I went and played in the Santa Clara County Masters bowling tournament about a week ago. I entered it without too much in the way of expectations, but more as a way of finding out just where I stand competitively – i.e., can I really play with the big boys?
The answer is a qualified yes. For the the five rounds of qualifying, I averaged 210.6, or, as is the more common way of stating results for things like this, I ended with a +53 (sum of the total number of pins above the 200 level for each game). And it would have been about 35 pins better than this without two really bad breaks (a 7-10 and an 8-10 on good pocket hits) and one bucket spare that I missed by a cat’s whisker. This was not a bad result.
However, my place standing in this group was only 25th out of 33 participants. I beat the last place person by almost a 100 pins, and I was within 50 pins of 15th place, but missed the qualifying level by 150 pins, as the average amongst those who qualified for the next round of this tournament was 240+. When I did a check on all the people who played, I found six current or former PBA members, and of the rest, every single one of them had posted averages higher than my current league average. And several of them were regulars at the bowling house where this tournament was held, and were thus already familiar with the prevailing lane conditions. So I exceeded expectations based on posted averages, but it’s also obvious that I still need to to improve at least another ten pins in average to really stand a chance of winning something like this.
So I think I got my money’s worth from my entry fee for this, as now I have a much better idea of how I stack up against this crowd.