Monday, July 20, 2009

USA wins Bronze in Team Event

To try and give some perspective on the different days of the bowling competition, I’ve been explaining it by comparing our events to Track and Field:

Singles and Doubles are like a sprint – they are fast-paced (only four people on a pair of lanes), it’s easy to fall behind quickly, and difficult (but certainly not impossible) to make up ground over the six games.

Trios is like a mile – you know you don’t have a long time to make to the front of the pack, and things can change a lot more quickly than in a sprint; you want to set a good pace from the beginning and be ready to go strong in the final games.

Five-Man Team is like a marathon – it’s about pace and strategy. Yes, we all bowl our games and sometimes there is only so much you can do about an individual score on the board. But with 30 games counting toward the team total, there is a lot of “jockeying” for position. It’s easy to run away with the title but there are always people nipping at your heels.

Today was our Team Event. When you add in the actual bowling time, practice before each session, lunch, and seven different medal ceremonies, we were at the bowling center for nearly 12 hours. Most sports, a game lasts 1.5-2 hours, then it’s shower time. By the time our day at the bowling center was over, we just wanted to go to the Square and have schwarma dinner at around 10 p.m.

The day itself was very intense. After two games, we led Mexico and Israel, and fell to second going into the break. Unfortunately, we opened the afternoon block with an 834 and essentially locked ourselves into third as Mexico and Israel continued to put up strong games. Entering the final game, we were 120 out of first and 70 out of second but we just didn’t make up the pins. Israel took gold and Mexico silver.

As a team, we’ve never bowled together in this circumstance before; we literally came together on July 2 at JFK and began our journey. At some point before coming to Israel, all the other countries had the chance to compete against and with each other; that is a credit to the Maccabi organizations in each of those countries. To do better, we need to rethink how we approach our selection and training process. It’s a goal for the future.

Tomorrow is our final day of competition, the Masters. It will be a best-of-three single-elimination. I finished in ninth overall, two pins out of receiving a first-round bye; I’ll face Simon Korosi in the first round. Jim, Uri, and Bobby also made the Masters and will be giving it our best shot to bring home some more hardware.

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