Utah youth rolls career 300s #1 & #2 back to back to start set!
My Name is Nick Tanner and I am just a normal 16 year old teenager attending Riverton High School here in Utah. I had always dreamt about shooting my first sanctioned “300 game” as a bowler. On the morning of December 8, 2012, during the Saturday morning Future Pros Junior League at All-Star Lanes in West Jordan, UT the unthinkable happened. The day started out just like any other Saturday morning with me arriving early for the coach’s clinic. I started the first part of the training session working with my coach Kelly O’Driscoll working on my timing and rhythm keys. After the practice session and working with Kelly I felt great. Kelly is one of the most honest, knowledgeable, bowler/coaches I have ever been exposed to in my young career.
I started out in warm ups throwing my Shooting Star from the Roto Grip line. I had an unbelievable reaction with the ball creating some area to strike. I started out the first game with the front six. That’s when I started to feel that today could be a special day and the thought of me shooting a “300 game” crept into my head. But as I stepped up for the next shot, all those thoughts of shooting 300 went away. My focus quickly returned to executing just on the next shot, as I was taught by my coach Kelly. I was able to repeat this all the way into the tenth frame. On previous experiences with this kind of pressure I had cracked and fallen short. Not this time! I was so confident in my abilities, my line, and my ball that the “300 game” seemed like an afterthought. The first and second balls were two of the best shots of the game. Now all I needed was one more. As I stepped up for the last ball in the tenth everything went into slow motion. I set my feet, but I could not really feel them. I looked at my mark and before I knew it I took my first step and I was off to the line. After I let go of the last ball I knew, even before it hit the pins, that it was a strike, and it was! The whole bowling alley behind me erupted as my friends rushed to congratulate me on my accomplishment. This was my first sanctioned 300 and I will remember it forever. However, even with all the chaos I was able to keep my focus and concentration level for the next game.
Before I knew it I had the front five of the second game and the thoughts of shooting another 300 crept back into my head. Could I really go back to back? Having just experienced the same feelings and thoughts in the previous game I knew I had to focus on executing in order to strike. Now I had six, seven, eight, and nine in a row and the pressure of the “300 game” chase was there once again. By now my confidence level was over flowing that when I stepped up for the first two shots in the tenth the pins had no chance. Now I had the front eleven and all I need is one more strike to complete back to back 300’s. As I was collecting myself by the ball return, I told myself “you can do it, you have the line, you have confidence, now go and execute”. I stepped up to the approach for my last shot setting my feet and looking at my mark. The entire world slowed down as I started my approach towards the foul line. After I released the ball all I could do was watch as the ball rolled down the lane, caught the corner perfectly, and obliterated the pins. I had to do a double take to make sure there were no pins left, and there were none. I had done it back to back 300’s who would have thought that at such a young age I could accomplish such a feet. The bowling alley erupted once again but this time it was louder I was getting hugs and high fives from fellow bowlers and parents. This was such an amazing feeling that my body almost felt numb.
Now it was game three and the thought of throwing 900 crept into my thoughts. First frame strike, second frame strike, third frame strike and I was off and running towards history. I stepped up in the fourth frame and made another great shot but this time a wobbly 10 pin stood. It was heart breaking, but I was able to gather myself and pick it up. The dream of 900 was gone but the chance for my first 800 was still right there in front of me. I threw the next two strikes before chopping the 6-10 spare and splitting in the ninth for back to back opens. Looking at the score I was 189 in the ninth and the 800 was now not a given. I had to mark in the tenth for my first 800 and to be honest it was harder than the tenth frames of the first two 300’s. It was my turn and as I reached down to grab my ball all those thoughts went away and all I could think about was setting my feet and watching my mark as I was taught by my coach Kelly. I let the first ball in the tenth go and it was a solid strike my first 800. I finished game three with a 212 for an 812 series. It was not the 900 that I thought about a few frames earlier but that didn’t matter as I had thrown back to back 300’s and finished with my first “800 series”. What a day!
I want to say thank you to all of my coaches: Kelly O’Driscoll, Rick Tanner, and Brian Thomas. To my Mother and Father, Cindy and Rick Tanner, for all of the bowling balls and trips to tournaments. To the youth bowling director, Debbie Wade, for all of the tournaments and great leagues and a huge thanks to all of my supporters and fellow bowlers of the future pros league at the All-Star West Jordan, UT. Thanks to the staff and proprietor, Brad Shepherd of All-Star Lanes in West Jordan.