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Only one thing to say.

Finished my Wednesday bowling league with my highest average ever -- even though it dipped right at the end! I finished the year averaging 210 and change, earning Most Improved honors over my 194 from last year. Interestingly, my Monday night average didn't change (195). They're talking about making the oil pattern harder next year, so we'll see if I can keep it up -- the down-and-in shot I play seems to be flexible everywhere, so hopefully it'll stay at least somewhat consistent.

The Great, the Lousy, and the Owie

The Great:
Tuesday night league was a banner night. Set a new personal best for high series: 227-248-277 for a 752 (left a 3-6-9 in the 4th frame of the 3rd game to ruin the perfection). I found a good line early, and I was very happy to see that I was able to hit it consistently and make the correct adjustments as the night went on.

This is also another one of those "Have A Ball" leagues, meaning I get a credit of up to $175 toward new gear at the center's pro shop. I paid my dues in full that night, so I'll get my gift cert next week. After getting some advice from my pro shop guy, I'll be ordering a ROTO GRIP OUTLAW, which should fill in one of the two remaining gaps in my arsenal.

The Lousy/Owie:
Whatever happened Tuesday night, my knee has been paying for it over the last couple days. I felt something pop behind it last weekend at work, but I had a brace to keep it from getting too painful. Wednesday morning, though, it was burning like crazy. I was able to limp through the work day, thanks to the brace, some Tiger Balm, and a handful of Aleve. It was still lingering today as well, but not nearly as bad.

Good news is that I'm going to get a day off to rest. I had a gig on Friday, but the store called me earlier to day to tell me it was canceled. My plan for Friday is to stay home, do something close to nothing, and keep as much weight off of my knee as possible.

I learned something today.....

I'm not as good as I think I am :-P

Today was my first attempt at an ELITE BOWLERS TOUR event, and as you can see, I completely sucked donkey appendage. Starting off with a 134 game in a 3-game event pretty much seals your fate. My second game was clean, but I struck only three times and couldn't consistently hit the pocket.

The tournament organizers tried to soften the blow by saying that the pattern they laid down had never played this tough before, but it didn't matter to me. I had never bowled on it before, so I didn't come in with any expectations. I simply couldn't hit a consistent shot, period. Even though the lanes were starting to break down toward the end of the first shift, I didn't have the confidence to pay for a re-entry.

I did learn a couple things, though. Their next event is Jan 15, and I'll definitely approach it differently.

Kijani - 2011 Seattle USBC Oktoberfest Champion ^^

I love hearing about other's personal successes, I use them as inspiration to better my life or improve myself in some way and I truly enjoy it when my friends achieve great things, whatever they may be.
Today, I have my own to share.

Today was the second annual Oktoberfest Tournament at Kenmore Lanes, the same bowling center that hosted all the most recent When Furballs Strike meets that I run.

Up until today, I have bowled at least 6 or 8 events as an adult, and never once even cashed (finished high enough to earn a prize check).  I've been nothing but donate to the prize funds my whole life, and I decided that today that was going to change.

As many of you might have heard, I suffered a severe hand injury last April that took me out of bowling for over one month, it was a sprained tendon in my bowling hand.

After recovering from that, I practiced and practiced and worked on my game, at least twice a week.
There were 25 bowlers in the field today, and there were quite a few very good players in the group as well, it would be no cake walk for sure.

I got off to a pretty good start in the 5-game qualifying block, shooting 205, 235, 205 and 221 before dropping to a 190 something in the last game to drop to fourth place overall, which was fine because the top 8 made the cut to match play.

Match play was 5 more head-to-head games against a single opponent, and if you won you got +20 bonus pins.  I really struggled in my first two games and dropped to 6th and was fading fast. I knew what I HAD to do, but I just wasn't executing my shots.  At that moment, the start of the 3rd game, I had to kick my ass into gear in order to stop my free fall down the leaderboard.

All that practice, that preparation, that training my muscle memory to take over and deliver that 16 pound ball over my target, I needed to pull it together right now.

And I did.

In game three, I started with six of the first seven strikes in a row en route to a 269, my highest game of the tournament which vaulted me up to 2nd place...

9/ X X X X X X 9/ X XXX

And then I closed in the very last game with a 237 to take the top qualifier spot for the finals by ONE PIN, 1209 to 1208 over a very good bowler who I've played against before.

So that meant I only needed to win one more game to win the title, and I was getting nervous.  I've never ever been in this position before in my life, and I've been bowling competitively for 10 years... and the guy that made the championship match to face me was a really nice guy who had suffered a broken hand a few years ago and sustained permanent nerve damage in his hand, and made a miraculous comeback to bowling just recently.

When his wife told me his story I almost teared up, it was so amazing.

In the end though, he struggled in the match when I coasted to a 246-176 victory to be crowned the 2011 Oktoberfest Champion!

I bowled at Kenmore for many, many years and worked there for 7 years too, so to get my first win in that bowling center was so special and it meant all my hard work and dedication to the sport of bowling paid off :D

The message I want to send to all my friends out there in the fandom is that good things will come to those who wait.  I went from never even making a check before in a tournament to the very top, all in one fell swoop - today I caught a lot of good breaks and things evened out in a big way.  

Life can get you down in many ways, but keep plugging along, don't give up and keep trying to better yourself and those around you and eventually, things will turn around.

Thanks so much for reading, and now off to celebrate!  First round is on me!

2011 Greater Seattle USBC Oktoberfest Champion
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So Close...

Went out for some practice Friday morning. I'm a sucker for a buy-one-get-one offer.

Bowling early in the morning means that the lanes are freshly oiled, and they laid it on thick at this place today. My Reign Supreme was barely moving, so I had to slow down to about 13.5mph and put a few extra revs on my shot just to get it back into the pocket. Wish I had my Infinite Theory by now, because it was tailor-made for these conditions.

I had a string of eight straight 200 games coming into today, and that streak ended at 10. I needed a mark in the 10th of my third game to break 200 again, but my ball speed was a bit too slow, so it hooked through the nose and left a split. That was a good sign for me, though, because it meant that the oil pattern was breaking down to the point where I could play a more comfortable shot.

My last game of the day was.... well, see for yourself...

A big photo for a big scoreCollapse )

Ending with a roar

So my Wednesday night "Anything Goes" bowling league wrapped up this week. The standings were set, so the final night was a 9-pin no-tap night with free pizza as a bonus. Being the weirdo I am, I decided to go one step further....

Yep, SK-1 paid a visit and rolled some shots. There were a few WTFs as we were waiting for the lanes to clear out from the previous session, but I'd say about 70% of the response was positive. Unfortunately, I had to remove him after five frames because of some rule about the possibility of me robbing the place (I didn't understand it, but I respected the center's wishes).

The full photo set is HERE including some poses with our 3rd-place trophies and a bonus trophy for one of my teammates for high handicap single game (rolled a 268 scratch, 310 with his handicap).

And I "struck" three times in those five frames. The weak 7 pin is usually my nemesis, but tonight, it was my friend.

Bowling Perfecto #6... and 20 strikes in a row!

Well if there was any doubt about my recovery from my recent hand injury, those thoughts were settled tonight as I went bowling with my roommate Dolphin Echo and I had one of the best nights on the lanes I've ever had.

After taking a few shots to warm up and find a line with the new Brunswick Wild Card ball I drilled up a couple weeks ago, I started striking.  I even told Echo as we were nearing the end of our first game, "With this line I'm playing I just have a feeling I'm going to shoot a big game!"

I was throwing pretty fast down the outside part of the lane, with about 10-12 boards of hook, the way I like to bowl and I was in my "wheelhouse" as they say.

I started out with five in a row, and then it became seven, then nine... most every shot right there, flush in the pocket.  Finally I found myself in a position I haven't been in about half a year, standing in the 10th frame with a shot at 300.  It's been almost a year since my last one, which also was at Majestic Lanes.

The 10th shot was absolutely perfect, I knew it was in there as soon as it left my hand.  I didn't celebrate at all, knowing I had more work ahead.

The 11th one was right there too, all 10 pins straight back, and before my 12th shot I actually took an extra bit of time, reset the pins, and composed myself.

I was very nervous, as there must have been 15 people that all stopped bowling to watch a dorky Asian dude wearing ears and a lion tail trying to achieve bowling perfection.  The 12th shot I threw a little bit too hard, but I had enough hook on it to get it to the "pocket" and it shredded the pins for my 6th perfect game as everyone cheered and applauded :)

Other than maybe my first one and my sanctioned league 300 this one meant the most to me because as many of you know I was sidelined for over a month in late February thru March with a strained tendon in my bowling hand, I wasn't even sure if I'd ever be able to bowl again it was so painful to just throw the ball.

After taking a breather, I started the next game with the first 7 strikes, setting a new personal record of 20 consecutive strikes over a 3-game span (which is even more than the men's professional record on television, which is 18 strikes).  Look out pins, I'm back!!! 

Thanks to everyone that offered me support and well-wishes when I was suffering and recovering from my hand injury.  I'm still battling my ear infection and deafness and hopefully I'll be able to get back to 100% soon with that too.  *hugs*
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