Sylvester ready for bowling provincials in Carman

Gene Still, The Valley Leader

Ian Sylvester is no stranger to earning medals and trophies for bowling. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

Ian Sylvester is no stranger to earning medals and trophies for bowling. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

What started as a way to have fun while meeting friends for Ian Sylvester has turned into a sport that has been rewarding in many ways including travelling to various parts of the country to compete.

“I have been bowling competitively for about 15 years. I first took up the sport when I got out of high school as a way to keep in contact with friends and have a fun night out,” Sylvester said.

Competing across Canada

His travels to compete in bowling have taken him “as far east as St. Johns Newfoundland, Gatineau Quebec, Toronto, Sudbury and as far west as Edmonton and Calgary”.

“I enjoy the camaraderie of the sport and how you can be bowling competitively against someone but still be cheering them on in hopes that they perform to their best as well,” the local bowler explained. “I have always been a competitive person when it comes to sports, in high school I played almost every sport I could so it just seemed natural for me to start bowling at a more competitive level.”

And Sylvester will have the opportunity to feed that competitive hunger when he is among the bowlers set to participate during the Manitoba 5 Pin Open Championships Feb. 12-14 hosted by Carman 5 Pin Bowl.

He is also considered as a favourite for a top finish at the championships and with good reason - Sylvester is no stranger to the winner’s circle.

For example, last spring he captured a Provincial Singles title, becoming the first Carman bowler to represent Manitoba as the Mens Singles Champion of the Master Bowlers Association.

Sylvester looking forward to the provincial tournament at Carman 5 Pin Bowl.

“It is great for a smaller community like Carman to be able to host such a prestigious tournament as the provincials,” he said. “My hopes are that it will draw people out from the community so that they can come watch bowling at almost one of its highest levels to see who we send on to Nationals to compete as Team Manitoba.”

Familiar surroundings

It’s also refreshing for him to bowl in a facility that he knows well.

“It helps a little to bowl out of a ‘house’ that you are familiar with, but the bowlers we have attending are some of the best in the province and have shown that they can bowl well at any bowling lanes they compete at,” Sylvester noted.

And while he didn’t want to give away some of his strategies for having success at provincials, focusing on simply “playing his game” will be a key.

“I don’t want to give away any secrets in this area but one of the best piece’s of advice I have gotten is to only concentrate on your own game because you can’t control what the other person is doing,” Sylvester saud. “My mental game is really strong, meaning that even if I have a bad start to a game or a bad few frames I know that I can always turn it around and start to perform at my best.”

He also welcomes the chance to be part of Team Central that will be at the provincial tourney in Carman.

“I am looking forward to seeing and competing against some of the best bowlers from Brandon and even my own area,” Sylvester said. “With the Central team we have such a large area that the provincials and our qualifying tournaments are about the only time I see some friends. I am also looking forward to seeing how well the Carman 5 Pin Bowling lanes workers can and will step up to the plate and deliver a great tournament for all competitors.”

Sylvester also praised the efforts of people like Ken and Bob Wilson of Carman 5 Pin Bowl for “all the hard work they have put into getting this tournament here in Carman. It takes a lot of time and effort to get this tournament to run properly and smoothly and I know that they will run a great tourney.