The international sports spotlight is once again on Metro Detroit this week as over 300 bowlers age twenty and under representing forty different nations are competing in the World Youth Bowling Championships!
How appropriate that World Bowling has brought this prestigious tournament here.
Not only are we the official Bowling Capital of the World, but Metro Detroit is a true melting pot of international relations, as so many different nationalities are such a vital part of our wonderful community.
I had the opportunity to get over to Thunderbowl Lanes this morning to see some of the action…the men’s division was competing then, with the women taking over the lanes this afternoon.
The young men and women competing this week will take part in singles, doubles and team competition, and then the top twenty-four bowlers in these events combined will compete this Friday for the Masters title. As I watched the bowlers, two things stood out.
First, it was so cool seeing young people from as far away as Asia and Australia all gathered here for this event. Second, the spirit among the teams and their families brought tremendous energy into the bowling center.
Check out this video I shot of the Sweden team’s fans…they did this after every strike bowled by their team!
As you would expect, I saw all different styles and methods of delivering that ball to the pins. But the team that everybody was talking about was the China – Taipei squad because, in contrast to the rest of the bowlers who bowl the ball with a big hook (curve), they bowled a straight ball right down the center of the lane, using only eleven-pound bowling balls (most bowlers use heavier balls).
While this delivery requires an absolutely perfect shot to get a strike (whereas the bigger hooking balls sometimes generate strikes when the shot is off a bit), bowling a straight ball also takes a difficult lane oil pattern out of the equation.
So, if everybody else is struggling with the oil, the Taipei squad isn’t affected. Plus, they are good spare shooters with this method.
Here’s a video I shot of one Taipei bowler, and keep in mind that every time I shot video of one of them bowling, they didn’t get a strike. As soon as I put my phone in my pocket, they started throwing strikes again!
Team events are going on through Thursday, with the semi-finals and finals taking place on Thursday. The Masters will start Thursday afternoon, and be completed between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Friday.
Of course, Team USA is here, too, and they have done well on the international stage in recent years. The women’s team won the event in 2012, and the men’s team is the three-time defending champion, having won in 2012, 2014, and 2016!
The competitors will also get a nice taste of Detroit while here. Among other things, tonight they are going to the Tigers game at Comerica Park, and Friday will attend the Victory Banquet at the historic Henry Ford!
If you want to see some high-level international competition right here in Metro Detroit, head over to Thunderbowl Lanes. And kudos to Tom Strobl, the owner of Thunderbowl Lanes, who continues to bring the world’s most prestigious bowling events here to Motown.
In case you haven’t heard, Thunderbowl will host the 2019 World Series of Bowling, the 2019 Junior Gold Championships, and the 2020 National Collegiate Women’s Championships!