Volume 1, Issue 26
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez
During the last eighteen months, I've been a part of many bowling organizations and joined new some ones. Of all my affiliations, I have the most fun with Team Internet. Team Internet is the labor of love of Mark and Jan Curran of Encinitas, CA. Wanting to bowl in the ABC tournament in Reno in 1995, and lacking a team, Mark advertised for bowlers on an online bowling newsgroup, and Team Internet was born. It's grown every year from word of mouth and by bowlers who read about the exploits of TI in the alt.sport.bowling newsgroup and asked to join.
I only wish I could have been in Reno the first year when five members of the team were standing at the top of the escalator at the National Bowling Stadium trying to guess who the other members of their team were. Luckily, several of us have met now, and I feel lifelong friendships developing, and I find it hard to remember my bowling life before I knew these wonderful people.
As the group has grown, Jan has taken over much of the mind-boggling task of group coordination and logistics. We had barely returned from Reno and my first ABC tournament (and my first TI experience), when she and Mark suggested we return to Reno for the ABC/WIBC Mixed Championships this fall. Many of us jumped at the chance. This time, I brought my husband to join the group. I think now Mario understands this insane compulsion I feel to jump on planes and bowl all over the country. Last weekend, we tried our luck in Reno, and even before we left Southern California, there were good luck messages filling my e-mailbox from TI members inside and beyond the U.S. who could not make the tournament, but wanted to share the experience. There must be nearly 50 alumni from Team Internet, since some bowlers make one tournament, and due to commitments miss the next year.
Team Internet is such a diverse group of people, it's hard to believe that we have so much in common. Among its ranks, TI boasts doctors, engineers, editors, and the entire online volunteer staff of AOL's Grandstand Bowling area. This mixed event was dominated by West Coast bowlers, but Syracuse promises to be once again to represent many states and at least one international member.
The check-in line had the feeling of a family reunion. Greetings, handshakes, and hugs were amply doled out. New members were quickly brought into the fold, while others caught up with each other. One entire team was bowling that weekend injured, coaxing each other that if one could bowl lame, so could the others. Unlike many teams that fill a roster to gain a competitive advantage, many of us do it just for the community. While we waited in line, many of us traded our travel horror stories.
Soon we were bowling, some well, some not so well. During team event, several of us paced like nervous fathers-to-be while Mark, TI founder and friend, strung the front nine. We've heard the trials and tribulations of his attempts at bowling perfection, and I felt his anxiety. We congratulated his efforts even though he didn't get his "trey bomb," but we know he is due, and he is probably "saving himself" for the larger glory during the Syracuse event next March.
After team event many of us were returning to the hotels, when what is now referred to the TI Ice Cream Social, was born. Since we hadn't had a time for a pre-bowling bash, we found ourselves at midnight eating ice cream at several tables hastily pushed together for the occasion. The fact that it was cold enough to snow had no bearing on our appetites, we were basking in the glow of communion.
I can't say I bowled well, in fact the scores all blur together (it's the bowling equivalent of selective memory). Unfortunately, I had the same luck at the machines as I did on the lanes, but I'm not much of a gambler anyway. Give me a few nickels, and great coffee, and I'm happy. We had more fun sticking our money in the 10' duckpin lane in several of the arcades. Bragging rights will be on the line if we can find one in Syracuse for a rematch. I actually did better there than I did in the stadium. I think it was the little comments the game offered like, "Go for the head pin." In my family, only my son had any luck, so maybe we should have stuck to the Circus Circus midway games.
Monday morning came and we were jetting back to Southern California. A four-day holiday is hardly enough time to catch up with friends, but for now it will have to do. After all, Syracuse is only 100 days or so away.