Poor bowling excuse: video game tennis elbow

November 22, 2011


I did not bowl well tonight. I mean, it could have been worse and has been many a time, but when you play a sport you have certain achievement goals and tonight I did not meet mine. I blame Scramble CE.

Scramble is the word search game I play on my iPhone when I go to bed. It helps me relax right to the point of falling asleep. I used to read in bed but I never got very far because it would usually put me to sleep immediately. For a number of years I’d work crossword puzzles because I could stay awake a little longer. Then I got my iPhone and went back to reading, because I could take off my glasses, lay down, turn off the light, and if I fell asleep I wouldn’t lose my place and the iPhone would also go to sleep and everyone was happy. Then I discovered Angry Birds and Scramble.

Angry Birds isn’t a good bedtime game because I get too worked up. Not at the pigs, but at my lack of dexterity with the slingshot and timing the extra things the birds can do. But Scramble is a nice, leisurely, two-and-a-half-minute word search. I play in Advanced mode which means I have to find words of four or more letters.

I love this game. I can usually stay awake for four, five, ten rounds. I’d get a lot more sleep if I switched back to reading.

A consequence of my Scramble stamina is a tennis elbowy kind of thing that happens in my right elbow or, as I call it, my bowling elbow, because I use my right index finger to drag around the screen. At first I thought it happened because I laid on my left side so that my right arm could be free-swinging to facilitate faster wording. I conditioned myself to be comfortable playing as I lay on my right side, with my arm mostly resting on my pillow. My left arm doesn’t have nearly the staying power being up in the air, but that’s its problem. As for playing with my left hand instead, I am slow and clumsy and it’s just not a viable option.

As a series of nights goes by, I find that I gradually roll more onto my back to liberate my right arm, because I’m still faster that way (well, faster, assuming my brain is willing). Over the weekend I realized that my elbow, and even my hand, had the very mild tendonitis indicative of too much Scramble. And tonight, my bowling scores reflected the weakened state of my right arm or, as I call it, my bowling arm.

I must put myself on a Scramble moratorium for a few days or a week. This will be difficult but, if I am to save my bowling average, it is completely necessary.

I suppose I might play a little Angry Birds in the meantime. For that one I do use my left hand because that’s the side from which you launch the birds. If I used my right hand I wouldn’t be able to see what I was aiming for. I’ve always kind of thought that a nice feature of Angry Birds would be to have a choice of launching end.

As you can see, Scramble includes words from some Martian dictionary, so if I find a third of the possible words in a round, I feel good. I also like to get at least 50 points which can be challenging if the total points possible for the round is 150 or less. 

In case you’re wondering, my high Scramble score is 209, my longest word is DEPOSITOR, and as of last night I had made a total of 30,090 words, none of which begin with X. 

One Response to “Poor bowling excuse: video game tennis elbow”

  1. TheBest Says:

    Looks like a great game. Why can’t I find it at the Iphone app store?

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