8th annual MacBowl raises $24,000 for SF school

Macworld and Aspyr Media's eighth annual MacBowl charity event was held on Thursday night at the Yerba Buena Lanes, above the Moscone Center where Macworld Conference & Expo is held. The event raised $24,000 in equipment, donations and cash for the Yick Wo Elementary School, located on Jones St. in San Francisco. The funds and equipment donated will be used to establish a Mac-based computer lab at the school.

Yick Wo Elementary School is an alternative public elementary school that's part of San Francisco's Unified School District. The school's curriculum emphasizes science and English language arts in their students in grades K-5.

The MacBowl is an established tradition at Macworld Expo dating back eight years. Cumulatively, the event has raised $170,000 in cash and donations for at-risk San Francisco schools since it was started. It's a bowling event, where companies each sponsor teams for $1,500. This year, besides the Aspyr and Macworld donations, 12 teams were sponsored by other distinguished Macworld Expo exhibitors. Other donations totaled $24,000, meeting last year's amount.

Those exhibitors included Ambrosia Software, Apple, CCP Games, Elgato, Logitech, Microsoft and Other World Computing, each of whom sponsored two teams, Smith Micro Software and Sonic/Roxio.

Yvonne Chong, Principal of the Yick Wo Elementary School, was on hand to receive the check presented by Mac Publishing LLC CEO Mike Kisseberth and Aspyr Media CEO Michael Rogers.

After the presentation, the teams squared off on the Yerba Buena Lanes bowling alleys for their annual get-together. While friendly in nature, there are some fierce rivalries between long-time participants, including perennial favorites the Microsoft Team and their bitter rivals, Other World Computing.

OWC, which put up a valiant effort by sponsoring two teams and being fiercely competitive thanks to team captain Larry O'Connor, could barely muster a third-place finish this year. The team was hampered by technical difficulties, including the misappropriation and disfigurement of O'Connor's ball -- flown in from company headquarters in Woodstock, Ill. -- by the automatic lane machinery. The sponsors of the MacBowl apologize profusely to this year's event participants for the technical problems that plagued us throughout the night.

CCP Games -- newcomers this year's event from Reykjavik, Iceland -- deserve special mention for having the best team spirit. They proved their Viking ancestors proud with their take-no-prisoners approach both with the game and the festivities. They were also, not surprisingly, the far most intimidating team on the lanes. Hopefully they can balance their enthusiasm next year with improved skill at the game.

The biggest surprises at this year's event were Freeverse Software, who, despite absolutely wretched performances in years past, managed to muscle a second place finish thanks to some well-placed and powerful ringers on the team. It just goes to show you what a boxer with a well-placed ten-pounder can do when he's motivated. Thank goodness that fisticuffs isn't on the MacBowl playbill.

To no MacBowl veteran's surprise, Microsoft, who walked in with the trophy from last year, walked out with it again this year. One can only wonder if this powerful dynasty will ever be defeated, or whether they'll reign supreme forever.

Elgato, last year's last place finishers, also finished last this year, posting an average score of 98. But they're also the most gracious losers, happy indeed to be part of the good times and the charity event.

Macworld magazine and Aspyr Media would like to thank all of this year's MacBowl participants for joining us for another memorable evening of fun for a great cause, and look forward to their return for an even bigger and better event in 2009.

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