Thursday, June 28, 2012

A U.S. Women's Open Finals That Will Live in Infamy?



You may not want to know who won the U.S. Women's Open last night under the blustery Reno sky. And if you don't, don't worry. I'm not going to tell you now, even though I think that if you're reading this blog, you're bound to find out soon enough whether you go looking for it or not. If you do want to know, I'm still not going to tell you here, but you can find out by clicking here.

However, I do want to say a few words about the finals in general. No, I didn't drive the 120 miles to Reno to see them, and they won't be airing on TV till next Tuesday evening (7/3, ESPN2, 8 PM Eastern). But I did the next best thing to seeing them. I followed the USBC's Lucas Wiseman's Twitter and Facebook updates, and what his terse tweets and posts made all too clear is that the championship finals of arguably the most prestigious women's bowling tournament in the world was predictably reduced by the gusty winds and swirling dust to a clownish farce.

Don't take my word for it. Here is some of Lucas Wiseman's rolling account of an unfolding bowling disaster:

It's rather windy out here, maybe sustained winds of 5-15 mph with occasional gusts. Temp is cooling off fast.

The wind is really picking up out here.

Lanes really hooking, players seem to be struggling a bit with the environment.

Both players are completely lost. Things are flying around, this is going to be a challenge.

The lanes are really hooking and you can visibly see dust and debris on the lane. Even spare balls are hooking a ton.

There's a discussion going on with the tournament director and the bowlers. Not sure what the issue is.

If I were bowling under these conditions, I would throw my spare ball at the headpin, try to make spares and shoot 180s.

She's throwing a plastic ball. Yes, plastic.

Nation makes a ball change and goes to plastic.

This is easily the strangest and most interesting TV finals I have ever seen. You won't want to miss it when it airs.

There have been 10 strikes out of 43 first-ball shots so far. And a few of those were Brooklyns.

Missy Parkin is also throwing a plastic ball. Looks like that is strategy the rest of the way for everyone.

The person who makes the most spares is going to win this title. Carry is not good with plastic.

Both players appear satisfied with just making spares at this point.

This is getting ugly. Four opens in a row between the two players.

Both players have gone with the fall back shot using plastic.

Kulick follows the double by leaving the 5-8-10. Figured we'd see one of those.


Of course, there were some who tried to minimize the ridiculousness of it all. One prominent guy in the bowling community opined that all televised finals are a "crap shoot" no matter what the conditions are. Others said that the BPAA executives who approved and planned the event had no way of knowing that the weather would be so inhospitable. And a lot of people said words to the effect that the conditions were the same for everybody and that real champions triumph over whatever challenges they face.

But one guy posted a very incisive and eloquent response, and I share that next after saying that I look forward to seeing the finals for myself and posting to this blog about it afterwards.

The bottom line is that the usbc [BPAA] is trying to cover up a problem with smoke and mirrors. Instead of fixing the problem, its "hey look, we are bowling outside, how cool is that?!" Now obviously anyone in the bowling industry knows it's not that easy, but it was allowed to get out of control. Challenging is one thing, but this has nothing to do with instincts or transition or adjustments. Sometimes things devolve into a flat out impossibility. "Oh they are pros, they should adjust." Not so much. Have you ever bowled on a dirt and debris covered lane? Dont think so. Yes everybody had to deal with it, but following a week of shotmaking, they were stuck with the biggest crap shoot in bowling history. They spent all that money on installing those lanes, when they had the national bowling stadium a few blocks away, just for THAT. Really feel bad for the competitors.

1 comment:

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