Saturday afternoon was US Steel's Andrew Carnegie Athletic Association Bowling Tournament at Legacy Lanes in Pittsburgh. This was a 90% handicap tournament based on a 220 average with five bowlers per team. If you could not get five bowlers (like our team) you received a vacancy 175 with no handicap included for the empty spot. So right away we were at a bit of a disadvantage. Looking at the teams leading up to the event you could see there were a lot of good bowlers. I think I had the tenth highest average at 191 out of 48 total registered bowlers. To liven things up a bit, we also changed lanes for each game.
Practice built up my confidence a little bit because the ball was moving pretty well and there was some room for error on the outside. However, one thing I forgot to factor in was that most of the bowlers were throwing a similar line to my own, unlike Thursdays where I typically have a line all to myself. By the end of practice the oil was pushed further down the lane and the ball hooked later toward the pocket. I spent a portion of the first game trying to adjust and get the ball back into the pocket, ending up on a similar line to Thursday nights. I missed a 4-8 in the first frame but after that I struck a few times and picked up my spares until I found a good line. I threw four in a row starting in the seventh frame and finished the first game with a 225. It was the second highest game on our pair (an opponent threw a 238) and I watched a bowler on the next set throw the front eight so I dropped any illusions of winning a top game or series prize right there.
For the next game we moved left one pair and I started with a missed 2-4-5. I threw a few more light hits early on, but luckily picked up a lot of nine count spares. I had a brief issue with missing my target but was able to correct it in a few frames. I found a sweet spot around the sixth frame before the ball started to run high in the tenth and I finished the second game with a 189.
We threw the last game one more pair to the left. I started off with a high shot leaving the 3-6-8-10, which I opened. I moved up a few inches and fired the next eleven balls right into the pocket for a double, an 8-pin spare, a four bagger, a 10-pin spare and a turkey. I finished the game with another 225 and a 639 series.
I had a great time and really enjoyed the competition. It helped that the lanes were oiled to yield high scores and it felt like as long as I hit my mark and put the ball in the pocket I was going to strike. But I can use all the confidence I can get coming down the home stretch of league play, so I'll take it. I don't think our team will place in the top five for prizes, but because bowlers are only allowed to win one individual award I might have a shot at a high game handicap payout. I should know by Friday for sure.
I would definitely go back next year, but we'll be sure to bring a full team next time to better our chances.