Thursday, April 21, 2011

Second Thoughts About the USBC Open Championships

"Where else can you finish in 15000th place and get a check?"
--Steve Potocny

I wrote yesterday about how I'd never bowled a USBC Open and probably never would because I didn't think I was good enough to spend my money and successfully compete against the superior bowlers and monster scores populating that tournament.

Well, an old acquaintance of mine posted a comment in reply to my entry that I'd like to share with you because I think it makes some eloquent and thoughtful points:

I'm surprised to hear that you have never bowled the event, considering how much of a supporter of bowling that you are.

This was my 16th visit - the last dozen or so consecutive - and I look forward to continuing this for years to come.

There are always really high scores rolled, but many more low scores. I have contributed too many of the low ones, and only one game of which I am proud - a 287 in 2009. Note that the three basic events pay (I think) one place in 3.5 entries, so despite the 850s sometimes bowled the cash lines are normally around 570 in singles, 1125 in doubles and 2700 in team. Where else can you finish in 15000th place and get a check?

The lanes can be challenging, but I have found that every few years you will hit a pair which has a good shot. It usually depends on who bowled on the pair before you. It happened to me again this year in singles - I probably had 3-4 boards at my target area. I was disappointed that I only managed 627, although my doubles partner rolled a 680.

I think the USBC does a good job running the event. I enjoy browsing the shops and it has allowed me to visit some places that I would otherwise probably never see (Billings, Baton Rouge and Louisville come to mind). I recommend that any real fan of the game get together with some friends of similar sentiment and participate some day. Even if your scores are not quite up to your THS norm, I suspect you will enjoy the experience.

Steve Potocny

I must admit that after reading this comment, I'm having second thoughts about my decision not to bowl the Open. I'm still not going to bowl it this year, and I don't think I'd ever be willing to travel farther than Reno to bowl it. However, I now feel more determined to improve my game so that if the Open returns to Reno within the next few years, maybe I'll feel confident enough to compete in the tournament and see how I do.

In the meantime, I may mosey on over to Reno sometime this spring to check out the action and get a sense of the tournament that one can't get from merely reading about it or watching live streaming of it on the Internet. Perhaps I'll see you there.

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