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Bowling News USA - August 7, 2014 The Junior Gold Experience 5-Day Diary!

by IAB Kid Bowler Natalie Savant In From The Blog • Kid Bowler • Spotlight



Junior Gold 2014 was the best one yet because it was my first year to bowl it! This was the very first year that they had a U12 division for younger kids like me to bowl in. There were around 85 girls that bowling in my division (over 2,500 bowlers in the whole tournament). There were bowlers everywhere we went in the city! The restaurants, the hotels, the gas stations! Bowlers, bowlers, everywhere! It was so cool to see all the bowling jerseys everywhere we stopped.

I should tell you first that my bowling balls decided they needed a mini-vacation and for about 12 hours we didn’t know where they were or if they were even going to make it to Buffalo. My mom was kind of freaking out! We were helped out by the Columbia 300 people so that I would at least have one ball just in case mine stayed wherever they were. Mommy and daddy bought me new shoes too. After lots of phone calls mommy found out that my balls were in Orlando. I guess they wanted to go back to Bowl Expo or Disney world. They finally got to Buffalo the next day in time for me to start the Junior Gold fun!

Day 1: My first day started with a trip to Rochester in the morning to bowl the DV8 Shootout tournament and then back to Buffalo for registration. Let me tell you that room was a hot mess! There were probably about 300 people in this room. I had to go through a line that was just for kids (no mommy or daddy with me – awesome!). When I got to the front of the line to the USBC representative, she said “Well, I don’t need to see your ID, I know exactly who you are Natalie!” I thought that was really cool! After you register you can walk around and see the booths and talk to the pros and take pictures. I went to the Columbia 300 booth and waited in line to see Josh (Blanchard) and when I finally got to the front of the really crowded long line the next couple in line wanted to take pictures with ME before the pros! That felt amazing! There were also booths from Turbo, Vise, High 5, and Team USA. It was really neat in there!

After we walked around and talked to the Pros and shopped in the Junior Gold store, we went across the hall to the room with the college booths and coaches in it. I saw Mr. Bryan (O’Keefe) and Mr. Del (Warren). The room was full of booths from colleges that have bowling teams! There are a lot to choose from! We had to leave pretty fast because I had a practice session to get to!

We got to Classic Bowling Center for my practice session. I had one hour to practice on the medium pattern, and we were able to move around from lane to lane. I thought that was pretty neat because I got to meet a lot of new people. I noticed REALLY fast that there were a lot of REALLY good bowlers in the U12 division and I got kind of intimidated and thought there was no way I was going to be as good as some of them. I remembered something that Miss Kelly (Kulick) said to me at the US Open “My only opponent is the pins.” That helped me not to really worry about how awesome everyone else looked when they were bowling and just to focus on how I was doing and make sure I was making the best shots I could make. It was a really hard shot and so not all of my shots were the best ones I could make, but I made them anyway . I’m glad they have practice sessions so we know what to expect when we get there. It was a really long day.

Day 2 – NIAGARA FALLS…… oh yeah and two practice sessions, I almost forgot about those. Niagara Falls was absolutely, positively, way beyond awesome. We were very careful not to drop our phones over the edge when we were taking pictures! After some sight-seeing we went to my first practice session for the day at Tonawanda Lanes for my practice on the short oil pattern. This is a tough shot for me because I throw the ball really slow (I’m working on that this summer) and the ball hooks a lot if I miss my mark at all! There was a lot of striking by some of the girls around me. It was so neat to see people my age and just a little bit older throwing the ball so good! I told mom “I have 2 more years in this division and when I’m 12 I hope there are some 10 year olds that think I’m as awesome as I think these girls are!” Next we were off to Lancaster for long oil practice. I did really well at this practice session and I was thinking that was going to be my worst shot! There were a few people who came to meet me at this practice and take pictures. I got to see lots of friends that I had met along the way on my trips! After all of these practice sessions I knew I was ready to try my hardest for the next 3 days during the actual tournament competition!


Days 3-5 – It’s all fun and games until the National Anthem plays. Well, actually, it’s pretty much fun and games then too but there is a lot more concentration after that! Everyone started filing in to watch the fight to the top. I bowled in order from long, medium and then short and I did pretty good for me. My average is only 115 and I averaged 112 for my 12 games of competition! My 12th and final game was my highest score for the tournament – 142! What an awesome way to finish!

Now, do you remember when I said there were some really good bowlers in my division? Well one of them shot 298!!!! I was done with my game and I heard the cheering so I ran down to watch her 10th frame. She threw 2 really awesome balls and then she must have been a little nervous (I would have been SUPER nervous) because she tugged the ball a little bit and only got 8. Her mom ran down and hugged her and then we all tried to give her a high 5 or shake her hand but she HUGGED all of us!!!!! Her name was Amari and she was very nice and a great bowler! I also got to bowl with Maddison Bailey who ended up winning my division. She is 12 years old and throws the ball really good! She averaged 184 for the 12 games. It took an average of 156 to make the cut in the U12 girls division. So, by my next Junior Gold am hoping that I will be able to get a lot closer to the cut! In all, Junior Gold was really fun and I can’t wait until next year in Chicago (Coach Diandra’s town- YAY)! She will love it when more than 2,000 youth bowlers invade her city!

Until next time, I hope you have less dashes and more slashes, from the IAB Kid Bowler!

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August, 2014