Game 1: 227
Game 2: 269
Game 3: 226
Saturday was my second run at U.S. Steel's annual bowling tournament at Legacy Lanes. I threw a 639 last year, but all I could remember is how friendly the lane conditions and pins were. I've only bowled in this house twice, but both times worked out well for me. I tried not to fall into a trap and my main goal was to focus on making good shots. As a team I set a goal for us to shoot about 750 scratch each game, putting us a few pins over average. The handicap was 90% of 220 which also helped us out a little bit.
From the first frame I felt really good. During the first game I quickly realized I had to play a different line on each lane, something I had experienced during league not too long ago. I stayed in the pocket all game and made all of my spares. I made a small adjustment during the game, moving up a half step on the approach, but otherwise I just threw the same shot all day. I finished with a 227 the first game and the team was about 100 pins over average.
We moved one pair to our right for the second game. Waiting for the first teams on that set to finish I noticed that everyone was running a little high so I decided to play the first game line that was further inside to catch the oil. I started with the first six strikes in a row, matching my personal best start to a game. Teammates stopped talking to me and everyone started tensing up a little bit. Standing on the approach for the seventh frame I could feel more eyes watching me than usual. I pulled the shot left, letting my nerves get the best of me, but the ball hit Brooklyn and carried the 5-pin for another strike. This was officially new territory for me. I knew that would be my one gift for the game and every ball form there on out had to be perfect. I told myself this was just another frame trying to knock the knot out of my stomach and hit all my marks again for my eighth strike in a row. It was getting serious. Between balls I had been playing with my daughter in the back, but even she seemed to shy away from me leading up to the ninth frame. I took an extra breath as I picked up my ball and set up on the approach. I threw a half board right of my mark, but I had been able to carry with similar throws before. I hit the pocket just a hair light and everything on the left fell a little slower than usual. A few pins rolled in front of the 7-pin, but nothing had enough momentum to knock it down. My streak ended at eight. I struck again my first ball in the tenth and finished with another spare for a 269 game, a personal best by one pin.
We moved one more pair right for the last game and I started with the first four in a row. I made all my spares and strung a few strikes together, but my mind was still back in the ninth frame of the second game. I cruised to a 227, something not usually easy for me. I finished with my second best ever series, a 722.
The event organizer told me I had wrapped up the top scratch series which puts $25 in my pocket. She also said they were really rooting for me to get the 300 because no one had ever done it at the tournament before, which I find surprising because there are some great bowlers there. The team shot all three games over 1150 with handicap so I like our chances in placing. I'll post the results as soon as I get word.
I had a lot of fun, but I also learned that my mental game still needs some work. I can't let myself get too worked up or excited in high stress situations. It was a new experience for me and two days later I am still riding the high. I wasn't even really upset at leaving the 7-pin and was quickly able to shake it off, hit the reset button, and concentrate on picking up the spare. Reflecting with my smiling teammates when I got to the back was a pretty cool feeling, though.
Maybe I should think about joining a league at this center next year, who knows how well I could do!