Joe VanDerLinden still gets teased by his peers about his simple, fundamental game that features few frills. But the 52-year-old Colonie resident still remains one of the best league bowlers in the Capital Region.
Although he rarely breaks into tournament mode or leaves the area to test his game against other elite bowlers these days, don’t think his game has slipped at all. He’s just as good as ever.
VanDerLinden rolled his 48th perfect game and 49th 800 series Monday night when he put together games of 267, 300 and 279 for an 846 triple in the Riverfront Insurance City League at Towne Bowling Academy. For whatever reason, scores in the area’s major leagues have been slightly down so far, but VanDerLinden still appears immune to prolonged slumps.
“I’m not sure what’s going on with the other guys, but Marty Capullo [Towne proprietor] talked about maybe changing to a different type of oil. But I’m not sure he ever did,” VanDerLinden said. “The funny thing for me is that I’ve bowled OK early on this season, but I’m seeing a little different pattern for me personally. I was struggling in my first game, and then started to find the line. Last year, I started out well, but then petered out.”
VanDerLinden, who also bowls in the Edgewood Independent League at Towne, struggled last Thursday night in that league.
“So I decided to try something different Monday. I switched to my Storm Crux ball, and it obviously worked,” he said. “It hooks a little earlier for me on the lane, but not as much on the back end. It’s funny, because I found something in practice. I moved even further right [on the approach] than normal. I’m usually pretty far right compared to the other guys anyway.”
VanDerLinden doesn’t hook the ball as much as his high-scoring peers, and his game often appears just too simple for the younger high-rev generation to appreciate.
“Some guys will give me a little heat from time to heat, although maybe not to my face as much these days,” VanDerLinden said. “I think many of the guys just wonder why I don’t bowl in tournaments if my average is so high around here. But I have bowled in some tournaments over the years. I just don’t have the desire to bowl in them anymore. They take too long, especially on the weekends. And I love my football. I’m a huge Rams fan. The tournaments just take all day, and to be good at them, you have to bowl in more of them. You have to stay focused the entire time.”
Don’t forget that VanDerLinden, who was born in Albany and lived in Schenectady for many years, once averaged an outrageous 253 in the Edgewood league in 2011. Currently, he’s averaging about 250 on Monday nights and 240 on Thursdays.
“I’m still very competitive,” he said. “Last year, the average title [in the City League] went down to the last night against Tony Palumbo. What I pride myself on is always being up there among the average leaders every year. And it’s usually different guys who are chasing me. The shot can be different from year to year, but I pride myself on being able to adjust and to be consistent.”
Despite the fact that the City League includes many of the most talented bowlers in the area, VanDerLinden has won eight average titles in that circuit. He’s also won five or six average crowns in the Edgewood league. That’s pretty good for a “house bowler.”
STRIKES & SPARES
The Menagerie league, celebrating its 89th season, has seven openings. The league bowls at 6:10 p.m. Friday’s at Sportsman’s Bowl. Dues are $16 a week. If interested, contact secretary Paul O’Brien at 421-5427.
Sportsman’s Bowl will offer a Tavern Tournament
Oct. 25 at 12:30 p.m. Five-person teams consisting of men, women or mixed will bowl three games. Teams will receive 100 percent handicap from the difference of their averages and 220. One in six teams will cash. First place is guaranteed $550 per team, based on 28 teams. Bowlers with no average will use a 170 average for men and a 150 average for women. Call Sportsman’s at 355-4330 for more information.
Towne Bowling Academy’s annual Scratch Challenge will be held Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Entry fee is $50, and first place is $800 guaranteed. The format will be a five-game sweeper, changing lanes after each game. The PBA Chameleon oil pattern will be used. The field will be limited to the first 60 entries. Cash prizes will be awarded on a 1-in-5 ratio, based on total pins. Call 355-3939 for reservations.
Towne Bowling Academy is also hosting a Storm/Roto Grip Demo Day Oct. 18 at
11 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. It will cost $15 to bowl for an hour and try out the new equipment. There also will be special pricing that day if you decide to purchase a ball at one of the two sessions. Call Towne to reserve your spot.
Town ’N Country Lanes will host a Scotch Doubles event Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Entry fee is $25 per couple. There will be instant prizes with color pins as well as split and strike jackpots.
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