It’s pretty standard strategy in bowling leagues.
The individual with the highest average bowls last, or anchor. And it’s no big secret why. The last bowler draws the responsibility of pinning down the victory when the game goes to the wire and the chips are down.
But bowlers are often known to be unorthodox and few are more so than Mike Hahn, one of the most prolific bowlers at AMF Woodlake Lanes in Woodland Hills.
Hahn carries one of the top averages in the “Guys and Dolls” League at 180 and bowled a sizzling 290 last year to rank as the league’s top one-game scratch performance.
He’s also bowling third on his four-member team this season. Not anchor.
And it’s working.
“It takes the pressure off me,” said Hahn, laughing.
The results are apparent. Hahn bowled a stirring 247 — his high game of the season — in his second game Tuesday night. His team defeated its opponent that game by nearly 200 pins — a staggering, almost unheard-of margin.
Bowling anchor for Hahn’s team is feisty Shannon Renee, who averages a team-low 143 but has bowled as high as 207 this season and enjoys the challenge of bowling anchor.
“She loves it,” Hahn said about Renee in the anchor position.
The team jelled in the season’s first half, finishing in the top four with Perry Haberman providing a steadying hand in the leadoff role with a 168 average.
Still, this is Hahn’s team. The irrepressible Hahn, a 56-year-old Reseda resident, took over the lanes last year when he rolled 11 straight strikes after a first-frame spare to finish with his 290. He then bowled three more strikes to start the next game.
“In my mind I bowled a 300. It just wasn’t in sequence,” Hahn joked.
Starting next week, Hahn will be bowling with his first new ball. He has used two hand-me-down bowling balls but purchased a fingertip-grip one on Thursday. Hahn said he would be disappointed if his average didn’t climb to at least 190 with the new ball. “And then 200 next year,” he said.
Other than being a top bowler, Hahn is known for sometimes straying during the game’s action, arriving late for his turn. He admits he sometimes gets bogged down in conversation or some beer drinking when he’s not bowling.
But more often than not, he’ll scurry down to the alley and quickly pick up a strike.
Said league member Gayle Aron: “He makes bowling look easy.”
Hahn is the first to admit his primary goal during league play is not winning championships. “I’ll be honest with you. I’m a very easygoing person,” said Hahn, who plays drums with his band at First Lutheran Church of Northridge on Sundays. “I don’t take life very seriously.”
Hahn also points out that he uses only one bowling ball — unlike others of his caliber who use two or three.
“I use one ball because I’d rather have fun,” he said. “I’m not there to win money.”
The pressure may be off for Mike Hahn, but he’s still on his game.