The action starts Monday. Heritage Lanes will be alive this week as the area's top keglers compete for prizes in the annual city bowling tournament. This year marks the 73rd Annual Tiffin Women's Bowling Association Tournament. For the Tiffin Men's Bowling Association it will be the 84th annual shindig. My goodness, these tournaments have been going on longer than I've been alive.
Granted I have been around for most of them, but let's not do any math here. Let's just say I feel old enough as it is. There's no need to give any exact numbers as some of our local bowlers who will be participating are older than me. Many of them likely will hold their own against some stiff younger competition as last year's "bowler of the tournament" can attest.
Last year, if you recall, the week belonged to Anne Laughlin. All the then 93-year-old did was capture the singles title, shooting 694, and team up with Christine Smith, Judy Legron, Bev Brown and Jani Hartzell to lead Steamer's Sports Bar to the women's team championship. It was quite a performance and left everyone at the lanes with smiles on their faces.
Bobbie Tidswell and Robin Dickman combined to take the doubles crown. Dickman also won the all-events title while shooting the high actual series of the tournament, a 593. Robyn Wight rolled the high actual game with a 220.
Will the same names pop up again this year? Well, you likely will see some of those names and it would not surprise me to see some new ones as well. The beauty of this competition is that every year someone gets hot at the right time and surpasses even what they thought possible.
On the men's side it was Gary Golden who shined in singles and doubles. He shot an actual 751 series in singles to top the field with a 787. He also teamed up with Tim Bollenbacher to win the doubles crown with a 1,465 total. Golden shot 688 and Bollenbacher 681 in their winning effort.
The team championship went to Knuckle Deep Inc. as Dave Ross (714), Greg Anspach (637), Mark Ratliff (659), Scott Washburn (700) and Jack Book (628) totaled 3,551 for top honors. No fewer than seven bowlers broke the 2,000 pin plateau for all events. The champion was Rich Yates Jr. with 2,177. Steve Steinmetz Jr. shot 2,094 while Gary Golden (2,057), Chris King (2,029), Tyson Shope (2,019), Tim Sturgill (2,016) and Brian King (2,002) all shot scores that might have been winning totals in any other year.
Trying to predict who will star this year is very difficult. Many of the above names likely will be in the hunt for stardom again. For sure, a few new names likely will make their presence felt. Actually, it might be easier to tell you who is not likely to fare well.
One name keeps popping into my head when I consider who might not have any luck trying to cash in. That name is Greg Tiell. Oh, he may do well in singles and might even be a member of the winning team. One thing that is certain, he has little chance in the doubles competition. Seriously, he could shoot 900 in doubles and that still may not be enough to carry his partner.
That is because his partner is yours truly. A year ago, I was looking to compete in the tournament after sitting out a couple of years. I missed the competition even though I frequently bowled poorly in the event. I must have caught him in a weak moment as he agreed to take me on as a doubles partner. We failed to bowl well enough to cash, or at least I didn't, but we did have fun.
At least we had a legitimate chance last year as I was allowed to use my average from the year before. Now that I have not bowled in Tiffin for two years, I must use a 210 average for this year's event. Believe you me, my average in Fostoria is not near that number. There is no reason to tell you how far away from 210 it is. I almost would rather tell you my age!
Let's just say Greg Tiell is probably throwing his money away. Of course that is just for the doubles event. I'm donating my money in singles and doubles. So far no team is interested in my services, thus saving me a little cash and them some consternation.
As for you, Mr. Tiell, I can promise you this: I will try my best. We will have fun, too, at least as long as you consider my bowling exploits humorous. Also the phrase that starts "a fool and his money" is likely apropos in this case. Then again, one never knows. Remember the line that starts "the beauty of this competition is that someone always gets hot"
It could be me, I suppose. Just don't count on it and for goodness sake don't start spending any expected winnings ahead of time!
Watch The A-T starting Wednesday for a daily update of the festivities. Better yet, stop on out to Heritage Lanes and watch the action for yourselves. You might just catch me throwing the rock and how much better comedy can you find.
Al Stephenson is the bowling columnist for The Advertiser-Tribune.
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