Day 6

A week of bowling is over.

Team northwest is scattering in various directions but I have the upstairs TV room to myself for a spell before our departure to the airport.

Yesterday went well for some, less well for others.
For my part:  my day in alphabetical order –  high hopes….  humility.   After two lame attempts at winning in the championship bracket of singles I was flummoxed, then grumpy.   Oh, my eyes were big weren’t they?!   I had bowled well all the day before and thought I’d found something I could rely on. Whatever that was was gone this time round.

Where does the touch go? To a storage unit somewhere? In Nebraska, maybe?

My first game, against the eventual champeen, wasn’t  too awful but I certainly didn’t find the line and weight that were necessary to compete with Leo Dusabloom from Saskatchewan. I remember Leo from last year when we also met in singles: a very easy going guy, positive and  fun to play against.  He bowled really well all day and being further than a foot or two away was not going to work against him. I didn’t get any better in the second game and lost to another Canadian, Stu McNaughton from Vancouver Island. Again,  a painful game but in the best of company.

On other fronts:

Jeff Covell came oh so close to winning  his bracket, the 4th. He won his first two games impressively and in the final game, after coming back from a deep hole and making two last-bowl game saving shots he finally came up short on the last end, lost by one point,  and had to settle for 2nd place. For his efforts Jeff was later given  the NWBOT (Northwest Bowler of the Tournament) award by a distinguished panel of judges back at the team headquarters. In accordance with our newly minted custom, and with the necessary goading from his devoted supporters,  Jeff jumped into the chilly pool fully clothed… as always, his form was impeccable.

*[ his exit to dry land was a little rocky; the limp should fade, eventually].

Richard Broad, bowling in the 5th flight at a green across town , edged out Doug Bradley in his second game 18 to 16 and made it to the final which he won by default: his opponent, having played 54 ends over his previous two games chose survival over glory and threw in the towell. Rodger Green lost a couple squeakers but did manage to prevail over Frank Souza, a Sun City resident and USLBA hall of famer.

Big Russ Leonard had his moment in  the sun after many near misses and it was all we could do to keep his head within the confines of our rental car on the way home. He too, took the ritual plunge into the pool at the team’s training facilities.  Cashing his first check on tour, Russ plans to invest his winnings in Grippo futures.

After our own games were over Richard Krueger, Jeff, and I traveled to the women’s venue and watched Janice and Glorianne in their final game of the 4th flight. They had won their previous two games in fine fashion but came up short in the third, winning 2nd place in the flight. The prize money canceled out the entry fee, so all was not in vain. It sure was cool to see Janice out there bowling with all the big cheeses around.

Pam and Debbie had a tough draw in the 3rd flight, playing Dee McSparran (Team USA) and Linda Vandenberg (South Africa) in one match and and Jackie Tucker and Mary Ann Beath in the other. They won the team shirt competition hands down.

As always I come away from this week of bowling with memories of shots made and missed, heads pondered and whispered over, assorted wicks, rubs, bumps, and burns….and of course the faces, voices and styles of so many characters. These rolling orbs sure do attract and hold a diverse bunch.

the jangling cowboy
the downy hucker
the professor
the magician
the soprano
the turtle
the pretty boys
the pirate

to name a few.

Be up,


*quote of the day: “Your line was right but your strong was wrong”.

Day 5

Another sunny day in Sun City… go figure.

Wednesday morning in the kitchen was a little chirpier as we readied for our final  two day events:  the women- pairs, the men-singles. We bid Andy a fond farewell after his brief but triumphant  run with Jeff in pairs, did our little hokey cheer in the living room, and headed out into a dewless, warming Arizona morning.

We (men) showed up at the Lakeview green with the other 48 singles players and drew for assignment to greens. Doug , Russ, and I were given our walking papers and headed down the road to the Fairway Bowling Club.  The others – Rodger, Jeff, Richard B. and Richard K.,  – stayed to bowl at the two greens there at Lakeview.

When I got to Fairway I immediately scanned the other arrivals, wondering what sort of draw I’d be in for. Their were a few studs, one a former World Champ in pairs, another a two or three time US singles Champ but on the whole it looked like most of the big guns had remained at Lakeview.  As is turned out my draw was a fairly welcoming one and I managed to win all 4 of my games.

The biggest challenge of the day for me was in the third game, against that Lion from the Northwest, Doug Bradley.   Doug and I have met a handful of times in tournaments and games in Seattle and he has had my number, no doubt about it,  though he’s far too humble to ever mention that ( HAHA!).  Today I finally changed that but it was (fittingly) a real struggle, neck and neck to the wire when I got hot and overtook him in the final ends to win 14 to 13 (all singles games go to 14 points).

As the day rolled on Doug lost two other games but won his final one against Abe Kaplan from South Africa (now lives in Florida).  I had the honor of marking that match. Marking a match for Doug is special because no one knows marking like DB.  Where to stand, when to move, what to say and not say: these are all concerns of a good marker.  With some discrete coaching from Doug I performed the job proudly and did my best to keep things rolling. I say this because Doug’s opponent Abe, while  being a total gentleman is also a very methodical and (I’ll just say it) slow bowler. His previous game had taken nearly 3 hours.  With each bowl camps on the mat and strikes a pose as he concentrates like nobody’s business. It  really looks like he’s willing each bowl to bend to his relentless command and it pays off more often than not.

There were only a few of us left to watch that last game but it was a doozy as Doug slowly gathered steam, pulled into a 13-13 tie and loaded them in in the final end to end the long day happily. Russ’s day was a long one too and he didn’t manage to win but had some good matches and a chance, in his final game, to bowl against Keith Roney of Canada, who was, in his prime, certainly one of the better bowlers in the world… a really nice, straight forward, humble guy, short in stature, simple clean swing, signiature baseball cap and soul patch under his lip.

As for the other fellas I was not on hand to witness their games but this is the news: Jeff went 2 and 2.

He had a couple remarkable comebacks, one of which he won and he dished out a 14 to 1 shellacking in his final game. Richard Broad drew some giants and only managed one victory. Richard Krueger won two and I believe Rodger Green won two, edging out victories against a couple of veterans – Frank Souza and George Tucker. In the match with Geroge Tucker he was down 11 zip after 5 ends and came back and won 14-12. The game against Frank was another barn burner, finishing 18-14. Rodger’s last game with a local bowler was a marathon of 29 ends lasting a little over 2 hours, but the Sun City-ite finally wore him down. Guess it was the heat.

Today  we all continue. I will be in the championship flight and Jeff and Richard K in the 3rd or 4th flight. The others will also continue at Oakmont bowling Club in the 5th and 6th flights.

The women had a very good day too.  Janice and Glorianne won two of their four games as did Pam and Debbie.

Go figure . . . NW drew NW and our homegirls had a tight match against one another, with Glorianne and Janice edging out the win. Glorianne and Janice also had a tight match with Dee McSparran and Linda Vandenburg (South Africa). They took an early lead, 8 – 2 in the 6th end, when Dee took the mat and drew to the jack every end to win the game 10 – 8. Pam and Debbie lost to Jackie Tucker and Mary Ann Beath and won two games to delightful teams from Canada and Sun City.

The tournament draws to a close today. One more day of bowling after the week of a thousand rolls. May our aims be true. Wish us luck.



Day 4

 Hello Jeffersonians,

4th day in Sun City
Final day of women’s singles and men’s pairs

Top story
Jeff Covell and Andy Klubberud won all three of their games today,  handily, and so won the 5th flight. They bowled impeccably and left little doubt that the northwest is on the rise… people are talking. Championship flight next time!

The rest of us: well…. not so good. Russ and I lost our one end playoff in the morning and didn’t get to bowl today. We went over to the green where the women were playing and watched a great match–lasting over 20 ends–between Janice Bell and long time USA stalwart Regina Benares. Janice took the early lead. Regina got going and had it going for a while then Janice came back late and tied it at 14 (game to 18).  They both took a short break and after that Regina pulled out a 3 and a 1 in the final two ends…. phooey!

Richard Broad won his first and lost his second to Frank Souza and Len Hitchcock, very common names in US bowling lore over the last
20 some years. Roger Green played two pretty good games but also came up short. Same for the venerable duo of Mr. Bradley and Mr. Krueger.

Besides Jeff and Andy’s victory the highlight of the day had to be the final match of the men’s pairs between a veteran pair from Sun City(Jack Behling and Bill Pearson) and  the younger guys from LA (Charlie Herbert and Steve Smith). It lasted well over two hours and was the only show going at the end of long day. A good cluster of remaining bowlers and fans stayed on to watch as the match went on and one; it closed very dramatically  over the last few ends as skip Charlie Herbert pulled off a few stunning shots to negate the stellar leading of Bill Pearson.

I’ve written about Charlie in the past and mentioned his penchant for firing. Today wasn’t any different: he threw a slew of drives,  some succesful  some not, but all at warp speed. He and his lead use this tactic often and it worked to prolong the match and enabled them to slowly cut into Behling’s lead and finally triumph with a few deft draw shots at the end. Behling had the last bowl and a chance to win it all with one shot but was unable to get inside of Herbert’s.  Very impressive all around: very different styles, very tense and entertaining.

That’s all for now. Not the snappiest or most dramatic of blog
entries but that’s what I’ve got for now. Hope to report good stuff
soon from our singles tournament and the women’s pairs.  Janice will play with Glorianne Mather from Milwaukee and our beloved homeys from Portland, Pam Edwards and Debbie Tupper will team up too. They all have some fashion statements to make and I’m sure their bowls will be talking too.

Itching to bowl.


Day 3


I’ll start at the end
Phone call between tournament vice director Grant Summers and Russell Leonard, my pairs partner
” Russ. Hi, this is Grant. So, this is what I have to offer you.”

Russ and I played in the first day of the  pairs tournament today. We performed valiantly, made shots we barely dream of and still ended up losing 3 of our 4 games and were nearly sure we would not be joining the 90 % that make it through to the second day of competition. Crushing. I mean, who wants to be left out in the cold while the others are cavorting around the space heater?  After a random draw we played some of the real bowls mucky mucks and in two of the three losses we were inches away from paradise before having our hearts removed and thrown down on the sizzling hot Arizona concrete that surrounds the two greens at the Lakeview Lawn Bowls Club., Sun City AZ.

The first blow came against Jack Behling and his lead Bill. We jumped off to a startling 6 to 0 lead after 2 ends and were pinching ourselves…. apparently to the detriment of our next 4 ends where we gave up a rapid 9 points and were mumbling fish stories to ourselves about the one that got away. Then, thanks to a number of clutch shots, especially by the suddenly unconscious Russ Leonard we were within one shot with one end to go and  holding two shots for the win. Well, 20 minutes and two burnt ends later we were once again on the precipice of victory before Mr. Behling delivered the final kill shot and we threw up the white flag.

The second blow came against a pair of Aussies, John and Peter (I can’t recall their last names).  We went into the last end down 5 and I pulled out a hail Mary on the last bowl of the end  for the burn and a chance to try for the five that would shock the world… our world anyway. Again Big Russ went ‘bowl-istic’ and put his four lead bowls – I’m not kidding – within in on foot and just behind the jack in tight little basket like arc.  Their lead wasn’t rolling chopped liver either and snugged one right up against Russ’s 4 which I tried twice to chip out. Then… well, it’s too much to describe succinctly so I’ll cut to my last bowl.

Somehow their skip John had lightly snicked the jack, but only slightly from from the clutches of Russes four and now had the shot resting just behind the jack and just a half a foot behind its former resting place ( a game of eeeeinches!). So now even though they had the shot my chances were better, the shot was there to be made. We were holding five seconds now and I had one last bowl to rest the shot bowl and really put the clamps on their skip, who had one last bowl in his pocket, to respond and avoid total crest fall… I made the shot. Ecstasy. Super unreal jackalicious comeback at the tips of our fingers, when  their skip, cool as a popsicle, rolled his final bowl one inch in front of the jack and closed the door on our faces.

Jeff, on the other hand, won all of his 12 games against nothing but world ranked Australians.

Back to me.

And the phone call….

This is the offer (see top of page):

At 8:30 tomorrow morning Russ and I can play in a ONE END PLAYOFF to determine who gets to continue into the second day and vie for the coveted championship of the first consolation division of the lower half of the second tier of the 6th flight!!!!!

As you can imagine we won’t be getting much sleep tonight going over and over the trajectories of our 8 bowls glistening in the morning dew and making their ways to the promise of a truly new tomorrow.

Enough already.

What else:

Janice Bell played in the women’s singles over at Johnson LBC and won her final match to advance to tomorrow’s playoffs.

Jeff Covell and Andy Klubberud upset Floridian George Tucker in their final match and will also play tomorrow. Rodger Greenand Lyle Schuetzle, Doug Bradley and Richard Krueger all rallied late to advance as well. Rodger’s team revenged their triples loss against the “pink shirts” and won out over Krueger and Bradley in pairs. Richard Broad escaped this reporter’s net so I have nothing concrete to report about his play today. If I had to guess I’d say he will surely be on the greens tomorrow and likely is in one of the top flights given lead’s reputation… and his own prowess of course.

I wish I could communicate more than this 1% of the stories pouring from all the people down here from the northwest but, short of staying up all night and sapping the precious bodily fluids that I will surely need to call upon to prevail in tomorrow’s GIANT ONE END PLAYOFF I must terminate this entry and say farewell.

May your road be true,


Day 2

The men all survived to play in the 3rd flight Sunday

The Ferocious Pinkies (Leonard, Krueger, and Bradley) won their first game against Roger Greens team:  Roger was playing with a couple of locals from Sun City. It was neck and neck for the first 7 ends until the Pinkies scored a 6 and coasted home. Unfortunately the they lost their next game and were done for the day. They ended up 4 and 2.

The Solid Whites lost their first game to a trio from LA, mostly due to the an uncanny stream of  heartbreaking salvos delivered by their skip Scott -Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover- Peterson.  Scott dispatched both of the northwest teams as if he’d been wronged by a salmon on his way to the green.

The Whites recovered in the second game against Roger Green’s team. Rodger still reeling from his first game against the Pinkies, never found his groove , nor did his mates and the Whites rolled to the win. This victory entitled Broad, Covell, and Davis to go to a final game which they played on the center green in front of the teaming throngs. It was, as many said, a war, and came down to a final shot by the opponents skip: A classic example of the fabled “PIOOYA” shot  (as in  ‘Pull it out of….’.) that jiggled through to better the 3 shots that the Seattles had which would have won the game.

On the women’s side Janice, Glorianne, Pam, and Debbie played the stellar team they upset yesterday (led by Linda Jarhaus and Kim Heiser) in a memorable game. They got off to a rocky start, were down by 14 and then rallied to cut their lead to 4 before finally losing 16 – 20. Applicable quote: “Never give up 16 points in 4 ends”. (Edwards)

Today the men split into pairs, the women go for singles. That would be Krueger and Bradley, Davis and Leonard, Covell and Klubberud, Janice Bell and our homey from Milwaukee, Glorianne Mather.

Quote from the team kitchen:  “Who’s the wise guy who bought Jiff ?!?” (Bradley)

If this is patchy and thrown together-ish,  that’s because I must run to the greens now. Onward!

Day 1

The kitchen is busy
at the big bowling house
as team northwest slowly start revving their engines
in preparation for 4 games of high test bowling

the skies are clear
unlike last year
when it was all grey and chilly and wet for half of the week

Fast forward
we’re all home and winding down with stories and beverages

We all had our ups and downs but on the whole we did pretty well

On the men’s side:
We were split into teams of three playing triples
The Ferocious Pinkies:
Russ Leonard
Richard Krueger
Doug Bradley

The  Solid Whites
Chris Davis
Jeff Covell
Richard Broad

The Pinkies won 3 of their 4
The Whites 2 of 4

The Pinkies were in firm control in their 3 victories , getting solid contributions throughout
but ran into a buzz saw in their 3rd game against a team led by Andre ‘the sage’ Benares, Bob ‘the chef’ Schwartz, and last but no way least, the momentous reappearance of Tom ‘Cowboy’ Stirrett who ripped their hearts out repeatedly… to the point that  Doug was charging his opposite skip Andre 25 cents per toucher since Doug was running his 7 dollar can of “Toucha” into the ground with Tom’s incessant triple wicking jack finders.

All in all, a solid workman performance from the boys in Pink. And Damn did they look hot!

The Solids started out well eeking out a hard fought victory over a team from Vancouver led by Skip Ivo Van Bastelaere (love that name)… The whites found themselves in a hole with only a few of the ten ends remaining… these ten end games are truly ‘bowl busters’ (pardon me ladies) because with a big end or two the match can be finished before you know it, not to mention that conditions are changing just as rapidly: a draw you thought you had nailed on your last go around can be much bigger the next time around. And when I say big, I’m talking twice as wide as we are accustomed to in the northwest.

In their second game Broad, Covell and Davis faced a formidable team from LA (former US Open Champs)  and led through 8 ends only to give up a five (ouch!) and go down two.  In the final end they were up the necessary three to win the match but the opposing Skip’s  bowl elbowed its way through a nest of blocking bowls and effectively ended the game.

B,C, and D split their final two games and, as of the latest press release, could end up in the same flight as the Pinkies tomorrow… imagine, an all northwest final match! Here’s dreaming to it.

Tomorrow we change greens for the final day of threes… to the Lakeview club where the speeds are even steeper than today’s were…. ice!  Even though our teams  are not in the coveted championship flight the second day brings a clean slate and freshly stoked appetites for all out jack warfare.

Wish you were here.


And on the women’s side . . .

The women played at Johnson, LBC in Sun City West, a gorgeous 4-rink facility with screaming fast grass. We’re not sure of the speed, but we think it was over 14 seconds. The greens are true, but slick at the ends with a definite drop off toward the ditch. The difference between too short and too long is very subtle.

Cracker (Pam Edwards, Lead), Wee Bonny Lass (Janice Bell, second), Cheesehead (Glorianne Mather, Vice), and Trout (Debbie Tupper, skip)— were resplendent in black and stone uniforms, complete with tie-died socks and neckerchiefs. We played Rinks, four 10-end games.

First up, was a delightful team from White Rock, BC–on fire, fresh off their new artificial green. They took an early lead and we never caught up losing the game 4 -13 but having a really nice time in the process.

Our next opponents were also from White Rock—the luck of the draw. This time the Riveters were in a better groove finishing a tight game 6 – 8.

After lunch, the greens were lightening fast and we were all bowling over to the number in the next rink over to get the right amount of grass. Our opponents were from CA (Kim Heiser, Linda Jahraus, Sybil, Patty). We had a really fun game with them, tight all the way, and finished winning 8 – 7.

Our final draw was four crackerjack bowlers from the US national team (Marina Hyland, Irene Webster, Jan Hargreaves and Dee McSparran—recent finalist at Potters). The Riveters bowled very nicely indeed and had a lead going into the 8th end. Team Hyland scored a 4 making the score 7 – 8 going into 10th. Going home, the Riveters laid down a two-bowl jack sandwich. The sandwich lasted and lasted even after two firing shots from the opposing skip. Over and out, 8 – 7 for us!

On to the finals tomorrow, with a two and two record.

P.S. I’m a man and I just read this.  These ladies are on a roll and I love every one of them.