My 36th USBC Nationals
I tried the BTM (Bowling This Month magazine holds a tournament concurrent with the USBC Nationals) on Thursday, and had 797 for 4 games, currently about 9th in Seniors. I was fairly consistent - right around 200 for 3 of the games - with 188 the second game. Played right where I wanted to, about the 8 board at the arrows, but I missed 4 spares, so can't complain too much.
Got up early on Friday to practice on the Showcase lanes at the center, (these lanes are "on the side," purportedly the same as the Nationals shot.) and bowled really well, and boosted my confidence.
I found my best shot was right around 10-to-8 (hitting the 10-board with a small swing out to the 8-board) with my Prodigy, transitioning to 12-to-10 with the Invasion. I found I could play with shiny equipment because the back-ends were so strong (the last portion of the lanes were very dry and the ball really hooked hard to the pins).
I should have cut off practice at 30 minutes, though, because my back muscles tightened up in the Team event later that same day. Regardless, it was time well spent to get a good read for the real thing. (Only $90 an hour for a pair of lanes, so get some buddies together and practice).
In the Team Event later that afternoon, the tournament lanes didn't play exactly as the Showcase lanes(surprise?!?), mostly due to the back-ends not being as strong as earlier. Still, I stayed with my game plan to play outside with the Prodigy. Unfortunately, nobody else wanted to help me out. (One of the most talked about strategies nowadays is for everyone to get together and "carve out" a shot by playing the same line(s) to the pocket.)
I couldn't loosen up my swing due to the back tightening up and the result was a 146 with 5 missed spares. (Watch out for the right side spares!!!) We missed numerous spares to the outside such as sliding by the 10 pin or cutting off the 6-10 from the 3-6-10 spare, and so forth. Conversely, the left side spares want to dive in the gutter before getting to the 7 pin. Keep your speed up, and throw it straight!
By the second game, I’d changed to the Invasion and moved slightly in to play just inside where I started from, and had some success with 191 and 190, missing the 3-6-10, as stated before, in the 10th frame both times. So other than the first game and missed 10th frames, I felt fairly well with a 527. Sad, ain't it?
By the way, both the Prodigy and Invasion were scuffed at 3000 Abralon, but in hindsight, wish I had gone down to 1000 or less on one of them. (Abralon pads are a modern-type of sandpaper used to "scuff" your ball track to make it grab on the lanes better. The lower the Abralon grit, the duller you can make the surface.)
The next day in Doubles, found the condition to be fairly similar to the Showcase lanes, and shot OK with a 609, playing the lanes exactly as planned: 9-to-6 early, moving to 12-to-8 later with the same equipment as before. My partner, Dave, and I shot 1,238 for Doubles as he had a 629. He was playing about 15-to-12 with a GameBreaker. Good start.
Moving to the Singles pair, Holy Cow, what a difference - felt like an abundance of plastic balls had been on that pair! Couldn't get my ball to move, had to point the ball to the pocket and hope. At least the pin deck was dry, as a few 4-9's, 4-6 combinations, and even a 7-10 attested to the results.
The lanes finally opened up a little after a game-and-a-half; but, by the 3rd game, it was gone again. I shot 147-199-160 for 506. Missed four of five frames to start, and again in the last five frames of the last game. There were some nasty spare combinations.
Dave could manage only a 519 in Singles. The bowlers we swapped with did just the opposite, going from bad to good by moving to our doubles pair. OK, so much for the excuses. If you're on your game, the scores will be there.
Just to our right, Patrick M., bowling with his dad, Anthony (in his 62nd Open), rolled two 680s. He was playing straight up 10 with a Nexus solid, taking all of our bracket money in the process. Shannon O'Keefe (I'm sure you know her as one of the top women bowlers in the world) shot 300 and a big 700 in team during our stay.
Here’s my take. For us Rev challenged players, we were able to use aggressive equipment for all games. Still had lots of oil rings even in the last game of Singles. Stay away from “flippy” layouts as the arcing stuff seemed to more controllable and still carried well.
Good luck guys!
(Editor's Note: Hank wants everyone to know this is only his "take" on this year's Nationals. It's not necessarily how everyone's equipment will perform. However, I do appreciate his sharing his experiences with us. Thanks again, Hank!!!)
A Hui Hou! (See You Again!)
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