Monday, November 29, 2010
I hope everyone enjoyed a VERY happy Thanksgiving! The weekend before the festive holiday and shopping madness, Scott Norton and I competed in the local PCB Mission Hills Mixed Doubles tournament at Mission Hills Bowl from November 20-21.
The mixed doubles tournaments are always fun and usually draw some pretty big names and great competition. On Saturday, we bowled on A squad for our 9 games of qualifying. I was pretty steady all day and mostly used the new AMF Shred It, shooting games of: 229, 276, 215, 215, 222, 215, 244, 222 and 223 for +261. Scott shot games of 188, 248, 225, 279, 257, 189, 279, 248 and 245 for +358. So combined we were +619 and in first place after both squads of qualifying. The field was then cut to the top 12 teams for Sunday's competition.
On Sunday, we bowled 12 games of round robin matchplay. Each individual game win was worth 10 bonus pins and the team game win was worth 30 bonus pins for a possible 50 extra pins each game. So you can see how important it was to win matches.
During the first 6 matches, we struggled a bit, earning only 160 bonus pins and had dropped to 4th place. The good news was that we were only 100 pins out of first place. We weren't necessarily bowling bad either, we just had some pretty big scores shot at us and couldn't win the needed bonus pins.
We started out strong the next set, each shooting 268 for a nice 536 team game and winning all 50 bonus pins. But we again had some trouble, losing the next three straight matches. We ended up shooting a decent last game to finish in 5th place overall in the tournament. Wendy Macpherson and Dave Wodka won the event in an exciting and very close position round match against Michael Haugen Jr. and Caycee Landers. Congrats to all of the finalists!
Monday, November 8, 2010
As previously posted (and for those who either don't speak/read Japanese or weren't able to keep up with the late night LIVE streaming) I was invited to compete in the Ladies Bowling Organization (LBO) Ladies Bowling Tour Stop #5 in Tokyo, Japan over Halloween weekend.
On Friday, during the first day of qualifying, we bowled 6 games, then took a lunch break and bowled 6 more games. I didn't throw the ball that well, as I was suffering from the rather hot bowling center conditions and couldn't quite get the ball off my hand well. (However, the scores were VERY high, and I still managed to score well.) I shot 258, 182, 223, 212, 246, 255, 231, 258, 189, 246, 201 and 208 for +309, using my Bounty Hunter Pearl all day, and was in 4th place.
The field was then cut to the top 14 players. The next day we bowled 14 games of round robin match play, with 30 bonus pins awarded for each game win. I decided to change the surface on my Bank and polish it a little, which made it work much better and I was able to use it for most of the day. I started off well, shooting 217, 239, and 237, winning the first 3 matches. Then it was all downhill, as I had trouble winning matches with everyone shooting really high scores at me. I shot 200, 216, 241 and 195 and lost every match. The next set of 7 games, I shot 233 and won. Then I shot 184, 217 and 219 and lost all 3 games. I finally figured some things out, switching to my Profit and shot 245 and won, 224 and lost and ended the day with a 223 win. So even after a disastrous matchplay record of 6 and 8, I was still in 4th place and made it to the top 8 finals for Sunday.
On Sunday prior to bowling the finals, the main sponsor of LBO - DHC - a major makeup and health/beauty brand, came out and did our hair and makeup for bowling that day. It was a lot of fun and I always LOVE getting pampered! SO I really enjoyed the whole experience.
We then bowled 8 games of round robin match play and then they cut to the top 5 for the TV show stepladder finals. I had my game face on that day and came out of the gates with a 245, 259, 229 and 236, winning all of the matches. I then lost my only match of the day to Shannon Pluhowsky - 211 to 224. I then proceeded to win the rest of my matches, including the crucial position round match with scores of 256, 257 and 246. I had moved into 2nd place and was only 30 pins short of the top seed spot for the TV show.
The first match of the TV show, Mai Takasaka defeated Tomomi Shibata 237 to 191. The next match, Mai faced Japanese sensation Hiroko Shimizu and Hiroko won, 236 to 220. In the semifinal match, I then faced the fierce left-hander Hiroko and defeated her using the Bank, shooting 247-233.
The final match, I bowled Shannon Pluhowsky for the title and the nearly $50,000 prize. Shannon just kept striking, throwing the front 7 strikes at me, meanwhile I faced some carry issues and couldn't knock down 10 pins. Shannon ended up winning 255-195. There was also a HUGE prize for shooting a 300 game on TV and we all were cheering for Shannon to do it. If she had strung 12 strikes in-a-row, she would have won $300,000! Just crazy!
When all was said and done, I finished 2nd in the tournament and came home with a nice paycheck. I had an amazing time in Japan, as Shannon and I stayed in Japan two extra days to do some sightseeing. We went to Asakusa one day in Tokyo and the other day we went to Tokyo Disney Sea, which was a lot of fun! I was able to get my Disney fix, even all the way in Japan!
Regarding the entire tournament and organization, I must say that I am VERY impressed with the professionalism and respect displayed by each of the competitors, staff and the entire organization. Just to give you an example, the players all wore matching suits and nice dress shoes whenever in the bowling center and not bowling.
Each day of the tournament, we had an official opening ceremonies, where each player was individually introduced and then following the introductions, Shannon and I were usually interviewed prior to the start of practice. Also, at the beginning and end of competition every day, we went out to the foul line and gave a courtesy bow to all fans in attendance. Then, immediately following competition every day, ALL signed autographs and took pictures with the fans, making the event VERY fan friendly! And there were plenty of fans to fill the bowling center each day, with stadium type seating all along the concourse, which made it even more fun to compete!
Speaking of the fans, many had thunder sticks, similar to what we would see at sporting events. So the bowling center was definitely loud whenever a favorite bowler would strike or spare.
Another noteworthy positive of the LBO tour is the fact that each bowler is individually recognized in some way, by either the way they dress, a nickname, etc., making it even easier for fans to connect with that bowler and choose bowlers to route for. And each bowler has a character drawing of themselves that is then sold on merchandise such as program books, pins, t-shirts, fans, etc. And it's all very girly and super cute! All of the girls either wear skirts or shorts and matching shirts. And all of the bowling attire is very girly and attractive. Plus the official color of LBO is pink! So you can never go wrong with that!
All in all, I was very honored to be invited to compete in this inaugural tour season for LBO and hope to be back again next year!