This season, Sean Rash is blogging his life on the Denny's PBA Tour for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer website in Seattle, Wash. Follow his blog all season long on either www.seattle-pi.com or PBA.com.2008 Pepsi Championship, Omaha, Neb.
PBA Weekly Blog
By Sean Rash
Being at home and having nice weather is always a plus, especially in the beginning of February. I am home for a couple days, the last time I’m home until the first of April when the Tour season is complete.
Bowling league has been a lot of fun these past couple weeks. Monday night’s scratch league is the best league in Wichita: four games of fun, a few cocktails and talking about how Tour has been and it’s time to start packing for the next two months.
Before league, I went to a different bowling center and had Jim Tomek Jr. and Danny Wiseman also stop by to talk to two high schools while they were practicing. Thank you, Danny and Jim, for coming by and talking to the high school kids and hanging out Monday at league. The local bowlers appreciated it.
Tuesday is travel day this week. My roommate, Ryan Abel, is getting his PBA card and needs to be there to sign up and be ready for the TQR on Wednesday. On our way up, I stopped in Topeka, Kan., to a high school meet and threw out the first ball. This was pretty special to be asked to do this. I also stopped by another high school meet where my ball rep, Rick Benoit’s, sons were bowling. I heard their school is the best in Topeka where all five kids are averaging 200. It was great seeing how many kids are involved in high school bowling. I never got the opportunity in Alaska to bowl for my school. They started high school bowling the year I left for college.
Wednesday this week was going to be long for me. I stopped by and watched Ryan bowl and checked out how nice the bowling center was. It was a brand new center and it was pretty amazing.
Ryan finished 21st and got a check so not a bad start for him. Practice was interesting after seeing how high the scores were in the TQR. I knew I would need to strike a lot this week to have a chance. After practice, I had to bowl in a Pro-Am which was full of more high school kids and it was 10 games of baker. The kids all had a blast.
Happy Valentine’s Day! The morning was awesome. I bowled really well and shot 300 in game seven to get to plus-263. I used balls in the Brunswick line from Total Inferno and Vapor Zone to Twisted. I had some lunch during the break and needed to rest for a little bit. I was doing an interview with a local radio station in Las Vegas around 3:45 in the afternoon.
Well, here is the bad news for the week. My girlfriend, Sara, goes to school at Northern Illinois University. For all of you that don’t know, there was a school shooting, killing five, plus the gunman took his own life. I was a nervous wreck. All I got was a text message and didn’t know she was okay until right before we started our second squad. I can tell you that nothing mattered to me besides her and her safety and all of the people at NIU.
I am happy to say she is okay and her best friend as well but my heart goes out to everyone at the school. I have encountered these types of situations since I lived in Alaska. I lost my best friend in junior high due to a high school shooting years ago, I have met someone that went to Columbine High School, and I am friends with someone who went to Virginia Tech and now this. Like I said, bowling didn’t matter and my scores showed it. I was plus a few and made the cut. I went and had some dinner and went to bed. Friday was going to be a long day if I was going to make the show.
It’s Friday and I am normally excited to bowl but so far this season I haven’t bowled great in this round robin format, but I had a different mindset and was ready to go. I bowled 269-225 the first two games and moved up in the standings and was excited but after game two, it went downhill and in a hurry. I started getting 9 pins a lot then tried harder to strike since the scoring pace was so high and I started to leave splits. This, of course, hurt my scores and I started doing the free fall in the standings. I ended up finishing 31st and the day was over.
I will let you know that this season the scoring pace has been really high which you all can figure out. Plus the left-to-right issue hasn’t been fixed besides a few events. In my opinion, we can’t beat the left in the round robin format. Over the last two years, the left has run over the right. Three lefties made the top 32 this week and all three made the show. Don’t get me wrong, they are good bowlers. But, we can’t keep up. The scores prove it. That is all I will say for now. Congrats to the five who made the show. The position round was dramatic again.
The rest of the day was spent trying to catch up with e-mails and making sure Sara was doing okay. I know that she will be hurting as well as the others from NIU for a few days, if not weeks. I went back up to the bowl to hang out with my buddy, Tony Manna Jr. Tony and I bowled together on Team USA few years and he lives in Omaha. We watched the last few games and had a few drinks and ate dinner, and called it a night.
Saturday was a day to sleep in. Since Ryan didn’t make the cut, he had decided to hang around and practice and just watch. He also had his girlfriend, Jessica, up for the week to watch and take a small vacation. We didn’t do a lot until I had to bowl Pro-Am at 7 p.m. that night. Omaha is a huge bowling city and there were lots of Pro-Ams and fans all week long.
After the Pro-Am, a few of the guys who were still around and I went to the Go-Kart track and rode the carts for a few minutes. This was a blast since they turned up the speed on the carts for us. Sorry for running over your phone, Tony. I went back to the room and packed since I was leaving Sunday for Indianapolis.
Sunday was full of excitement. The show was pretty good with three lefties again and two righties – Pete Weber and Walter Ray Williams Jr. Those two aren’t too bad. If you watched the show, you saw some great athletes battling it out. Pete needed to fill 20 to beat Rhino. Well, he split and needed to make it and strike to win. If you want to know why he tried to make it instead of getting count to force Rhino to show up, we are here to win. That is all you can say. If you can win, you are going for it. Never hold anything back, plus it’s a spilt decision. If it was the U.S. Open, the story might be different.
Walter ended up bowling for the title against Mike Scroggins. Have you ever seen Walter miss a 10-pin? It doesn’t happen very often, if at all. Well, he missed it in the first frame but the game still came down to the 10th frame. Mike Scroggins needed a mark to win and he came up big with a strike and his fifth title. Congrats to Mike for his second title of the year.
After the show, I was involved in the PBA Skills Challenge. This year is definitely different where there are only eight of us and it was shooting spares instead of special trick shots. I am going to say, you’ve got to watch the show because there is a lot of great shots made, lots of laughter and entertainment.
Sunday night I flew to Chicago and stayed the night with my sweetheart since my flight was late and I couldn’t make it to Indy. The weather has been real cold all week in Omaha and it won’t be getting much better in Indy. Until then, see you in Indy…
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