This past week, I travelled to NorthRock Lanes in Wichita, Kansas for the Midwest segment of the PWBA Tour.
Having just missed the cut at this event the past two seasons, I was determined to change things this time around.
I flew out early Thursday morning and made it in time for the Thursday afternoon practice session. I also bowled in the pro-am that evening with a great group of junior and adult bowlers.
Prior to the start of the pro-am, we had a little silly competition amongst the pros. Every pro had to go up to the foul line with a ball in their hand. We had no idea what was going on. We then were asked to face the audience and throw the ball granny style between our legs, backwards. Well seeing as I have actually never done this before, I was concerned at knocking down any pins at all.
We all threw the ball at the same time, highest pin fall remained. I actually knocked down 9 pins to my surprise. There were 3 or 4 people left. So we went again. I knocked down 6 pins and tied with one other bowler for the highest pinfall. We both then threw it in the gutter and needed to go again for the tie breaker. I again knocked down 9 pins and won my pair free frozen custard! A great way to start the night!
The next day, we bowled our qualifying squads. For those that haven't actually attended one of our tour events, I'd like to give you a little more insight into our daily schedule for each standard event week.
There's an optional morning practice session from 9-10am on Fridays. I opted to get extra sleep and skip it this week. We then bowl 6 games of qualifying starting at noon, so a late breakfast/early lunch is what we eat beforehand.
As in many weeks, we had another awesome turnout - 101 bowlers, so there were 4 and some 5 pros on a pair. This makes for LONG qualifying blocks. We got done bowling around 4pm, which gives you about an hour for a quick late lunch/early dinner (and that's if you're not drilling a bowling ball in between squads, which takes more time since we have to work out all of our own equipment.)
We then bowl another 6-game qualifying block at 6pm, which usually gets done around 10pm. By the time we get done, I might have a quick snack, if at all and then it's off to sleep. Then if you make the cut to the top 32, it's a very quick turnaround as we have to bowl at 8:30am the next morning.
That next morning, it's another 6 games of the Casher's Round before cutting to the top 12 for matchplay. Then another 6 games of matchplay, followed by the stepladder finals. So all of this makes for a lot of bowling in a very short amount of time. Just a little more in depth look into our lives every weekend.
This week, we bowled on a rather interesting/difficult 42' pattern using ice oil.
I started off using a lot of surface (360 grit) on my Track Heat Xtreme, playing far to the right, pointing the ball. I shot games of 215 and 204. I then switched to my Track Mako and shot 182, 210 and 225. Unfortunately, the last game I struggled only shooting 159 for -5 overall, which put me in 21st place.
The next block, they did not re-oil the lanes so we bowled on the burn. I completely changed strategies and jumped deep inside using my Columbia 300 Tyrant and shot 237 and 201. I then struggled again leaving a couple of pocket splits and shot 159. I brought it back with a 227, 182 and 221 for +22 total, which moved me into 16th place overall. The cut to the top 32 was -31.
The next morning, I needed a good block to jump into the top 12. I was only 33 pins back when the day started. I again started off using my Track Heat Xtreme with surface and played right and shot 223. Unfortunately, when I moved to the next pair, I struggled to get lined up and started off with 3 splits and opens in a row. I ended up striking out in the 10th for 156. I then switched to my Track Mako shooting a clean 194.
Not having a great reaction, I decided to jump inside and shot 186, 211 and 205. I didn't throw the ball stellar in the Casher's Round and with the demanding conditions, that wasn't going to make the cut. I ended up -3 overall which put me in 20th place in the tournament. It took +60 to make the cut to match play.
Even though I would have liked to do better, I'm still happy with the fact that I bowled better at this event than the previous years.
Thank you to Kathy Desocio and the staff of NorthRock Lanes for their continued support of women's bowling!
Congratulations to Malaysians Siti Rahman and Li Jane Sin as well as Colombian Juliana Franco and Liz Johnson for making the TV show! On to Lincoln!