Thursday, January 29, 2009

5 Days Until High Roller

I can't believe it's almost time to take my shot at the High Roller. I am getting seriously pumped up about it. This is even worse than right before we bowl at Nationals each year. I want to leave now just so I'm there. I have totally caught the bowling bug, 'cause now I even have bowling dreams. You should see how awesome I am in that footage. Smooth as glass. I think a woman even threw her bra at me after one shot, then the dream took a different turn....anyways. If my wife is reading this, "Just kidding, dear." Not really. It was awesome.

I met Keith at AMF Lewisville yesterday afternoon for practice. Not to practice meeting him, but for bowling practice. I've already met him several times, so I'm really good at that. If that was the tournament format, I would beat the crap out of everybody. OK, let me steer back on course. Sorry for the mental detour. There's no highway in my head, just a bunch of stoplights with turns in several directions.
So we practiced for about an hour. School had been cancelled for the day so there had been kids bowling open play all afternoon. That equals hook spots in the heads and not much oil overall. So instead of lining up for strikes, I focused more on playing a few different lines and hitting my target. I didn't strike much but it didn't matter because it also gave me several different spare attempts. I lined up in a specific area and threw my 4 different balls at the same line to see how each of them reacted. When bowling in a short-format tournament you have to be able to make moves/ball changes immediately, so knowing how all of your equipment reacts is extremely vital. There is no time to make small moves and take guesses.
I missed a few spares again. I need to fine-tune my shoulders being square at my target. I seem to get a little lazy from time-to-time. I know it's all a matter of focus, and I will not have any problems with that during tournament time, so it's more of a mental check I need to include before shooting any spares.
Keith threw the ball well. He has been doing that for a while now. If he can keep a high level of mental confidence in his spare game, I have a feeling that he will do well next week. His biggest weakness is getting frustrated too easily while trying to achieve perfection. He's not a big fan of watching some no-talent hack shoot decent scores while he is struggling. While it can be amusing during league sometimes watching him turn darker shades of purple while he watches someone throw it all over and still manage to string strikes, there is no place for that during tournament time. He knows that, and I know he knows that, so we should be good. Maybe it's good thing that I can barely pay attention to my own game. I rarely watch anyone else bowl. Mainly I am staring off into space thinking about what I just did and what I'm about to do. It's amazing how much concentration I have betweeen shots, and I have such problems staying focused while I'm on the approach. I guess it could be worse...I could be righthanded.

One last thing, I found out yesterday that there will be no showdown between Keith and me in the Finals. The format does not work that way. There are three divisions for qualifying; age 49 & under, age 50 & over, and 215 & under average. Keith and I are both qualifying in the 215 & under average division. That means that we can both advance to the Grand Finals on Saturday, but the format changes to single-elimination match play in each division. There will be a total of 96 people who make the Grand Finals, which I assume to mean 32 from each division. If that is correct, then it will take 5 consecutive wins to reach the final round, which isn't that bad. Then the winner of each of these three divisions will bowl one final game, and 1st-3rd will be determined by that game. So that means the best Keith and I can do is bowl each other to see which one advances to the final game. Still not a bad situation to be in, but the other way would be a better story.
Another practice round on Friday. I will try to post again Friday night to keep my ever-growing fan club riveted to the computer screen. Being delusional isn't so bad, is it?

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