$250,000 Shootout Jitters
Posted by hyperpat on May 4, 2007
Well, I’m back from Vegas, and for a change I return somewhat richer than when I left.
We began the bowling shootout bright and early Wednesday morning, and were allowed 20 minutes of warmup practice – but even that generous number wasn’t enough, as the lanes were just what I feared, very heavy oil, though not down quite as far as they could be – appeared to be something like 39 feet. This meant that it was possible to get the ball to ‘break’, though not a large amount, something like 6-7 boards for anything other than the power bowlers. This, while difficult, was not an impossible condition, and I managed to throw a least a couple of balls that got it right, with good results.
But my main enemy was not the lanes, but myself. I found I was incredibly nervous for this thing; my legs were actually trembling in the first match, and my approach timing was off. So for much of the tournament I watched helplessly as the ball would drift high, then light, and then (once or twice) completely off line. Still, I did manage to win the first round, even though I shot only two strikes in that game – but they were at exactly the right time, the first one allowing me to gather up the points available for the 7th and 8th frames, and the second to capture the 10th, giving me enough points to win the round and collect $500.
The second round was played an hour and a half later, and while for this one I wasn’t as nervous, lane conditions had changed quite a bit, with a lot of carry-down oil from the prior matches, and I spent the entire match trying to find the ‘line’. I had two strikes in this one also (compared to my normal 5-6/game), but this time they weren’t in the right places, and I was eliminated.
I don’t know the results of the final round against Pete Weber and Chris Barnes, as my return plane’s departure time would have made it difficult to go and see the match and still make the plane. Of course, if I’d made the finals, I wouldn’t have had any problem, if necessary booking another flight. But when my wife and I actually got on the plane, after a fifteen minute delay while they had ‘maintenance come and look at the plane’, we found ourselves sitting on the tarmac for what seemed an inordinate amount of time. Then the captain announced that there was something wrong with the parking brakes on the plane, and we would be returning to the terminal. Another hour and half went by while they fixed whatever the problem was, and we finally got on our way, arriving only two and half hours later than expected. But if I known that things would be delayed like this, we could have gone and watched that final round.
Still, a lot of fun, and some cash in hand. Not bad.