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.