Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Trip to Reno

Last weekend we headed off to Reno for the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Open Championships (Nationals). We were there with my normal Tuesday night league team, Team Fugly. The trip was definitely a lot of fun, and here's a little recap of how it went.

This is the first time I've been to Reno as an adult, so I was looking forward to it. We left early Saturday morning to head to Reno. We left around 6 in the morning, with the goal of making it by noon. We had checked ahead, and it turned out that the Fresno State Softball team had a double header against Reno that Saturday. Since we are all alumni of Fresno State, and all of the bowlers were on the Fresno State Bowling Team together at some point, we decided to get tickets to the games. It was a really pretty afternoon, just a few clouds in the sky, and really comfy. Fresno State won the first game, and lost the second, but we all had a great time. I guess the big downside was that most people got a little sunburned since we were stuck out in the sun.

After the game we headed over to the Silver Legacy to check in. We got checked in and showered and cleaned up, then headed downstairs to meet up with the team. Now this part of the story needs a little explaining. Our bowling team has a little tradition. When we're bowling, if you miss a spare, or if everyone except you strikes, then you owe a quarter into our pot. In the past, we used the money to go to dinner, or just divided it up and used it to pay for bowling. This time, we had about 2 years worth, and it added up to around $130. We decided to put it all onto one hand of blackjack. So Josh sat down to play, we all watched in anticipation...and he won! So we doubled up our money, and used it to pay for a nice dinner for all of us at the international buffet.

After dinner, Erin and I wandered around a little bit, playing some slots (since I'd already tried some blackjack with the team, and quickly lost what I had). We didn't last long, maybe until around 10. That's about when it hit me that I'd been up since super early and driven half the day. So we headed to the room and crashed for the night.

Sunday started nicely. We got up and met everyone at the cafe in the hotel for a nice breakfast. Honestly, had to be the best Steak and Eggs I've ever had. After breakfast and a little bit of time relaxing back at the room, it was time to head to the National Bowling Stadium to get ready for our team event. Fortunately, it was only about a block away, so we just packed up and walked over to the stadium. Once we were all checked in, it was time to bowl. I was really looking forward to this. I had recently picked up some new equipment, and had been bowling my best in at least a year. It didn't take long to learn that this wasn't going to hold up, however. I managed to post the lowest series I've shot in years. I honestly cannot remember the last time I bowled so bad. The most frustrating part was that I was missing simple spares. Ten pins, 6-10's, things that shouldn't matter where I am, I should be picking it up. Josh put it a great way though. His theory was that you get thrown off by the shot on your strike shot, so you start trying to force things, which just messes you up.

I could blame it on other things. Finding out on the Friday before we left that my ball was illegal and having to make a modification to it, which changed how it rolled. I could blame it on the new drill I had on my spare ball, which left me feeling a little uncomfortable with my shot. But in the end, I just did far below what I know I'm capable of, and now I'm just that much more determined to do better next time.

After bowling, we made our way back to the hotel to get cleaned up. We met up at a restaurant in the hotel next door, and used the rest of our funds from the previously mentioned blackjack hand to pay for everyone's dinner. After dinner, we sat down at another blackjack table, and I ended up there for a few hours. Things were going well, and I was able to cash out ahead before heading back to the room.

Things did not go any better on the bowling front on Monday. Monday we were set to bowl at 7 AM, so we had to be there at 6 AM. I set the hotel alarm for 4:30. At some point I knew it had to be getting close, so I rolled over and saw that it was 6:59. WTF? Somehow I had managed to not turn on the alarm. Great. I quickly jumped up, changed, splashed some water in my hair and brushed my teeth. As a habit, I had my cell phone off, so I grabbed it and saw 5 missed calls, several text messages and a voicemail. As I ran out the door, I found out that Andrew had grabbed my bowling equipment out of my car and brought it in. As I got to the top of the stairs at the bowling alley at 7:10, I was thinking I might have made it in time to get in before practice had ended. I guess my clock was a little different than the center's, as everyone was nearing the end of game 1. I managed to find my team on the fist pair of lanes, and got in for the rest of the day. Another relatively dismal showing. The last couple of games, I did manage to bowl near my average, and scored at least as well as I knew I could, even on the difficult conditions.

We finished up, got checked out of the hotel, and headed back to Fresno.

Wrap Up
Overall, this trip was a lot of fun. I got to spend time with people I like and enjoyed myself. I bowled terrible, but this was my first trip to Nationals, and I'm determined to do better next time. I know I can.
The trip ended up being very cheap. I didn't really keep track of how we did gambling, but I do know that counting food for 2 of us and sidepots while bowling, I spent about $50 on the weekend, so I know I came out ahead in the end. Credit card points paid for the hotel room, so that was no extra expense.

So that is the gist of our trip. A little fun, a little drama, but definitely worth it, and I look forward to the next time!

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