Saturday, September 8, 2007

Another Winner

Kobi couldn't let his big sister hog all the spotlights. In a recent Western Regional PBA Tournament he captured the Boy's Division Placque by shooting a 714 series. Everyone - and that's everyone - who watched him bowl recognized his natural ability and predicted that if he keeps it up, he will be a star in the future.

Here he is with Andrew Cain, a rising star on the PBA National Tour.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Jeff Lewis Subs For Us In States

Aloha: I had not seen Jeff Lewis for about two years, since the days he and I were being looked at to serve on the Board of Directors of our amateur tournament bowling club. I didn't know exactly what happened to him but I was asked to serve on the BOD and the next thing I knew, Jeff had gone into the hospital with a very serious disease. He had to have all his limbs amputated to save his life. I saw him several months ago when he briefly showed up at one of our tournaments and in talking with him, he said he was just about ready to make a comeback to bowling. I wished him luck and felt that with his positive attitude, he would be back sooner than any of us would believe.
Well, this past weekend, I bowled in the state tournament and through a snafu, one of our teammates wasn't going to be able to bowl. I immediately went to the front desk to ask them if there was anyone on the sub list and there was Jeff standing at the desk. I said Hi to Jeff and was talking to him when one of the tournament officials said, "well, here's Jeff who's been waiting for a chance to sub." I knew fate had something to do with it and did not hesitate to let him sub for us. To make a long story short, Jeff had an entering average of 100 and bowled way above his average - I believe his series was close to or over 400. Jeff is sure an inspiration. Please visit his website: to read his amazing story.

Monday, April 23, 2007

It Was An Exciting Tournament

I ended up in 7th place out of a qualifying field estimated to be more than 165 entries. I lost in the semifinal match play 209 - 199. We were told by the house that they had put down the PBA shot called, "Cheetah". There were many complaints and discussions, however, most of us took it in stride and merely had to make our adjustments (and of course, getting the right ball with the right reaction). Being a line bowler, I never had a chance with any inside lines so I ended up on the 2-board , with more speed than normal for me, and pointing the ball in - can't try to loop it from that angle because it was immediate gutter ball.

Where the majority of people (including 'watashi' - me, in Japanese) messed up was the spare shooting. Many people shooting 180 and 190 games with two or three opens as well as 200 or 210 - with one or two opens. Remember these tournaments are handicapped based on 80% of 210. According to the statistics, in order to make the quarterfinals, the "A" Division (200 and above averages) it took a +8 (608 series) and the "B" Division (199 and below average) it took a +19 (619 series).

It was pretty balanced and the quarter finals included 10 women and an equal number of 60+ Seniors out of the 40 total who made it that far. Three women made it to the first semifinal cut and one of them advanced to the top six.

Great turnout, wonderful venue, and terrific competition!

Friday, March 23, 2007

1964 to 1966 Hilo High School Vikings

So here we go with the Alma Mater:

Beneath the tropic skies of Hilo
Stands dear old Hilo High School
Dearer ever shall it grow
With the spirit of Blue and Gold
In our hearts we hold thee
Alma Mater mine,
Loyalty and Honor shall
Forever be thine!

T-E-A-M, yay, Team,
T-E-A-M, yay, Team.

These were the years when my bowling really came into being. Brother Glenn was the toughest bowler around, I started to pick up really good tips and my averaged jumped from 133 to 166 in one season. then into the 170's. then the 190's. As well, the Junior Bowling Club of Hilo flourished under the auspices of Head Coach Bob Kurihara. We traveled to other parts of the state with home-and-home challenges, entered different kinds of bowling tournaments and competitions, and practiced and bowled practically every single day.

Under Mr. Kurihara, our club had a state champion in every year beginning from 1961 and culminated in 1966 with a "clean sweep" when all three divisions - Boy's Scratch, Boy's Handicap, and Girl's Handicap - was won by a Junior Bowling Club of Hilo member. 1961 through 1965 were Matt Kahapea, Wayne Hayashi, Lorna Okuna, Estelle Jinbo, Annette Fujii, Dennis Lee, and brother Glenn. In 1966, Ben Kobata, Joanne Fujiwara, brother Eric, and myself won. Coming from the "hick town" of Hilo rather than the large metropolis of Honolulu and island of Oahu, it was a really satisfying accomplishment for Bob Kurihara.

One thing I remember the most about the bowling club is how we did so many things as though we were a family. Camping, picnics, tournaments, fund raisers like selling animal crackers and washing cars - we all worked together helping each other out. No one shirked away responsibilities. We all chipped in whatever way we could as Ohana and this was a very big contributing factor as to why we gained respect from the adults. We were always respectful, doing things to help others, and having a good time bowling.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Practice Bowling & Sport Shot League

Last night's bowling practice was a terrific one. I bowled 8 games without getting winded or having my back hurt, which has been a problem since getting out of the cast and crutches in November and starting back up with my bowling in January. The exercising and bowling practice are paying off slowly. Another thing I did was gear the bowling practice toward tournament competition rather than league play. Since the two types are different, it stands to reason that the practice for each should be different also. To wit: in the 8 games, I started on the first arrow (5 board), then after three frames, moved to the second arrow (10 board), then continued this until I was as deep inside as I was able to which was the second arrow from the left side gutter (30 board). I then went back, every three frames, five boards at a time till I was back at the 5 board again.
I played "scenario games" with myself such as, "okay, everything left of the center dot on the approach is water soaked so you're going to have to finish the next few frames playing the second arrow. I therefore, had to play with my hand positions, ball speed, approach speed and whatever I could think of to get the ball to the 17 board in the 1 - 3 pin pocket. Overall, it was very satisfying and had me moving all over the approach, the lane, and moving my hand position and adjusting my ball speed all through the practice session. These are tournament conditions because, unlike league where you might be able to work with basically the same conditions every week, the tournaments take us to a different bowling alley each week and therefore, different oil patterns, scenarios, and so forth.
I finalized the Sport Shot League I am helping to form for the summer and we will begin advertising and signing up people for it. It should be a fun time since we will be bowling under tougher conditions than the regular, high-scoring, house shots. Keep you posted on this one. My goal is to average at least 190 for this league. It will help me learn and study oil patterns and ball reactions. I'm wound up for it.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Buffalo (NY) Here She Comes?

Our champion bowler continues her march for titles. At the Pepsi Junior Bowler qualifying tournament, Mikela had games of 141 - 118 - 139 for a 399 series. With her average at 111, she had 240 handicap giving her a series of 638. The final results will not be known until later this week; but, she has a good chance to qualify for the Nationals that are to be held in Buffalo, NY in July. Notification letters are supposed to be sent to all qualifiers by Tuesday so we'll know by Thursday.

BTW, got myself a new ball from Visionary Bowling Products, a new company. My favorite ball driller, Sonny Eubanks at Glenfair Lanes, recommended it to me and I took his word for it. The ball is drilled to not hook as much as my Doom Hammer and it came in handy at Squaw Peak Lanes this past weekend in the 5-gamer. Because of Mikela's tournament, I did not plan to bowl until the last aquad so you can imagine that the lanes were pretty dry. I took the VBP "Ogre" and moved inside to the 17 board, tucked my hand under and had about a two or three o'clock hand position swinging about four boards. Shot a 1202 for the five games so I feel pretty good. Nowadays, I'm trying to adapt my game to being as flexible as possible meaning I will be using whatever ball, hand position, and inside- or outside line will work for that particular time.

Sunday, Julie and I traveled to Lake Havasu City to help with the one-day divisional tournament and as always, had an enjoyable time. The people in the "smaller" cities are so friendly and treat us special when we hold tournaments in their bowling centers. They certainly appreciate us going there to run tournaments for them.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Just Bowling Along

Since winning the Apache Lanes bowling tournament, I've been cruising along continuing to work on my game. At last week's tournament (Sunset Lanes), I wasn't concentrating too good because my tendon kept "popping" out over the ankle bone and throwing my strides off. I did not make it past the quarterfinals and ended up in 13th place. I did, however, defend my "King of the Hill" position.

During practice on Tuesday night, I discovered that if I take a 3-step approach (basically, my first step is a stutter so you could consider it a 4-step), I very rarely have my tendon slip out of place. I worked on it that night and then again, on last night (Thursday) and it seems to be going good.

This weekend's tournament is a 5-game beat-the-board. I have to help with the bowling tournament in Lake Havasu City on Sunday; but, I'll be able to go on Saturday after taking and watching Mikela at her bowling earlier in the day.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Good Bowling Week For Me

So I have been practicing 3x a week for the past three weeks and things really came together beginning last Thursday. Actually, it started Thursday morning when I found an old CD set I ordered in the summer of 2005 - Hypnosis for bowling and subliminal bowling messages.

Let me go back two years...

I ordered the Hypnosis CD in the summer of 2005 and immediately listened to it 5x and that evening, we went with friends of ours to Monte Carlo bowling. The lights are turned off and with different combinations of pins, splits, strikes, lucky number raffles, you can win a few bucks. Anyway, in the second game, I shot a 300 game - in the dark and every ball in the pocket. I continued listening to the CDs every day and my averaged climbed up to 225. Well, I didn't want to have my book average being that high so I purposely stopped listening and ended up with a 212 average.

After a few months, I lost track of where the CDs were. I thought about getting back to them every now and then; but, never listened to them again. But, as I mentioned earlier, I am trying to get back into shape again after my ankle injury of August 6, 2006 and while rummaging through some old computer stuff last Thursday, I found the CD set again.

Come back to current day ...

I carried my portable CD player around the whole afternoon and when I took a short nap, I kept it on. After waking up, I spontaneously decided it was time to get back into tournament bowling again. Because of my injury and current average being 174 on Friday nights, the tournament club rule is they will allow a re-rate based on my tournament average (202) and the highest current average (174) which gave me a re-arated average of 188. I bowled a 2-game total of 212 - 240 plus handicap for a grand total of 508 for the two games. This put me into a guaranteed spot for the quarterfinals on Sunday. This also meant that regardless of anything, I was going to get a check.

I listened to it all day on Friday. In league that night, I shot 205 - 233 - 257 for a 691 series. On Saturday, I loaded them onto my MP3 player and listend to them constantly all that day and Sunday morning. We went to the tournament location at 12 noon and while watching that squad and waiting for the quarterfinals at 2 PM, I kept listening to the recordings.

Having listened to them so many times, I kept in focus throughout the six games and ended up as the tournament champion. (I had not won a singles championship since 2004, the first year that I joined the tournament bowling club). There is also a thing called "King of the Hill" which, as the current champion, I had to bowl one game against the reigning champion and I won that so I am now the reigning king.

For whatever it's worth, I will continue to listen to the CDs. Superstitious? perhaps. But who am I to go against what had happened to me whenever I listen to the Hypnosis for bowling and the subliminal recordings?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

1960 - 1963

Hilo Intermediate School Spartans Days. Here's the Alma Mater:

Sons of the blue and white
Our hopes are met in you today
From the field of battle
Soon will come the call
To fight in array
Lift high your banner
Loyal 'er be
And when the day is done
We'll sing our song of victory!

I started to get away from all other forms of sport and concentrated on my bowling. My circle of friends changed dramatically and I spent a lot more time away from Lanakila. We were hanging around so much at the bowling alley, Hilo Lanes, that the adults there came to look at us as their sons. We did a lot of helping around with clean up and desk clerk work. We spend a lot of time practice bowling, too, because depending on who was at the front desk, we could get a lane turned on and we would just practice and practice and practice. Is it any wonder we got good? On weekends, we were always there pretty much around the clock.

It seemed as though we had no cares in the world. People just took really good care of us. We were some pretty lucky kids. It kept us out of trouble while a lot of former friends from Lanakila were out getting into trouble with the law. We were even kinda protected by the police because many of them bowled and they treated us as family. After a while, we didn't dare get into trouble because we didn't want them to lecture and bawl us out for pulling pranks, staying out after curfew, and teenager jokes. Nice people who really made an influence on my life.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Local Legend Gives Me Bowling Tips

I've been practicing my bowling to get back the rhythm. Actually, I started two weeks ago because Glenfair Lanes has some great specials. $1.43 a game on Sunday mornings from 8 AM - 12 Noon and $1.00 per game Tuesday evenings from 7 PM - Closing, and Thursday evenings from 9 PM - Closing. Tough to beat a deal like that for a guy trying to get his game back after an ankle injury.

The hardest thing to do after the one-step approach is getting my timing and rhythm back. I've been trying all kinds of approaches, hand position, pushaways, etcetera to stay in balance at the final delivery point and follow through. It was kind of frustrating because I know what I'm supposed to do; but, I couldn't execute.

As luck would have it last night, one of the local legends, Yogi Yoesting, happened to get on the lane next to me for some practice. I remember Yogi from the time I was stationed at Luke AFB and bowled the All-American Classic at Melrose Bowl, the Major Trio League at Maricopa Lanes, and the jackpot games at Thunderbird Lanes. The time period was 1975 through 1978. (Of course, it's been almost 30 years so he didn't remember me.)

We bowled in silence for some minutes when he commented, "you know, you don't have any kind of a pushaway." He gave me a hint of how to correct that problem and things started to come into play pretty well. We sat down for a while and I recounted my rememberances of him "back in the day." He still didn't remember me but did enjoy (I think) reminiscing about "the time when it took accuracy to be a great bowler."

After I got a bit more comfortable with my pushaway and the timing and rhythm was getting smoother, Yogi offered another hint that he said Earl Anthony gave him when they bowled on the same pair in the U.S. Masters Tournament. With the pushaway and the new hint, I started stringing strikes and was in balance at the finish of my delivery. This, in turn, enabled me to have my hand stay behind the ball, hit my mark and follow through which is why it became less tiring to bowl. Thanks a bunch, Yogi!

Yogi Yoesting is in the Phoenix and Arizona Bowling Halls of Fame and owns the Bowling Pro Shop inside Glenfair Lanes. Additionally, he has too many awards and honors to mention here.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Back To Bowling

Well, I am back to bowling after my ankle got injured on August 8, 2006. It still pops out once in a while, but, doesn't hurt. It's just irritating and bothersome. Started several weeks ago with a one-step approach then began taping up the right foot with sports tape to try to keep the tendon in line. Must be the way I step down or walk because it moves over the bone at least once a night. Very much okay if I keep it taped up and am not bowling.
Have started building a website about bowling where I'll be writing general articles. It's called "Choc Full O' Bowling" and is at

Thursday, February 8, 2007

2-1/2 Stars In Junior Bowling - Mikela, Kobi, & Megan

Well, last weekend, they finally announced the official results of Mikela's participation in the Phoenix Junior Bowling Tournament. She won the Division 5 Girls's Handicap Singles, Girl's Scratch All-Events, and the Girl's Handicap All Events. She will get some nice trophies, but, more importantly, $70 in scholarship monies that will be kept in a fund account for her to use in the future. This is just the beginning because if she continues entering tournaments, she will be collecting more scholarship money. Next up is the Pepsi Nationwide tournament for which she is bowling the area qualifying on March 10th at AMF Christown Lanes.

Kobi has gotten into the picture and will be in his first tournament at that time as well. Also, Kobi got elected as the "King Pins" League President for this season. He is pretty thrilled about that.

As a note, Megan just started and got her highest game last weekend - a 49! I like this junior program because they don't put up the "bumpers" for anyone. Megan's average is 25. More importantly, she concentrates on her form and follow through more than she does on score.