Ronelda DeShields finally may be getting her game together.
"I have to get the mechanical and mental aspects of my game in proper sync," DeShields said yesterday between first-round qualifying efforts in the $50,000 Ladies Pro Bowlers Hammer Eastern Open Tournament at Country Club Lanes on Pulaski Highway.
"It seems that when I'm doing well mechanically, then I'm having trouble with my mental approach and vice versa. I really feel good right now; everything seems to breaking right for me. I did real well in the first round, rolling games of 214, 197, 193 and 188. I had two not-so-good games, 159 and 168, but I was getting better the more I bowled, and I'm looking forward to the next couple of rounds."
DeShields, 33, a native of Baltimore, has been on the tour the past five years. The highest she has finished in a tournament was 32nd.
A graduate of Western High School and Towson State University, DeShields is a part-time member of the tour and holds a part-time job with United Airlines.
"I don't have a tour sponsor," she said. "I sponsor myself with help from my parents, who are always there giving me support. I love the traveling. You get to see so many different places and meet so many interesting people. I know that some of the ladies on the tour don't like all the traveling, but I thrive on it. I love it."
DeShields began bowling when she was 3.
"My father started me on duckpins, and I bowled ducks until about 10 years ago," she said. "Then I switched to tenpins, and I've been bowling them ever since."
DeShields, who carries a 197 average on the tour, won several local tournaments, but never a regional or national title.
DeShields said she tries to get to as many tournaments as possible.
"I drive to some in my own car, share a car to others with some friends or fly," she said. "Whatever way I get there, I love it. I love the competition."
DeShields said driving her car to tournament has led to some humorous incidents. One she remembers vividly happened a couple of years ago.
"I drove up the lanes and decided to empty my ball bag and the other accessories out of the car," she said. "I was going to park lTC the car and take the bags and other stuff into the locker room so I would be ready to go the next morning. Well, I forgot. I went right to my hotel, and the next morning I couldn't find my bags. I was frantic. I went out and looked in the car and still no bags. I was so upset, I was almost crying. My friends said that I should try to remember the last time I saw the bags.
"I tried and tried and then decided to drive to the lanes and see what I could come up with in place of my missing stuff. I just happened to drive past the door and there, sitting on the sidewalk, was my stuff. It sat there all night, and nobody even bothered it. I was so happy, I started to laugh and my girlfriends just shook their heads."
* After qualifying sixth in the first round, Anne Marie Duggan held a seven-pin lead over Sue Neidig last night after the second round. Duggan finished the 12 games with a pin total of 2,723. Robin Romeo remained third with 2,705. Qualifying will continue today.