Monday, September 11, 2017

Lang’s King of the Hill Tournament

Most runners outside of my Turtle circle don’t know that I have always been a bowler. I started bowling when I was young….started bowling in leagues when I was maybe 10 or 12. I was always a decent bowler. I had some success when I was younger, nothing crazy, but some tournament victories and pretty good games. I never averaged very high in league when I was younger and was more of a tournament performer.

I bowled league through the spring of 2007 and then stopped. I bowled here and there for fun with friends…but never anything serious.

In the early part of last year, my buddy Mark and I started going to the alley once a week and bowling for the fun of it. Long story short, I ended up getting rid of my old equipment (which was very out dated) and getting new stuff and started a league last summer with Mark. After that the Pro Shop owner, also a coach from my old junior bowling days asked me to bowl on his team on the Lang’s Invitational Men’s League. So, it began…me bowling again and doing pretty well here and there. This past April a teammate and I got 2nd in the USBC Association Doubles Tournament and I also placed in the money in the singles tournament. I also shot a high 3-game series of 794 (264.66 average) this past Spring.

With all that said, fast forward to Saturday 8/26 and the Lang’s King of the Hill Tournament. It was the second King of the Hill Tournament (they will occur every 2 weeks) I finished 6th in the last one, however there was a scoring error….I should have made the step ladder finals, but didn’t notice until a week later) I was excited to bowl in the 2nd tournament, although some wrist issues over the last 2 week almost kept me from going at all.

Mark was also bowling in the tournament, so we had some lunch and beers beforehand and headed over to Lang’s and got a pitcher of BBC Inhopnito. We signed up and got ready. The format for this tournament is bowl 4 games and they cut the field in half based off of your total score plus handicap (handicap is based off of the difference of your average and 220. You get 80% of the difference, so if you average 200, you take 220-200=20*0.80 and you get 17 pins per game handicap)

After the field is cut in half, you bowl 2 more games and take that total and add it to the previous 4 games total. They then cut to 5 for stepladder finals.

My first 2 games of qualifying were solid, I started with a 202 and came back with a 258. Having a big game early is great for confidence. The 3rd game I was throwing great shots, but missed some easy spares and finished a disappointing 172. I knew I needed another solid 230+ game to make the next round now.

The next game started well…strike after strike after strike. Feeling smooth, talking to people etc, just having a good time on a Saturday afternoon. I believe after like 8 strikes in a row I was like, “well I should make the cut to the next round now”, still not really thinking about the possible 300. I think it was the shot in the 9th frame that finally had me thinking about it. The 9th shot is one of the most important shots in any game, as it sets you up for a good 10th frame, but getting the 9th shot in a 300 attempt is even more important. After getting the 9th, heading into one more frame…even though you need 3 strikes, there is no more sitting down, you are just up there doing your thing. I was pretty in the zone so to speak. I wasn't thinking about anything else that was going on around me. I didn’t notice that there were more people watching. I threw the first shot and it was dead on, perfect strike, no slow falling pins, just 10 straight back. I came back, waited for my bowl, basically looking down the whole time. At this point he heart is definitely beating a bit faster. I just tried to keep my pre-shot routine the same and not rush things. The second shot, same result. Damn good shot. Now, you can throw as many good shots as you want and it doesn’t mean all 10 pins will fall. Being able to carry good shots is half the battle, so I was waiting for a solid 10 pin, or something to just NOT FALL. Last and final shot, I don’t remember much, I just remember that I threw another solid ball, I put it where it needed to be and it hit the pocket and all those damn pins went down. I was pretty pumped, there were hands coming at me from all angles with “good jobs” it was pretty awesome. It was like a weight lifted from off my shoulders, finally throwing a 300.

So, after all that excitement…I made the cut as top seed and now had to throw 2 more games to make sure I qualified for the step ladder finals. I ended up bowling a 256 and a 204 to end up top seed for the step ladder. So, I just had to bowl in the final game. There was a lot of waiting before that though. I had to wait through 3 games before bowling Dave Paquin in the finals.

Dave is a great bowler, he averaged higher than I do and through a solid 236 in the semifinals.

The final game the pins fell in my favor and I was able to stay clean for most of the game and more importantly I was able to throw 5 strikes in the middle of the game to win 234 to 189.

It was the first tournament I have won in many years and it felt damn good to put in a good string of games. I had one bad game all day, but was able to come back after that game and win. Not a bad Saturday afternoon.

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