Frances Arellano

After nearly bowling the best game of his life in game 1 on Friday night at Dart Bowl, Pratt regrouped and succeeded in that endeavor in game 2 with a best-ever game of 244. Photo by Frances Arellano.

After just missing it, Pratt sets personal best in Mac victory

Boys bowling team passes first real test of 2020 season, beating Pflugerville Co-op to get to 2-0 in district play

Frances Arellano
Bruno Cioci, Miles Lee, Keegan Langley and John Pratt cheer on a fellow bowler during the Knights’ 14-3 over Pflugerville Co-op at Dart Bowl on Friday night. Photo by Frances Arellano.

The story of John Pratt’s best-ever bowling game begins—as stories of greatness often do—with a noble failure.

In his first individual game bowling for the McCallum boys team Friday night at Dart Bowl, it looked like Pratt would beat his previous best game, a 234. 

After bowling poorly during practice, Pratt found a groove once the match started. Through eight frames, he had thrown six strikes and converted spares in the two frames in which he did not throw a strike. In those two frames, he narrowly missed a strike, knocking down nine pins on his first ball.

If he could roll four more strikes to close out the ninth and tenth frames, he would bowl a 258 and shatter his previous personal best by 21 pins.

But it was not to be.

“I choked on the last two frames and got my only two open frames of the night,” Pratt said.

He finished with a 205, higher than any other score recorded by any of his Mac teammates or any of his Pflugerville opponents, but far short of his personal record of 234.

Still, there was much for which to be glad. Pratt led his Pflugerville Co-op opponent by 85 pins heading into Game 2, and two of his Knight teammates also had commanding leads in their match-ups. The other two teammates trailed by only 10 pins. 

“[Friday] was the first match of the season where we had all five players versus a team [that also had] all five players,” Pratt said. “We also all bowled exceptionally well; I’m sure that every one of our averages goes up after that match.”

So everything was, if not great for Pratt; it was still awfully good. So he shrugged off the poor finish and his missed opportunity to set a new personal best; in fact, the thought that he might still achieve one did not occur to him.

Keegan Langley.
Even though they were competing for high score within the team, Pratt and Cioci make sure to congratulate each other when they bowl well. Cioci bowled well on Friday but could not keep pace with the torrid scores put up by Pratt. Photo by Keegan Langley.

The possibility that he would be the star of the evening seemed even more remote when one of his opponents from Pflugerville started his second game with six straight strikes. 

But Pratt didn’t shrink from the challenge of giving his opponent a run for his money. 

“When I’m bowling by myself I still try, but when I play against an opponent that I’ve been playing against for three years, I try to bowl better than usual.”

After six frames, Pratt trailed his opponent but not by much. After two strikes in frames one and two, he converted a spare in the third frame after knocking down nine pins on his first ball. After two more strikes in the fourth and fifth frames, he needed a second ball to knock down a single pin in both the sixth and seventh frames.

I did the same thing in game two [that I did in game one]. … I just didn’t choke

— Junior John Pratt

Meanwhile, his teammate, Bruno Cioci was flirting with a 200-game of his own. After a game 1 196, he was rolling another good score in game two.

Pratt said that trying to beat an opponent and a teammate in friendly competition is what makes bowling such a great sport. 

“It’s like an unspoken side competition to see who can get the most pins on the team,” Pratt said.

Trying to beat Bruno for top game on his team and Caleb for best game of the night, Pratt ended up bowling the game of his life. 

“I did the same thing in game two [that I did in game one],” Pratt said. “I just didn’t choke and closed out those frames.”

Pratt threw strikes in the eighth and ninth frames and then rolled two more to start the tenth.

With one first ball left to throw, even though he wasn’t aware of it, he had already had broken his personal record.

“I didn’t even really realize I broke my high score until I looked back at the scores,” Pratt said. “I was just focused on bowling my own game and being the best I could.”

With his last ball, he missed the pocket for the first time of the game. Still, he knocked down seven pins to end with a 244 — the best game he’d ever bowled in his life. Caleb finished with a 241. Bruno rolled a 180. 

Pratt’s personal record was the best result of a very good day for the boys team. 

We’re all good friends and that’s a great way to bowl better and have more fun … with friends.

— Junior John Pratt

Pratt said each member of the team bowled well. Cioci’s scores would usually be the highest on either team. Every Mac bowler had a game above 130. And in winning three of four Baker games where each team member bowls two frames, McCallum bowled collective games of 194 and 187.

Pratt said the final team score, McCallum 14, Pflugerville Co-op 3, was not indicative of how close the games were or of the quality of the opponent they defeated. Given the fact that the boys team had trouble fielding a complete roster throughout the preseason, Friday’s result has gone a long way toward rebuilding confidence that this year’s team can compete well at regionals and perhaps return to the state bowling tournament.

But talk of competitive goals only tells part of the story of Friday’s match.

Pratt stressed during his interview that opponents and teammates enjoy the sport not because of the competition but because they enjoy being around each other and therefore encourage each other to succeed.

As Pratt’s McCallum teammate Rose Dotson of the girls team put it, “We are all just having fun together. … We get to meet and talk with the other teams and see them more as friends and less as competitors,” Dotson said. “We laugh when we mess up and get greeted with high-fives when we get strikes.”

There were a lot of strikes for Pratt on Friday and therefore a lot of friendship.

“We’re all good friends and that’s a great way to bowl better and have more fun … with friends.”

The Shield Online • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Comments (0)

All The Shield Online Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *