The problem, he said, was that his fingers had shrunken so the holes were too large that night. Instead of his fingers sinking down to just the first knuckle, his were slipping in almost to the second knuckle, a hallmark of what is called the conventional grip used by beginners, an utter no-no for nearly every elite bowler.
"So I put two pieces of tape, one on either side, in each hole before the 10th frame (of the first game)," he said.
I thought I heard him incorrectly the first time he said it, since I only put tape in my thumb hole if the feel is loose. I've never had a problem with enlarged finger holes because the soft, tacky grips nearly all of us use allow for a fair amount of wiggle room.
I once tried electrical tape in the fingers and it actually made things worse, because the tighter fit was more than offset by a much more slippery feel from the smooth tape. Not to mention that the tape wouldn't stay put.
Lancour, though, used tape with a rather bumpy, almost rough, surface that he often uses in his thumb hole.
"I saw a guy do that at the Peshtigo tournament," he said about a competitor at a popular scratch event held each March in the northern Wisconsin town. "I never did that before, and it wouldn't have occurred to me if I hadn't seen that."
At the conclusion of bowling that night, Lancour exchanged his finger grips for the next smaller size.
Now let's honor The Mining Journal Bowlers of the Week, who undoubtedly will mostly come from the righthand side:
First, a correction, actually an addition, to last week's BOWs - Andrew Virch easily earned last week's men's honor for his 219-pin above average performance in the Friday 800 Mixed League at Superior Lanes, but I didn't have a report available at the time of that writing. Virch exceeded announced winner Gary Price's score by 65 pins with his 188 average and career-high 783 series on games of 246, 247 and 290.
Now on to this week, Jan. 17-23:
Mary Gingras carts off women's honors with her plus-124 effort in the Thursday Night Ladies League at Red Rock Lanes. Using a 140 average, she shot 544 on games of 144, 214 and 186.
Runner-up is another Thursday Night Lady, Sarah Waters at 109 over her 150 average with 559 and a 211 high game, while in third is Stacy Filizetti in the Friday Nite Mixed at Red Rock at 71 over her 145 average with 506 and a 189 high.
For the guys, Glenn Ayotte won by shooting 115 pins over his 216 average with 763 and a 280 top game in the Wednesday Trio at Red Rock. Next were Tim Akom in the Tuesday Night Mixed at Superior with 113 pins over his 128 average with 497, and Pete Koski Jr. in the Tuesday Major at Red Rock at 105 over his 160 average with 585 and a 203 best game.