Well, I'm finally back and sitting at a computer
. First let me say that I had an absolute blast out there. I hadn't been to Vegas in 10 years. So many things have changed. Some for the better, some for the worse. Progress I guess.
Team event: Lanes were playable but you couldn't get it too far outside unless you had a ton of hand. My out of bounds was about 7. 8 I was fine, 7 I was shooting at a wash out. I started out with my Cell at 1000 from 15-10. I had a decent look to the pocket but I was having a heck of a time with my spares. I have no confindence in my spare ball and in hind sight, I should have stopped at the Storm booth and just had a new one drilled up. After about 6 frames I moved to my Hy-Road at 4000 and it gave me a little more at the back end. I was rolling the ball pretty good but not scoring well. Also, missed spares killed me. Team was my low set for the tourney thanks to a fabulous 130 game to finish up (6 opens with 5 of them in a row). No one on my pair did anything for team. Others in my group did okay. One of the guys shot 650 with a 180 the last game. As a team, they shot 2932 and will get money back.
Doubles: Lanes were getting toasted. Actually, the heads were getting toasted. I was playing my Hy-Road from 15-10 but I was basically lofting it over the heads. I was doing okay but not getting the ball to do much so I went to straight up 7 with the Cell. There were others who were having success out there. Did okay but again, missed spares killed me. A team doubles teams from my group shot around 1200 and will cash. Not a lot but enough to go out to dinner on.
Singles: Heads were gone. Completely. I went back to my Hy-Road. I tried my X-factor for a couple of shots but it just didn't feel right. I had my best set of the tourney (which really isn't saying much). I moved left and was throwing about 21 to 8. There were a few of my group who scored okay during Singles but everyone pretty much said the same thing. Fried heads. One of the girls who I bowled team with shot really well. 238, 289, 182 for 709. She had a great look on their pair. Had the front 10, grabbed at #11 and went high and left a 6 pin. She kind of lost it for a little in the last game and recovered for the 709.
My sets were embarrasing. 473, 490, 540. I literally had at least 2 opens in every game. I had a few splits but mostly missed opportunities. I found that when I was throwing my spare ball, my swing plane was WAY off. ball was going way out on the back swing and was way in on the follow through. Hence, I was missing all of my spares right. When I stopped using my spare ball, I started making more of them.
Consensus was that they need to start re-oiling after team. With all of these teams now using a lot of surface to break down the lanes, by the time you get to singles and doubles, the lanes are getting to be toasted. Be that as it may, there was a playable shot out there and you can score on it if you make your spares and stay out of trouble. I could have easily been another 150 pins higher.
For Vegas itself. I did a lot of walking around, a decent amount gambling, and way to much drinking. Video poker at the MGM is great. You can bet the minimum and get drinks. Bartenders are really friendly. Dealers at Hooters (male and female) were great. Played Pai Gow there and had an absolute blast. Waitresses came around a lot as well which is not always the case. Planet Hollywood is a very cool looking place with a lot of yuppies and money floating around. If you want to people watch, go there. If you want to gamble, don't. Dealers don't talk at all. They basically stare at the table and just deal
. No interaction. Ballys and Bills Gambling hall were pretty good. Dealers at the Flamingo were fun. I pretty much gave them money at all of the above.
While I was there, I had a Bachelor Party and a wedding. The Bachelor party turned out to be just a bunch of us heading to Toby Keith's bar at Harrahs and gambling. The wedding was awesome. They have a wedding chapel in Mandalay Bay. Very nice. Afterward, we were driven around Vegas in a stretched Hum-V. No sun roof but it was too hot to open any window. We had our picture taken at the Vegas sign. Dinner that night was in Paris at the Eiffel Tower. That was one of the best meals I have ever had. Don't know if it was worth what I paid, but it was phenominal. Plus, we had a great view of the water show at the Bellagio. Perfect night.
For those people who have thought about going to Nationals, go. At least once. Get as many teams as you can and go. The one regret I have about this year is that we stayed pretty far from the rest of the group. Since it was Vegas, everyone pretty much stayed where they had their perks and the best deals
. We were south of the strip at a Fairfield, there was a couple guys at the Stratosphere, and the rest some where in between. I think that the most fun we had was during the day on Tuesday just hanging out in one of the guys rooms (they had a HUGE suite for 5 of them), drinking, playing cards, and telling stories. For the people who want to bowl every day while they are out there, you can do that. There are a bunch of side tourneys. Next 2 years are in Reno. One of my teammates who just came back to the game is going with a different team next year. Another who came just because it is Vegas said that he will be back year after year. Great experience. Great fun.