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