Friday, December 22, 2017

2017 - A Year in Review

I can't believe we are already at the end of 2017! I don't know about you, but this year has definitely flown by. Luckily for myself and the Parkin family, this year has been much better and definitely exciting!

Our biggest news for 2017 is the awaiting arrival of our Baby Boy, who is due any day now. After several years of trying to have a baby, as well as two heartbreaking miscarriages, Drew and I couldn't be happier for this new addition to our family. I'll be sure to post pictures of our little guy as soon as possible.

Here's a crazy story about finding out about our little bundle of joy... It was one week before the 2017 PWBA Tour was about to start. I felt I was in tremendous shape and bowling very well and optimistic for a great upcoming season. That morning, I was flying to Arlington, TX to USBC headquarters and to the ITRC for a very special meet & greet and mini bowling lesson with the Fab Four. For those that aren't familiar, every year, USBC chooses four ladies that are breast cancer survivors and bring them in to the ITRC for a new ball, lessons with Team USA members and then they are part of the opening ceremonies for the Women's Championships. (For more on the Fab Four, click here.)

So...prior to my heading to the airport, I decided for some reason to take a pregnancy test (I wasn't even late yet), but had a funny feeling and sure enough, I was pregnant! Ironically, as mentioned before, this was exactly one week before the PWBA Tour started it's 14 tournament stretch.

For those that aren't aware, I had a miscarriage while competing in an event during the 2016 PWBA Tour season. It was devastating, I was away from my husband and wasn't able to make it home for an entire week afterwards. So naturally, I was nervous for the same scenario, but excited for the possibility of a healthy baby this time around.

So with emotions on high, I began my 2017 PWBA Tour Season. Only my immediate family and best friends new that I was pregnant. Luckily the first 3 stops were all on the West Coast, so I always had family or friends traveling with me during those first few weeks. I battled morning sickness and fatigue right from that very first stop at the PWBA Sonoma County Open, all the way through the last standard event of the PWBA season - The PWBA Rochester Open. Luckily, for some reason, my morning sickness wasn't bad while I was actually competing. Maybe it was the extra focus that helped, but the minute I would get done bowling, I was miserable and very tired.

Despite my growing body, I did manage to bowl every event and had a very consistent season. I didn't exactly reach my goals, but all things considered it was overall a good season. I managed to come in 12th place in points and was the only bowler to qualify for the prestigious PWBA Tour Championships that hadn't made a TV show appearance that year. I cashed in 12 of 14 events, making 6 match play appearances. I just missed making the TV show, finishing in 5th place at both the PWBA Sonoma County Open and the PWBA Rochester Open. I also came in 7th place at the USBC Queens event.

PWBA Tour Championship at Richmond Raceway 

Besides the National PWBA Tour, I also competed at the 2017 Team USA Trials, qualifying for Team USA 2017, making it my 8th year on the adult team. I also successfully defended my title winning back-to-back-to-back PWBA West Regionals, this year held at the PWBA Earl Anthony Memorial Regional event in Dublin, CA.

Besides bowling, my husband Drew and I expanded our pro shop business - Parkin's Bowling Supply. We opened three new locations this year - inside of Brunswick Vista Lanes in Palmdale, CA in April; inside of Brunswick Sands Bowl in Lancaster, CA in May and inside of Oak Tree Lanes in Diamond Bar, CA earlier this month. We now have a total of 6 pro shop locations throughout the Southern California area. So if you're in the area, be sure to stop by and check us out.

Inside of Brunswick Vista Lanes

Inside of Brunswick Sands Bowl

Inside of Oak Tree Lanes

Well that's a wrap! I want to wish everyone a very Happy Holidays! Until 2018!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Team USA Camp 2017

This year, Team USA camp at the International Training and Research Center (ITRC) was definitely a different experience for me. I went to camp, but without any bowling balls. Being too far along in my pregnancy, I still wanted to attend camp and be there for my teammates, but I knew I wouldn't be able to sustain the long hours of workouts and practice on the lanes.

I was happy to still participate, being an extra set of eyes for lane play strategy and the competitions. I also was able to learn a lot this week, not only through the classroom material, but also through having the different perspective of intensely watching and helping my teammates as they trained.

Even though camp involved long hours and tons of on-lane work, we also still managed to have a little fun off the lanes during our picture day.

I have to say that our ladies worked their butts off! They bowled more than we've ever bowled at Camp and also had the unique experience to work with a variety of World Class Coaches.

This year, we had the addition of some of the best coaches in the world helping our Team USA Head Coach Rod Ross. Our additional coaches included: Junior Team USA Head Coach Bryan O'Keefe, Del Warren, Bill Spigner and Andy Diercks.

Since I also do a lot of coaching, it was nice to observe how the different coaches would tackle fixing physical game issues for the players and/or seeing the differences in interactions, etc. So I was able to learn a lot from a coaching perspective as well.

HUGE congratulations to Kelly Kulick, Stefanie Johnson, Shannon Pluhowsky, Shannon O'Keefe, Danielle McEwan and Josie Barnes who were selected to represent Team USA in the World Championships that will be contested at the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas, Nev. from Nov. 24-Dec. 4. I know you'll all do our Team and Country proud!!! Go USA!

For the full story regarding the 2017 World Championships, click here. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Missy Qualifies for Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship

Last week, I qualified in the top 16 for the season-ending Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship. It was such an incredible experience as four lanes were constructed, courtesy of QubicaAMF, inside the Old Dominion Building at the Richmond Raceway.  

The venue almost looked as if it was meant for the four lanes as they fit perfectly under the oblong dome of the building. When you stepped outside of the building, the giant grandstands for the Raceway along with the circular track were our backdrop. 

Upon our arrival we received an amazing goody bag! There was definitely a ton of silliness prior to our competition, as we were more amused than probably anyone about our life size cardboard cutouts. 

Prior to competition, we went out to a nice Teppanyaki Japanese dinner. It got to be pretty hilarious because the chef kept giving me all of the extra food that was cooked. Apparently, he thought I needed to eat for four. Lol!

The next morning, I was in the first match against my great friend Maria Jose Rodriguez. This week we bowled on a 40' pattern with nearly 23 mL of oil using Current conditioner. The lanes were definitely hooking as our spare balls were even taking off. 

I used my Ebonite Game Breaker 2 Phenom for the entire match. It allowed me to calm down the backend reaction, thus smoothening out the pattern. 

The format for the event was Best of 5 single elimination matchplay and we were seeded based on our qualifying ranking for the season. Another words, the first person to win 3 games advanced. Loser went home. I was the No. 12 seed and Maria was the No. 9 seed. 

In our first game, I needed 9/X in the 10th frame to win the game. I ended on the lane that was getting a little tricky and unfortunately left the 2,8 spare. I then needed to pick it up and strike to tie Maria. I did indeed pick up the spare and then threw a flush strike for the tie. 

In the event of a tie, the higher seed gets to pick the starting lane and the order that the one-ball rolloff will occur. Maria smartly choose my bad lane, the right lane and she decided to go first. She went up and left a 4 pin and I went up and struck for the game 1 win. 

In the next game, it was another close match as we both were striking. I ended up shutting Maria out shooting 259 to her 237 to go up 2-0. 

Going into game 3 and needing to make small adjustments on the two lanes to continue to carry, it was another close match. I finally figured out the left lane, which had started to be troublesome and was able to throw 4-in-a-row late in the game for a 226-207 win thus moving on in the tournament. 

The next morning, I would face my other great friend and occasional roommate on tour, No. 4 seed Danielle McEwan. 

We had a great match, with both of us striking at different times and keeping things close. I started off the first game with the incorrect ball and got down to an early deficit losing 178-212. 

In game 2, I figured it out using my Phenom and fired back with a 231 victory over Danielle's 196. However, in game 3 the lanes started to transition a bit quicker. I again lost my line and needed to make fine tune adjustments to get back on track. With the lanes conditions as they were, you couldn't really move left as the lanes broke down. Instead you needed to change speeds, hand positions or ball down and stay relatively in the same place on the lane.

I finally figured them out, staying more behind the ball using the same ball and struck out for 189 but a little too late for Danielle's 218.

Then, facing elimination, I knew I needed a big game. We were both tied, having a dutch 200 game going. I couldn't strike on the right lane, leaving back-to-back 10 pins. In a crucial point in the match, I made a gutsy decision to switch to my Ebonite Phenom Pearl only on the right lane. This proved to be the correct answer as I started striking strikes. 

However, Danielle also started striking strikes. We were tied going into the 10th frame, both being able to strike out for 260. Danielle went up in the 10th frame first. She doubled and then left 7 on her fill ball. I would need to go up and double in the 10th frame and then get 8 pins on my fill ball to force the match to game 5.

I bowled the 10th frame on the right lane, where I had earlier switched balls. I threw it well the first shot for a light strike. Then on my next shot, I liked it even more off my hand, but unfortunately left a stubborn 10 pin which eliminated me from the tournament. 

Congratulations to Team USA Teammate Shannon O'keefe for winning her first major title capturing the Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship. 

After the tournament, my husband Drew, my in-laws and I had a mini vacation. We spent our first day exploring history by visiting Jamestown, Yorktown battlefield and Colonial Williamsburg. 

The next day, we ventured to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. It was fun to go back in time and explore the grounds. 

After that, we drove into Washington D.C. to see some of the monuments before it got dark. We stopped first at the Washington Monument, followed by the WWII Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and the White House. 

Drew and I had fun re-creating pictures from our very first trip together, back in December of 2008, when we first started dating. 

The next day, we were able to tour the Capitol Building and even got lucky enough to see the House of Representatives. Although we got ushered in just after they had adjourned for the weekend. 

After that, we visited the Ford Theatre, the site of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, as well as seeing where the former President passed away.  

That night, we went to the Washington Nationals baseball game against the Phillies. It was an exciting and high scoring game. But the highlight of the night was watching Michael Taylor hit an inside-the-park Grand Slam, only the 11th in Major League Baseball history. 

The next day, prior to leaving for home, we stopped at the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum. We got to see the Space Shuttle Discovery, which was the 2nd space shuttle I was able to see this summer. (The first being the space shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.) We also got to see the Boeing B-29 Enola Gay, the Air France Concorde, as well as other historic space and aircraft. We had such an amazing trip! 

My 2017 PWBA season has come to an end. It was a crazy and fun ride. I found out I was pregnant one week before the PWBA season started. Despite morning sickness and needing to adapt to my changing body, I bowled every event. I ended the season in 12th place overall, cashing in 12 of 14 events and making 6 matchplay appearances. I just missed making the TV show at both the PWBA Sonoma County Open and PWBA Rochester Open, finishing in 5th place. I also had a 7th place finish at the USBC Queens.   

Now it's time to nest and get ready for our next big adventure - the arrival of Baby Boy Parkin due in late December. Next season is sure to be exciting and fun, as I plan to compete in every event, bringing our little man along for the ride. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Nationwide PWBA Rochester Open

This past week, we competed in our last standard event of the season - the Nationwide PWBA Rochester Open at AMF Gates Lanes. 

This week the pattern was not posted. However, it played long, with light volume and had some dry boards to the right. I played outside near the gutter my very 1st game of the event, shooting 203 using a pin up Columbia 300 Tyrant. I again stayed outside another game, which was a game too long and shot 159. 

After that I decided to go with my backup plan. With everyone playing to the right using a ton of surface, moving pair to pair was going to be extremely difficult. I had found a good look using a pin down Columbia 300 Tyrant playing inside, keeping the ball fairly straight around 17-18. So game 3, I went against the norm, moved in and proceeded to shoot 245, 214, 205 and 267 for +93. My plan worked as each pair was fairly close to the last, since no one was playing there. 

Going into the next block of qualifying, I decided to play inside the entire time, using the same ball. I shot games of 223, 225, 210, and 183. I then switched to a pin up Tyrant and shot 207 and 196 for +137 overall, which put me in 4th position going into the Casher's Round. It took -43 to make the cut to the top 32.

The next morning the lanes were tighter and flatter as expected. I again played inside, but a little deeper using my pin up Tyrant and shot 198 to start. Game 2, I moved back closer to where I had been the day before, but with a tighter angle and shot 213, 245, 236, 212 and 268 for +172 and +309 overall, taking the lead by over 100 pins going into match play. 

Once you make the top 12 for matchplay things get a little confusing, so let me break it down for you. Based on the overall pinfall totals, all of the odd numbered players (1,3,5,7,9, and 11) are on one 6-person bracket and all of the even numbered players (2,4,6,8,10 and 12) are on another 6-person bracket. We then bowl 6 games of round robin matchplay, within our own brackets, with the winner of each match, earning 30 bonus pins. The final game of match play is a position round. The top bowler in each bracket automatically advances to the TV finals. The No. 2, 3, and 4 seeds from each bracket then bowl a stepladder final with the winners of each stepladder also advancing to the TV show. 

My look definitely wasn't as good in matchplay, as the lanes continued to get tighter and flatter, making my line more difficult and my carry not as good. I was leading our bracket and still had the overall lead between both brackets, despite going 2-3 going into Position Round. I was 72 pins ahead of Shannon Pluhowsky in 2nd. 

In the Position Round match, by chance, we happened to bowl on the same pair that I had faced Shannon on earlier in match play, in which I bowled my lowest game - 178 and she shot her highest game - 248. We did get 5 minutes of practice on the pair, in which I did figure out that I needed to move much deeper inside to have a better look. Unfortunately, that also effected my carry. 

I had stayed clean through 8 frames until I left a pocket 8,10 in a crucial situation in the 9th frame. Shannon could have locked me out in the 9th and 10th, but instead gave me a window. 

Going into the 10th frame, I unfortunately received some misinformation. In the heat of the moment with everything going on, my brain was not working correctly to add things up and figure out what I needed. So I asked a trusted person and was told I needed a mark and count to win. So I went up and threw the first shot and got a strike. I then again asked if I just needed count and was told yes, when in fact I needed another strike. 

Any high-level bowler will tell you that it is a big difference in mindset. So I went up, hit the pocket, left a makeable 5 pin and thought I had made the TV show and in the top seed position. Shannon also thought she had lost. And then a few seconds later, I learned that I had indeed missed the TV show by 2 pins. I was devastated, upset and completely in shock. 

Luckily I had over an hour to re-group for the group stepladder finals. I would face the winner of Katelyn Simpson and Kristina Szczerbinski. Kristina defeated Katelyn 212 to 181. 

I decided to play further right, near the track, during the stepladder finals, since Katelyn had used a lot of surface there and since my look inside was all but gone. I made some bad shots in the beginning of the match, but down the stretch threw it very well. 

In the 9th frame, on a string of strikes, Kristina left the Greek church and only got 1, leaving the door wide open for me. The best she could shoot was 208 and I could strike out in the 9th and 10th for 224. I was on a double, threw a great shot and left a pocket 4,5. On the spare attempt, I threw it where I wanted to using my strike ball, but it didn't convert the spare. In the 10th frame, I then needed to strike out to force Kristina to get a mark and I only got the first strike. 

So I finished in 5th place overall at the Nationwide PWBA Rochester Open. 

I am taking the positives from this tournament despite how things turned out: I out-averaged the field playing the lanes where no one else was. My spare game was on point. I made great decisions all week long and I accomplished all of that while getting little sleep and being 16 weeks pregnant. 

I want to also thank a very nice man, who politely reminded me last week in Florida, that "just cashing" isn't exactly where I should be. That nice man happens to be the GOAT - Walter Ray Williams Jr. 

Another BIG thanks to my amazing friend John Janawicz (JJ) for helping me to fix my arsenal and eliminate a ton of balls, which really helped to simplify things this week. 

Thank you to Nationwide for their continued support of the PWBA Tour, to the staff of AMF Gates Lanes for their gracious hospitality and to Columbia 300, High 5 Gear and Vise Inserts for making the best products in the bowling industry. 

Immediately following the tournament, I flew home the next day to attend our gender reveal party. Drew and I will be welcoming a baby boy in December. 

Time for some much needed rest and relaxation with family and friends as we get a week off before heading out again. #PWBA 

Monday, July 10, 2017

The PWBA Florida Tour Stops

The past week and a half I have spent in Florida competing on the PWBA Tour. Our first stop was held in Orlando at Boardwalk Bowl hosted by past PWBA champion Kendra Gaines.

During this stop, we bowled on a very unique  37' pattern. Check it out!

During the 1st block of qualifying, I used my New Hammer Diesel with 1000 grit surface for most of the block, playing straight up 7,  staying out the entire block, just making minor adjustments. 

I shot games of 215, 232, 208 and 228. I then switched to a pin down Scandal Pearl and shot 195 and then switched to a Game Breaker 2 Phenom Pearl for 222 for +100 overall. This put me in 8th position after round 1. 

We then headed out to lunch and got caught in a pretty ugly Florida summer thunderstorm. With a 3 second walk/run from the entrance of the restaurant until the front door, we got completely soaked. Funny now, but not so funny then.

During the night block it was a definite grind! The lanes are always a little different after every strip and re-oil, as they tend to get a little tighter and flatter. I started off with my Columbia 300 Impulse Solid and shot 175. I then switched to my Hammer Diesel and shot 187, 225, 182, 184 and then ended with a big 279 to get me to +132 and in 12th place.

In the Casher's Round, I used a pin Down Tyrant the entire block. I had a good line to the pocket, but I struggled with carry and shot 190, 204 and 179. I then struck out 8th, 9th and 10th for 199 and 213. Being 13th going into the last game, I knew I needed a big game to make the top 12 for match play. I made 12 great shots and bowled a 247 the last game to be the 12th and final qualifier by 3 pins. 

Unfortunately match play didn't go as well, as I couldn't seem to win matches. I went 1-5 shooting +56 scratch and came in 11th place in the tournament. I would have liked to at least make it to the group stepladder for a chance at the TV show, but still a great week overall.

HUGE thank you to Kendra Gaines and the staff of Boardwalk Bowl for the gracious hospitality! Can't wait to head back there again next year! 

I ended up staying in Florida in between the two stops and got a chance to hang out with my good friend John Janawicz (JJ.) On Sunday, I visited the Kennedy Space Center for the 1st time. I went because they had a rocket launch that night, but the launch got cancelled with 10 seconds before takeoff. A big bummer indeed!

On the 4th of July, JJ and I went to Disney Springs for lunch, did a little shopping and then headed to the Disney Polynesian Resort to watch the amazing fireworks from the Magic Kingdom. 

I was also able to practice at the KEGEL Training Center one of the days. This is an amazing facility with some crazy technology. I highly recommend checking it out if you're ever in the area. 

The next leg of the PWBA Tour visited Seminole Lanes in St. Petersburg/Clearwater. This week we bowled on another unique pattern that some say looks like the number 4, and I think resembles a bad game of Tetris. The pattern ended up producing some pretty high scores.

The first block, I used my Scandal with 1000 grit and played far to the right. You had to keep the ball close to the gutter all week. The only problem was that as the pattern developed and more games were bowled, you couldn't move left because there was a cliff of oil. So you had to find the right ball to smoothen out the dry to the right and not over-skid in the oil. I shot 224 game 1 and then switched to my Tyrant and shot 201 and 234. I struggled the next game shooting 171. I then switched to a Paradox Pearl and shot 225 and 195 for +50 overall, which put me in 28th place.

The next block, they did not re-oil the lanes, so we bowled on the burn lanes from the morning. As I previously mentioned, they definitely got a bit tricky. I started off using a newly drilled Dark Legend Solid with the pin above my middle finger and put polish on it. I also had worn a little wrist support that helps me to roll the ball more and I took it off for the second set to help project my ball further down the lane. I shot 200, 258, 191 and 190, changing speeds to compensate for each lane. 

I then, started lofting the ball over the heads with speed to get a better reaction and shot 197. Going into the last game, I knew I needed a good game to make the cut as I was currently in 30th position. I continued with the loft and threw the ball extremely well to shoot 224 for +60 on the block and +110 overall and ended up making the cut which took +89. 

I knew I would need a monster set to make the top 12. Unfortunately things didn't go my way and I ended up coming in 32nd place. Although, I definitely would have liked to do better, I am still glad that I cashed in the event.

BIG thank you to the Kraus family and all of the staff at Seminole Lanes for another wonderful event! 

Super happy for one of my tour roommates Danielle McEwan for making back-to-back TV shows. 

Now time to enjoy being home for a few days before heading to Rochester, NY later this week.

Until then!