Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Schmidt to set pins flying at worlds

Local pro bowler off to Croatia hoping to again snag Cup title

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Tyndall's Michael (Mike) Schmidt never misses a chance to watch The Big Lebowski.

"Oh, for sure," he said, admitting he's seen it many times. "It's a classic."

For the great unwashed, The Big Lebowski is a 1998 cult movie about a guy named Jeffrey Lebowski (played by Jeff Bridges), who is an unemployed Los Angeles slacker and an avid bowler, who prefers to be referred to, and also refers to himself in the third person as, "The Dude."

 

Now, that's not saying that Schmidt is a slacker, because he isn't. Neither does he call himself Dude. He is, however, an avid bowler, a former World Cup champion, and he has qualified for his fifth crack at the Quebica/AMF World Cup of 10-Pin Bowling, which will be held in Zagreb, Croatia, Oct. 15-24.

In his first shot at the World Cup in 2005, in Ljubljana, Slovenia, he won all the marbles and came home a world champion. In 2006 he finished third, in 2007 he was fourth and last year he came in second.

Schmidt, who works as the pro at the Laverendrye Bowling Lanes, qualified March 20-21, by finishing on top of the heap at the Canadian National Championship in St. Catharines, Ont. In the final, he defeated fellow Manitoban Robbie Scerbo by a score of 245-142. Along the way, he rolled a perfect score of 300, as well as a 299. His average for the tournament was more than 238 in 16 qualifying games.

"I've been on a real hot streak lately," he said. "I've shot three 300 games in the last 14 days."

Schmidt says this year he's flying at the top of his game. "It just feels like it. The pins are falling, and everything feels amazing. At the moment, it just feels too easy, everything is clickity-click, my timing is fantastic and my head is really into it."

Currently a member of Team Canada 2010, Schmidt is considering stepping up a notch to the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA Tour) this May.

Qualifying school

"The exact dates (of qualifying school) have not been posted yet, but it will probably be announced in the next couple of weeks," he said. "It's usually in the first week of June, so I may have to postpone my golf until after that."

With one World Cup title under his belt, and finishing in the top four on three other occasions, he says it's now or never.

"Well, I won't know (if I can make it) until I try," he said, adding that until then, he'll be working on improving his stamina, as well as keeping his cool.

"In the past, maybe five years ago (I would lose my cool), sure," he confessed, adding he has matured, and mellowed over time.

Once the PBA school is done, Schmidt who golfs in the high 80s to low 90s, says he'll need a break from the lanes before getting down to the serious business of preparing for the worlds. "I'll take about a month off and hit the golf course as much as I can."

allan.besson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 26, 2010 C4

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