The Bowler's Blog: Bowling the Open Championships
Bowling the USBC Open Championships is one of the most valuable benefits we get as a USBC sanctioned bowler. What's amazing to me is that if you look at the membership numbers, less than 1% of our sanctioned bowlers take advantage of this opportunity. There's a huge list of things that make the Open Championships (OC) a special event. But here's my top 5 list of why I love bowling the event, and why it's special to me personally.
1) The OC is our national championship
It's indisputable, the USBC OC is our national championship in the sport of bowling. State tournaments are nice and local tournaments are what they are, but the OC is the trophy every top bowler wants to win. It's the only tournament where a winner can undeniably say they were better prepared, executed at a higher level, and caught some breaks at the right time over the rest of the field. A lot of bowlers out there don't really understand the importance and prestige associated with winning the OC. Take one trip to the OC or the USBC Hall of Fame induction ceremony and it will set in very quickly.
2) USBC plays the national anthem before each team squad
As someone who highly respects every time our national anthem is played, I do believe it's of particular importance at our national championship. With the tournament regularly held at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, or convention center type venues, we always have huge spaces with high ceilings. Of course, the volume is typically cranked up high during the anthem as well. I'm not a professional athlete who has that experience on a daily basis. There's something about that national anthem playing before I go to compete that gives me goosebumps. I'm just really glad they play it before the ten minutes of practice, and not after.
3) USBC makes announcements for "celebrities"
Sit through one of the on-lane announcements for "celebrities," particularly in an accomplished group, and you'll understand what kind of players you're in company with. It's pretty awesome hearing the accomplishments of not only my teammates, but of all of the other bowlers on our squad every year. One of my favorites is the anniversary announcements, as USBC commemorates the tenure of bowlers that have reached milestone years at the OC. This year our squad had over a dozen competitors who have competed in consecutive years at the event longer than I've been alive (39 years).
4) The OC is held at places I can't regularly bowl at
There's something special about walking in to a venue to compete at a place that I not only can't regularly bowl in, but others can't as well. It adds mystery, intrigue, and integrity all at the same time. I think it's one of the reasons that our OC draws the bowlers that it does. The high ceilings, the new cities, and new lane installs. All of these and more are draws for me to bowl the event continuously.
5) I get to bowl with my friends, competitors, and champions
I have the privilege of bowling in the Lodge Lanes group, currently consisting of 5 different champions, 11 total titles, former USBC Amateur Champions, Team USA members, and several Open Championships honor score participants. While we feel like we have great teams to give the Eagle a run every year, we get to bowl as great friends. Every year we bowl, we lay it on the line. We beat ourselves up over the shots we didn't make, and we celebrate the important ones we did. But most important, we walk on the lanes as teammates, and we walk off the lanes as great friends. I can't imagine bowling the OC any other way.
If you haven't bowled the Open Championships to date, it's not too late to enter for 2017. This upcoming tournament will be special as well, with the OC being held for the first time at the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas, NV. You can become a team captain, or get a group together and register through the 2017 USBC Open Championships homepage (http://bowl.com/Open_Championships/Open_Championships_Home/Information/). I hope to see you there!