My Team USA Experience
By Danielle McEwan
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There is no greater feeling in the world then being able to represent your country doing something you love. I have been fortunate enough to do this multiple times over the last few years and every experience has been a great one! I recently traveled to Krasnoyarsk, Russia, a small town in Siberia, to bowl in the World Cup for Team USA. It took me three flights and approximately 24 hours to get all the way out there. There was a 13 hour time difference between New York and where we were in Siberia, so the first couple of days were rough because I was so tired all the time.
Thankfully we had a few days to practice and adjust before the tournament started. There were two squads of girls and guys for the tournament. On day one, my squad bowled first. I led my squad and went to bed content with my performance, but when I woke up, I was more than 100 pins out of first. After that, it was hard not to feel like what I did was not enough, and it was very difficult to go into the next day with a clear mindset. With the format of the tournament, the important thing is to be in the top three. Top three make the TV show and just like any stepladder tournament, anyone has the chance at winning. I fought really hard all week to hold onto third place. I gave myself a pretty good cushion going into match play but kept in mind that with match play and bonus pins, anything could happen.
I went into the last day with the mindset that I was going after the two people ahead of me. I knew this would keep me aggressive and not allow me to play defensively to the people chasing me. I felt like I had a really good game plan going into the final day, however that all changed pretty fast once we started bowling. The shot seemed to play a little differently and I didn’t do a good job of adjusting to it fast enough. Unfortunately, everyone knows that feeling when you suddenly lose your line, lose your carry, and just nothing seems to go right. That is exactly what happened to me the last day. I tried everything I could do and nothing worked. Of course, after the tournament was over and I was able to clear my mind from what had happened, I was able to come up with other things that I could have tried, could have done differently, and could have been better at. That’s the hard thing about these tournaments.
It’s great to have these wonderful opportunities and to walk away with a great learning experience, but at the same time, I know these are once in a life time opportunities and I don’t want to waste them. This was my second year in a row competing in this tournament. I definitely had higher expectations then how I finished for this year, but I know I can hold my head high with my performance. I am so proud that John and I won back the Best Team Award for the United States, which is for being the highest combined country finish.
I learned a lot from this week, and have a new list of things to work on and improve. For now it’s back to work! I know I need to work even harder then I have been to keep moving forward and hopefully give myself the opportunity to return to this tournament one day.