Bowl reversal: Ace forced to switch throwing hands, but rolls with the changes

Cory Bennett gets five from a teammate during a recent bowling outing. Bennett can throw almost as well with his left arm as his right arm.



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Cory Bennett gets five from a teammate during a recent bowling outing. Bennett can throw almost as well with his left arm as his right arm.

Cory Bennett is a co-owner and manager at the La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries of Grand Junction on North Avenue.



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Cory Bennett is a co-owner and manager at the La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries of Grand Junction on North Avenue.

Grand Junction resident Cory Bennett has bowled six perfect games in his life, but faced a tough decision after developing carpal tunnel-like symptoms in his bowling hand: Quit bowling or switch hands.



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Grand Junction resident Cory Bennett has bowled six perfect games in his life, but faced a tough decision after developing carpal tunnel-like symptoms in his bowling hand: Quit bowling or switch hands.

QUICKREAD

Cory Bennett, 48, assistant manager at La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries, has been bowling since age 10, but it was the couple of years he worked in a bowling alley as a teen that helped his game:

“I worked in the bowling alley for two years and got all the free bowling that I wanted,” he said. “That’s pretty much how I learned my game, playing by myself. I went nuts.”



For most people, it’s all in the wrist, but for Grand Junction resident Cory Bennett, it took both wrists.

At least, that’s when the 48-year-old is in the bowling alley.

When the longtime resident started to get carpal tunnel-like symptoms in his right wrist a few years ago, he naturally became concerned.

After all, he did have a relatively high average and has even bowled six perfect 300 games in his career, helping his four-man team win several statewide tournaments in the meantime.

Trying just about everything, Bennett tried the next best thing: Switch from being a right-handed bowler to his left hand.

“One day he just switched, and he still maintained a high average,” said one of his teammates, Grand Valley resident Scott Else, who’s bowled with Bennett for more than a decade. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Bennett, who is assistant manager at La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries of Grand Junction, 865 North Ave., has been bowling since he was 10 years old.

In his late 40s, however, he began to have problems with his right wrist and couldn’t spin the ball as well as he used to.

He went to several doctors, who all told him to stay out of bowling alleys.

Not happening.

Instead, Bennett picked up the ball left-handed and began to practice.

“I just wanted to keep bowling, so I started using my left hand and just did that for a while,” he said quite matter-of-factly.

At the time, Bennett was used to using a 16-pound ball with a fingertip grip, one of the harder and heavier balls to use. Like any professional bowler, he grips the ball sideways, not underhand like a rookie.

That puts a lot of torque on the wrist, and, over time, it became too much for Bennett to handle.

“Something happened where it was just too painful,” he said. “I’d get to the bottom of my swing, and go to lift the ball and put the revs on it, and it would just put a stinger into my wrist.

“Us guys who bowl, we like to put a lot of revs and power on the ball so it has lots of rotation,” he added. “So we tend to overdo it, and go over our limit sometimes.”

To his own surprise, Bennett found that he could throw almost as well with his left arm as his right, and continued doing that for a couple of leagues. Switching to a lighter, 14-pound ball at the same time helped, too.

The first year, Bennett bowled in two leagues with his left arm. The second year, he bowled one league with the left, and the other with his right, and now is fully back to using his right hand.

He’s fine now, but should those symptoms reoccur, Bennett said he knows just what to do.

“They make the balls so aggressive the way they drill them, and you can position how you want the ball to react,” he said. “My averages are higher or equal to what they’ve ever been now than when I was younger.”

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