News: Bowlers battle to win 'Splits and Gutters'
Story by Christine Cabalo
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - Marines and sailors aimed to hook a win at K-Bay Lanes for the Splits and Gutters bowling tournament, which ended June 27.
The Single Marine and Sailor Program hosted the four-week tournament and awarded grand prizes to the top three scorers. Players picked any Thursday in the month to bowl for their score.
“We decided to try it this way so everyone could come on their own Thursday,” said Karley Peterson, the SMSP coordinator. “I think it’s been successful.”
Last year, the bowling tournament was a one-day event featuring more than 90 players. This year 186 players bowled during the four days of the tournament, Peterson said.
Several players said the new format made it convenient to join and relax with an evening game. The tournament first-place winner Donald Jones said competing in the SMSP event improved his skills. He saw many people he bowls with in the base Commander’s Cup Monday Bowling League, including his league teammate Eric Stansbury.
“This was helpful because we get tournament experience,” said Jones, a sailor and a native of Houston. “We learn about the people we bowl with too."
Jones said he appreciated how he met new people and had a chance to unwind from work by doing something fun.
“Bowling is a mental game,” he said. “During setup on the approach, you need to focus on where you want the ball to go. Bowling clears your mind.”
Other Commander’s Cup league players also aimed to win at the SMSP tournament. League players Justin Berchtold and Antonio Planzo said the lanes were packed with participants during tournament days. The duo, Marines from the Marine Forces Pacific Band, were also on the winning Commander’s Cup team.
Berchtold said the event encouraged many single service members to play because the SMSP offered support to participants. Coordinators covered the costs of shoe rentals and food. Fawn Liebengood, a recreation assistant with SMSP, also raffled off prizes.
The SMSP has hosted several events Berchtold said he’s participated in and enjoyed, including the program’s casino nights. He said he’s anticipating the SMSP’s upcoming sightseeing trips.
“There’s a lot to do in Hawaii,” Berchtold said. “People should take full advantage of what’s available through the program.”
The SMSP tournament was a chance for Erika Linny to interact with others and improve her game. Linny, who is a sailor and regular bowler, said the staff is always friendly and offers good playing tips. Linny said she’s glad the SMSP hosted a bowling tournament that was affordable.
“It’s so important to have events that are low cost or free,” she said. “We’re all on a budget, but we want to have fun. Especially in Hawaii, going out can cost a lot.”
Only three bowlers could take the top prizes but all the tournament players scored some low-cost fun.