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Bowlers display individual skills during ‘Sweepers’ mini-tournament

Geoff Gast looks forward to the "Sweepers" tournaments.
Geoff Gast looks forward to the "Sweepers" tournaments.Fred Eisenhammer

This examiner.com story originally ran June 3, 2013. It is being re-run to commemorate the “Sweepers” bowling tournaments that take place at the end of the league season.

For bowler Geoff Gast of Tarzana, it doesn’t take long before he knows if he’s on his game.

“I’m like a starting pitcher,” Gast once said. “Either my arm is ready or it isn’t. Either I’ll bowl well or I’ll suck.”

For many bowlers around the Los Angeles area, this is a good time to be generating momentum because it’s when a mini-tournament within the league is held.

It’s called “Sweepers.”

And fortunately for Gast, he has built up considerable momentum for “Sweepers,” which generally takes place on the last day of league play with a fair amount of prize money at stake.

During “Sweepers,” individuals get a chance to show off their skills and compete against other members of their league. The team concept – at least for one week – takes a back seat to individual accomplishments.

Gast, a 135-average bowler at AMF Woodlake Lanes in Woodland Hills, is now a confident bowler. “I had been in a slump for seven weeks,” Gast said, “and the last two weeks I’ve somehow gotten myself out of it.”

Because all bowlers are awarded a handicap score for “Sweepers,” Gast stands as good a chance to prosper during this one-day tournament as say, much-heralded Mike Weekley, who blistered a 298 game the previous week.

The 34-year-old Gast said he hadn’t bowled too well in “Sweepers” tournaments in the past.

But he’s renewed his optimism after averaging well above his average the past two weeks.

“I’m very confident I can bowl the same way as the last two weeks,” said Gast, who bowled a 467 series in January. “I just have to slow myself down and focus on what I need to do and bowl the way I want to bowl. I just have to keep building confidence in my bowling game.”

Gast said he believed there’s less pressure during “Sweepers” than during the regular season.

“I sometimes take it too seriously and I’m too passionate, and then I don’t bowl well and struggle” Gast said. “From here on in, games are going to be fun. I’m just going to go out and enjoy it.

“It’s just like what Tom Selleck said in ‘Mr. Baseball’:

“ ‘Games are supposed to be fun.’ ”