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The Right Approach...Views on the world of bowling.

Volume 2, Issue 44, The 96th Edition
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez

      It's already warming up at home in Southern California, so where do I decide to spend a few days this summer? Why naturally, Phoenix, Arizona, where the nighttime temperatures still boast three digits. The US Open is being contested in the Southwest this year, which is within my go-to travel distance. The last couple of years the Open has been in Connecticut, and needless to say, that's a bit longer of a haul to merely drop in as a fan.

      The US Open is a die-hard bowling fan's dream tournament. With 180 men and 140some women competing, it was hard not to find someone in each squad to get excited about. Qualifying was broken into three squads, with men and women alternating each pair. It worked out to where five men would be competing on lanes one and two and four women would be on three and four. Chris-Town Lanes is a 48-lane center, so qualifying squads began at 9 am and didn't finish until after 11 PM each night. Even being the bowling fanatic I am, I had to take a break at some point each day and head back to the hotel room for sustenance and a catnap to recharge my batteries.

      When competition began, I realized why the PBA and the PWBA players all consider the US Open a "major." Not only are the touring professionals fully represented, but the ranks of PBA and PWBA regional programs, Team USA, and international bowlers complement the field. Amateurs who "win a spot" round out the field, and in the case where not all the spots are filled, some bowlers were able to buy in. The men's side was full at 180 bowlers, but it appears there was some room on the women's side.

      Despite which arena they're used to bowling, no one who makes the grade here got "lucky." The shot was difficult even by PBA and PWBA standards, and by all accounts it should be. People who shined for one round still had to face two more rounds at a different times of the day. The US Open is part of both tours' Triple Crown, and the title and $35,000 first place payday are not taken lightly.

      Not surprisingly, after qualifying, the ranks of pros and "professional amateurs" left the house amateurs in the dust. The next time someone says they can compete with the best because they can shoot a zip code on their home shot, I'll point them to the standings after the third round where, sure, an even two hundred average made the first cut of qualifying, but there were plenty of folks who were -500, -600, -700 and more for 18 games.

      Some folks suggested I try bowling the Open one year for the experience, because until I bowl it, I will have no idea how I would rate. And to that I say, no thanks. If I want to donate to the sport, there are easier ways to support it. Don't get me wrong, I have respect for everyone who laced up to compete, but I'm sure the folks who bowled for the experience have a healthy new respect for the athletes who do this every week for a living. And I know I'd be one of the people looking to avoid being minus to four digits.

      I couldn't stay for the entire week, but I've heard the US Open is returning next year to Phoenix. It was so hard to leave when the competition was just heating up. With a little more planning maybe I can stay longer and work on my avocation--bowling booster.

Gotta Split,


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