The Evster weighs in on hip, trendy bowling alleys vs. classic, colossal dumps

The Evster weighs in on hip, trendy bowling alleys vs. classic, colossal dumps


"There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't. My ex-wife loves him." - Bob Wiley, What About Bob

In the past decade, a seismic shift has taken place in the world of bowling alley construction. Trendy, bonkers bowling alleys like North Bowl and Lucky Strike have opened up, giving Philadelphia new venues to participate in this ridiculously stupid and super-fun sport. These new alleys combine clubbing with athletics, allowing degenerate weirdos to rub elbows with the social elite. The game is compromised, but the cleavage is increased. Frankly, I'm not sure how I feel about it.

I have spent many nights (and afternoons) in these alleys and have come to see both the positive and negative aspects of the new trend. And while I recognize that we don't necessarily have to choose which type of lanes are better -- because different people are into different things -- this is sports after all, and in sports there has to be one winner, and one pathetic, mustache-having loser. So let's dive deep into these new bowling arenas and decide which type of alley is best: Traditional vs. Trendy.

Oh, Paris Hilton. At least put on the proper footwear.

Clientele

Ever since 1874, when Herman Kleinsdorfen opened up the first 10-pin alley outside of Poughkeepsie, NY (I completely made that up), bowling has been marketed as a social event. Whether you're rolling with friends, family, or a dishrag you found on Match.com, the game is always played alongside the general public. Even at the quietest, emptiest bowling alleys, you may have to share a lane with complete and total strangers. This can either be perfectly fine (if your neighbors know not to walk up during your approach) or a total nightmare (if you're seated next to ugly people).

At the trendy joints, these folks tend to be a bit much. They sit around with their white teeth and their gelled hair and can often be found in the bathrooms ripping lines of cocaine like a Colombian warlord. The women are ridiculously hot, but most have little to no interest in trying to break a hundred. For the common schlub who is used to rolling alongside bowzers, this can be VERY DISTRACTING, but can also be their only chance to smell a woman with really clean hair. The smarter (read: creepier) bowlers use these opportunities to take secret snapshots of ladies with their phones and later show them off to their fantasy football buddies.

Traditional alleys operate mostly as family establishments. Lanes are filled with simple, hard-working people who repeatedly scream at their children to "GET YOUR GODDAMN HANDS AWAY FROM THE BALL RETURN." There are also plenty of young lovers on dates, regulars, and disgusting, sweaty teenagers who fire bowling balls into the guard rails like a bunch of filthy animals.

What the freak is wrong with teenagers? Why do they have to ruin everything? I was once on pace to break 200 when a group of snot-nosed kids thought it'd be a good idea to roll their balls after doing running, jumping spin-kicks on their approach. Every time they let the ball fly, they would scream as loud as they could. Just screaming. Not even words. Just sounds, cranked out by their pubescent, blossoming vocal chords. It was TERRIFYING. And yet, this was fun to them. One of 'em, after launching himself off the ball return, accidentally kicked a 14-pound ball out of his own hand and almost blasted me in the throat. I lost focus, melted down and ended up crapping out on the last few frames. Meanwhile, the screaming dipshit rolled like three straight strikes thanks to his Bruce Lee Kamikaze throwing style.

I can't believe I'm about to say this ...

Advantage: Trendy

That's actually really nice form. Pants are a little long, though

Atmosphere

If you're above the age of 26 and are planning on leaving your couch for the evening, nothing is more important when choosing your destination than ambiance (or more specifically, noise level). 95% of all of my life's decisions are based on how loud or quiet an establishment is. The trendy alleys are LOUD. Music blares through the speakers and it is nearly impossible to hear whatever anyone is saying. (I guess this could be seen as a good thing, as people are generally really boring to talk to, but it always makes me uncomfortable to sip my beverage while trying to nod and maintain eye contact with a person when I have no idea what he or she is talking about.) Then again, trendy alleys do have comfortable couches and cool lights and weird stairs that lead to secret lanes, so I guess that's kinda cool?

Traditional jawns are MASSIVE, echoing with the sound of pins crashing and video games bleeping. THIS IS WHAT BOWLING ALLEYS SHOULD SOUND LIKE. Plus, in between turns you can go for a stroll and disappear for 45 minutes playing Skill Crane while everyone in your party freaks out and threatens to skip your turn.

Advantage: Traditional

Food and Drink

North Bowl's tator tots are BOMB and come with like 37 different dipping sauces. There is nothing -- and I mean nothing -- more exciting in this world than dipping sauces. Also, their tomato basil soup with grilled cheese skewers are fantastic. Then again, WHO GOES TO EAT AT A BOWLING ALLEY? Just give me a cherry soda, a Snickers bar and a few slices of cardboard crust pizza, because I am there to ROLL goddammit, I am there to roll! Although, eating is REALLY FUN and North Bowl's mac and cheese is delicious.

Back to the cherry soda, real quick. How amazing are those old bowling alley soda machines that spit out seltzer water into a plastic cup and then mix it with a splash of cherry syrup. Every time the cup gets to around half-full, I start to panic and think, "Oh God, they're out of syrup! It's just gonna give me straight seltz!" and then wammo! the red liquid shoots out and the soda to sugar ratio ends up absolutely perfect. For anyone reading this who is under the age of 30, I imagine you have no idea what I'm talking about, but oh baby if you did, if you did.

Advantage: Who cares?!

Only one more pair of socks!

Amenities

It's not that I necessarily want to buy a black, leather bowling glove from a vending machine, but I would at least like to have the option of buying a black, leather bowling glove from a vending machine.

Advantage: Traditional

Employees

Not to get all Dateline NBC on North Bowl, but have you SEEN the woofers on the bartenders there? WOWZERS. I get it, they're bartenders and bartenders work for tips, but even the ladies who dish out shoes are out of control.

At the traditional alleys, an employee named Cliff is obviously gonna be better at unjamming the gutters, but omg Cliff can't compete with the G.L.O.B! (Gorgeous Ladies Of Bowling)

Advantage: Trendy

High waists are back in!

Gameplay

Forget all the nonsense you read above, this is the only category that matters. BOWLING IS IMPORTANT. True rollers don't strain our wrist muscles so that we can oogle women or be seen in our new slacks, we're there to mark each frame and get them turkeys! Bowling alleys should have a variety of ball sizes and slick lanes for lubrication and I did not intend for this sentence to sound so homoerotic. The average bowling night out should also reward you with at least 86 high-fives. This is a fact. A medical fact. Unfortunately, I have found that hipsters tend to be way too cool to acknowledge how dope it is when you pick up a pin-sweeping spare.

No matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, it's still a pig. And so bowling will always be a dumb, smelly game that is best enjoyed with other idiots in the armpits of America. Bowling alleys should be bright and booming. They should be filled with uncomfortable, springy swivel chairs. They should be run by dudes (or ladies) with mustaches (and I mean real mustaches, not ironic ones). There should be no time limit on games, allowing you to let your sweaty hand twinkle over a cool fan for as long as you want. I appreciate creative entrepreneurs trying to sex up the game, but this aggression will not stand.

If I am ever given the opportunity to choose where I get to roll, I will pick the traditional alleys vs. the trendy jawns ANY DAY OF THE WEEK.

Except if you're gonna make me go to some shit palace in South Jersey.

I am not rolling there.

No shot.

Follow the Evster @TVMWW

Eagles Film Review: Carson Wentz's improvisation pays off big

Eagles Film Review: Carson Wentz's improvisation pays off big

Carson Wentz takes pride in not letting plays die easily. 

In Sunday’s 34-3 win over the Steelers, one play he didn’t let die ended up being the back-breaker in the blowout. 

We’re, of course, talking about the 73-yard touchdown pass to Darren Sproles at the 13:08 mark in the third quarter. Coming into the second half, the Eagles had a 10-point lead, but this touchdown pushed it to a 20-3 advantage and the rout was on. This play was a tone-setter (see story)

“That’s something that we talk about a lot,” Wentz said after the game. “We always say that a play is never dead. I like to make plays when we need to and everyone just does a great job of getting open in those situations.”

This was the first big off-schedule play Wentz has hit during his three weeks as the team’s starter, but the signs were there. In the Chicago game, there were several times where he showed his ability to extend plays. We broke them down in a film review last week (see story).

Throughout the week, Wentz had been compared to Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. One of the reasons was their shared ability to extend plays and make something happen. Big Ben showed his ability in the first quarter and almost connected on a huge touchdown pass to Markus Wheaton in the back of the end zone, but the receiver couldn’t pull it in. 

When Wentz got his shot later in the game, Sproles was able to pull it in, then make something happen with his feet. 

“I saw Carson scrambling this way,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “Darren was literally right in front of me and when I saw him wheel, my first reaction was to find the sideline to see if he stepped out to be quite honest.  He hadn’t, and Carson just — it was like in slow motion — floated that ball up the sideline and Darren did the rest from there. It was a tremendous play from those two individuals. I guess the last thing I did is I always look back to make sure there are no flags on the ground on those long plays.”

There were no flags. Touchdown. Game. 

Let’s take a closer look at the play: 

Wentz is in shotgun with Sproles in the backfield with him. The Eagles come out with three-wide on the far side of the field and a lot of space on the near side. 

Stephon Tuitt, who actually had a pretty good game against the Eagles, takes this route to the quarterback. When he gets to left guard Allen Barbre, Barbre either didn’t see him or didn’t react quickly enough. 

While Sproles is still running his short out, Wentz feels the pressure and is able to step up through the hole created by Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks. As soon as he makes it through, Wentz still has his eyes downfield. 

Now Wentz is through the hole and sees Sproles finishing his out-route. This is when Wentz, on the run, motions to Sproles to take off. This is something we’ve seen Wentz do a few times during his three weeks as Eagles quarterback. 

Wentz was left with a tough decision here. He could have run for 10, maybe even 15 yards. It was wide open, but he decided to try to make a play with his arm instead. 

“I always want to be a thrower first,” he said. “Even when a play breaks down, I’m always looking [to throw] because that’s where the big plays are happening. If I scramble I might get 5, 10, 15, 20 yards, but I’m not that fast. I always want to get it to the guys that can make plays. We always want to make plays when they’re there, and that’s what happened.”

With the line of scrimmage at the 27, Wentz has enough awareness to run horizontally to make sure he didn’t cross. And as soon as Pittsburgh safety Mike Mitchell takes that first step toward him, Wentz sees how much room Sproles has to work with. 

Ryan Shazier, who was covering Sproles on the play, froze and then started to step toward Wentz too. He said he thought the quarterback crossed the line of scrimmage, but Wentz was aware enough to stay behind.  

Once Sproles catches the ball in open space, he begins to do Sproles things. Defensive back Sean Davis took a bad angle on him and once he gets close, the veteran turns it inside. Davis said he was trying to buy time for the rest of his defense to get there and stop Sproles. It didn’t work. 

“Man, it’s Sproles!” receiver Nelson Agholor said. “Did you think he was going to get tackled?”

While he’s blocking downfield, Dorial Green-Beckham actually trips himself up and does a somersault. But it didn’t matter — Sproles didn’t need a great block. He pretty much did it himself. 

“Anytime that you can put it in the hands of [Sproles] something special can happen on any play, and he did the rest of it,” Wentz said. 

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Travis Konecny leaves impression with vets in Flyers' preseason win

Travis Konecny leaves impression with vets in Flyers' preseason win

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Michael Raffl had just finished playing alongside Travis Konecny, the 19-year-old kid that has Flyers fans abuzz about the now and future.

Yet for Raffl, he wasn’t thinking forward. Instead, he was looking back.

“Yeah, well, I couldn’t do that when I was 19, that’s for sure,” the 27-year-old said smiling, eyes wide open. “No, it’s impressive, he’s a really, really good hockey player.”

Konecny had that resounding affect Wednesday night at the PPL Center, recording a goal and an assist while leading the Flyers to a 2-0 preseason win over the Devils (see 10 observations).

He dazzled with speed and shiftiness.

He showed off vision and smarts.

When he touched the puck, he had everyone’s attention.

Paired with Raffl and Brayden Schenn in a game featuring mostly prospects, the 2015 first-round pick made the molding of Ron Hextall’s roster that much more difficult. With the general manager looking on, the highly touted winger started fast before making his imprint in a span of just four minutes and 34 seconds.

First, he redirected a blast by Andrew MacDonald to hand the Flyers a 1-0 lead. Not long after, the 2015 first-round pick deceived the defense to find Raffl right in front on a backdoor pass for a 2-0 advantage.

“We had a cycle play going and he had a nice fake up top there and I was just going to the net,” Raffl said. “Somehow I was all by myself and he saw me, put a perfect pass on my tape and I just went around the goalie and put it in.”

Following his first goal, Konecny nearly tacked on another less than a minute later when he appeared to hit the crossbar on a shot. He also flirted with a few more assists.

“I think I just played relaxed,” Konecny said. “I came into the game tonight trying not to do too much and just keep things simple. The main thing for me was getting pucks out of the zone, so I think I did that well tonight and hopefully I can keep building on it.”

Relieving pucks from the zone isn’t a problem when you possess the speed and skill of Konecny, who racked up 101 points last season at the junior level.

At just 19, that’s where he’ll have to return if he doesn’t crack the Flyers’ roster.

With cuts already made and more coming, that sometimes is on Konecny’s mind.

“It weighs on you a little bit. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about it and it’s definitely the time I need to step up and make sure I’m playing good hockey,” Konecny said. “And just earning another day — that’s just the way I’m looking at it. Every day I wake up and just work hard and move forward from there.

“I think everyone comes into camp and tries to give them (management) a reason not to send you back and make it hard on them.”

Wednesday night didn’t hurt his chances.

“He played a good hockey game,” Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. “Had an impact offensively. He did a pretty good job. There’s some youthful mistakes in there, but overall, he had a real good night tonight playing with Raf and Schenner.”

Placing Konecny with two capable NHL forwards offered the Canadian an opportunity to prove what he could do if he was in fact on the big club.

“We played well together,” Konecny said. “I think from the start we just had a lot of communication, we talked in the room, in warmups, we all knew what we were going to do throughout the game and in certain scenarios.”

If anything, Konecny left an impression on Raffl.

“He’s a very smart player,” Raffl said. “Once he has the puck, he makes smart decisions with it. It was very easy to play with him out there. He plays a mature game and I really enjoyed it.”

Time will tell if more is in store come Oct. 14.

Loose pucks
Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon combined for the shutout. Stolarz started and made 11 saves over 29:23, while Lyon played 30:37 and stopped seven shots. “I like both of our guys tonight,” Hakstol said. “Stolie did a good job, he made a difference in this game in the first 10 minutes, those two or three really good saves there. Then Alex came in halfway through, which isn’t an easy thing to do and was ready to go and did his job.” … Schenn, MacDonald and defensive prospect Robert Hagg finished with an assist apiece. … With the roster currently standing at 49, the Flyers expect to make 15 cuts on Thursday. … Defenseman Nick Schultz is out four to seven days with a lower-body injury suffered in Tuesday night’s preseason game. ... The Flyers are off Thursday before likely practicing Friday ahead of Saturday's preseason game at 7 p.m. against the Bruins at the Wells Fargo Center.