Recently at Quad Squad Bowling, I bowled my third highest score to date, a 212, which was my 14th game of 200 or better. That’s not bad, especially considering that I’m paralyzed from my neck down and use a ventilator to breathe. I share this to show people, especially wheelchair users, what is possible.
If you’re wondering how it’s possible, the answer is called an IKAN Bowler, which is essentially a fancy bowling ramp that can attach to pretty much any wheelchair. I’m actually credited with co-inventing the IKAN Bowler, and we got it approved by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) for league and tournament play — any league or tournament, anywhere — bowling with and/or against able-bodied bowlers or fellow IKAN Users. Of course IKAN Users can also bowl just for fun, recreationally, too.
My strike ball was working well that day, but I had an unusually difficult time picking up spares (which is to say that I missed quite a few “easy” spares that I usually convert) especially in the first game. I managed to bowl a turkey (i.e. three consecutive strikes) which helped me to a 161 in my first game, despite having just one spare.
My second game was the 212. My strike ball continued to work well as I had another turkey and two non-consecutive strikes also. I did much better with my spare attempts in game two, converting all five, including in the tenth frame. I was particularly pleased with that spare pickup because had I missed it, I would’ve had a 202 — for the third time.
I’ll always be thrilled with any game of 200 or better — and it’s fun to bowl even if the scores aren’t so high — but I really wanted a score that I hadn’t bowled before. So picking up the spare in the tenth frame, and following it with 9 pins with the extra ball, that gave me a 212. I’ve now had a 200, four 201s, two 202s, a 203, 205, 206, 210, 212, 221 and 223.
My third game was not-so-good, especially compared to what I’d just done. Not to make excuses, but I had four splits and also missed two single-pin spare attempts. That resulted in a 136, which I couldn’t possibly end on, so I bowled a fourth game — which could have been my 15th game of 200 or better.
Game four was good — I actually had four consecutive strikes. So I was certainly in good position to break 200 again, but in the tenth frame, I started my ball out too wide and it didn’t come back into the headpin enough. That left me with a difficult spare attempt (4-5-7-8; you can see the setup on the scoresheet) which requires perfectly splitting the 4 & 5 pins, and hoping the 7 & 8 will fall also. I very nearly split the 4 & 5, just barely missing the 5 pin (the ball is just a bit bigger than the space between the two side-by-side pins, but a very accurate shot is required to get both pins). And so I ended with a 195.
All in all, it was a whole lot of fun. I thank my fellow bowlers, caddies, and everyone who was cheering me on, and also those who helped make it possible for a vent-dependent quadriplegic to not only go somewhere, but to physically and fairly compete in a sport.
All glory to God.
Bill Miller 🙂
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 223 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website: http://www.ikanbowler.com
Personal website: http://www.lookmomnohands.net