Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Competition ends, Party begins

Every Maccabiah, at the end of the competition the bowlers enjoy a fantastic party at the hotel. Since our hotel wasn’t so fantastic to begin with, I wasn’t expecting the hotel to provide very much and I wasn’t disappointed by them. There wasn’t much to eat, there wasn’t much to drink, and they were just as accommodating as they’ve been our entire trip. Thanks Galil Hotel! Even worse, they wanted us to pay for the meal! We didn’t eat dinner here, and meals are provided under our Maccabiah arrangements yet they wanted more money from us. The hotel was willing to “credit” each person with a meal ticket 40 shekels but still wanted another 100 shekels per person; the IBF was gracious to pay half the difference but there was still 50 shekels to go. None of us had any intention of paying the hotel and when they didn’t really provide anything “party-worthy”, somehow, someway, there was nothing to pay anymore. Go figure.

But before the party began, we had one last piece of business to attend to: The Masters. This is our head-to-head competition and is intensity from the beginning to end. In the first round, I faced Simon Korosi from Sweden and defeated him 2-0. We both bowled awful the first game and better the second, but all you need to do is beat your opponent and that’s what I did.

After each round, everyone is reseeded so and replaced into the bracket so that the lowest remaining seed always plays the highest remaining seed in each round. I knew that if I won, I would face David Eshkenazi of Mexico in Round Two. He and I had two very close matches that both came down to the 10th frame. I struck out in the 10th frame of the first game to force David to get the first strike, which he did not. In the second game, I needed the first strike in the 10th to win the match (though I thought I needed the double) and go the strike on a light hit. That sent me into the Round of 8 against Phil Sachs.

Unfortunately, none of my other teammates (male or female) were able to win a match so I was trying to win for me and for them. When we came back from lunch (after the women had their opening round), I just couldn’t get anything together against Phil and he continued to bowl well. After leaving two huge splits in the beginning of the first game (Greek Church and Big-4) on two shots that I threw well, I was lost and my confidence was waning. I did what I could but didn’t even manage to strike until the 10th frame of the second game. Everyone has matches like that.

But the big news was that Phil continued to go through the field, defeating Or Aviram in the semis and Isaac Amkie in the finals, to win the Masters! It’s the first time an Australian had ever made it to Gold Medal match in the Masters and while it wasn’t always pretty, Phil stayed tough and took advantage of the breaks to take the gold. We are all very happy for him (and Isaac too for bowling very well and making it to the Gold Medal match). Good on ya, mate!

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