Volume 3, Issue 11, The 115th Edition
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez
One of the main focuses of my local women's bowling association is the Bowler's to Veterans Link charity. I've talked about the organization before, but for more information, please visit www.bowlforveterans.org.
I'll admit, I'm not much of a fundraiser. Asking people for money isn't my thing. If someone says no, I can't hound them, and I will be the first person to respect someone's privacy--especially while they are bowling leagues. So in November, when our directors are asking for help collecting money from every bowler, I cringe. Luckily there's a second part to our BVL participation, and it's a fundraising tournament. Now, ask me to recruit a few folks to bowl a tournament squad, and you're suddenly speaking my language.
The BVL tournament in my association is held in mid-January, and this year happened to be held at the center where I've recently become the junior coordinator. With entry flyers in hand, I started talking to the junior coaches and some of the adults who bowl with non-related juniors in the Adult/Junior league, since the first squad would be within an hour of junior leagues finishing up on a Saturday morning. Anyone who already donates their time for youth bowling will be more apt to listen to a pitch to donate some money to bowl a tournament. Mind you, there's only a nominal prize fund, but that's not why anyone bowls it. It's to support the veterans in the VA hospitals.
It's a pretty complex setup for people who aren't familiar with the tournament. The $18 entry fee is for two distinct divisions. Each bowler bowls in various scratch divisions where winners go on to the state level to represent their association. The state BVL tournament is held in conjunction with the California WBA state tournament in whatever association that happens to be. Then there's a handicap division that does just a little bit better than return the entry fee to the winners. The averages involved between the scratch and handicap divisions don't exactly line up, so winners in scratch might not win the handicap event, and vice versa.
By the day of the event, we had amassed a pair and a half of bowlers. Some of the kids stuck around to watch, which made the afternoon all the more interesting. It's one thing to tell the kids how to bowl week in, week out, and supporting them while they bowl their tournaments, but it's another thing to have them watching their coaches bowl a tournament.
For years, my husband has bowled the local BVL tournament. And for years, he's come up less than a mark short. If he shot 711, someone else would shoot 716, and he wouldn't advance. This year, however, he shot 721, and judging from other scores that squad, he was looking really good. Ironically, I finished with a 663. For a 180 bowler, that was decent, but with one more day of the tournament in a different center across town, there was no way to know how we had done. I wanted to be excited, because as a rule, Mario and I never bowl well together, and it would be an honor to represent our association as the Classic Division winners.
When the tournament was over, and the scores and averages verified, not only did Mario finally win his division, so did I. Somehow, husband and wife are going to represent the same association. And two other friends won their divisions. When I told them their scratch scores qualified them for a trip to Bakersfield for the state tournament, they were both surprised and shocked. I had the desk person made a big deal of the presentation of the plaques and announce the winners during the Adult/Junior league that Sunday night so that the kids and parents would know about the tournament and their coaches.
We're looking forward to early May now, as an opportunity to represent the San Fernando Valley, as well as bowling on the state level. I've never done it before, so that alone should make it a great experience. And with four of us going, we'll have our own rooting section.