MacBowl 2003 raises $15,500 for SF school

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Exhibitors at Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, Calif. took some time out on a rainy Thursday evening last week to raise $15,500 in computer equipment and cash for a San Francisco elementary school in need at the third annual MacBowl. The cash and equipment donated to the school will be used to set up a Mac-based computer lab.

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Sponsored by Macworld magazine and Aspyr Media, the event drew teams from Apple, Microsoft Corp.'s Mac Business Unit, MacPlay, Aspyr, Destineer, ATI Technologies Inc., Nvidia Corp., Aladdin Systems Inc. and Macworld. They competed for the coveted MacBowl trophy. The beer flowed and much pizza and finger food was consumed as old friends and rivals gathered for a night of fun at the Yerba Buena Bowling Center, located atop the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Macworld publisher Steve Plevin and Aspyr Media president Michael Rogers kicked off the event with a presentation of the check to Elisa Julao. Julao is the computer administrator of the Charles Drew Elementary School, a Bayview District School located on Pomona Avenue. Then the MacBowl got rockin' as the teams squared off for some heated tenpin action.

The Thrill of Victory

The night was punctuated by intramural rivalry between two Mac game publishers: MacPlay president Mark "The Captain" Cottam and Aspyr Media director of PR & marketing Amy "Cannonball" Torres wagered to see who was the better bowler based on a single roll down the alley; Torres dominated with a cannonball strike. Torres then further humiliated Cottam in a double-or-nothing pint-chugging competition.

Speed Bowl was the name of the game: Five players on each team had three forty-five minute periods to play as many frames as they could. Two participants -- Macworld magazine and Microsoft -- sponsored two teams, each occupying separate lanes. The winner would be determined by the aggregate score of each team. Some teams brought alternates and reserves to keep scores fresh when key players ran out of gas or wandered off in search of refreshment.

The Agony of Defeat

Still exhausted from coordinating the event itself, Macworld magazine's two teams flanked everyone else, turning in a puny 2,033 and 1,876 respectively -- the latter score was almost half that as the top team of the night. Macworld's placing surprised the Aladdin Systems team -- itself gunning for last place -- which managed to eke out a 2,313 score.

Graphics chip maker Nvidia's team was visibly frustrated as their lanes were plagued by technical problems. They played valiantly, however: Nvidia's team more than doubled its score during the last period, and ended the night with a respectable 8th place finish and a total score of 2,384. Rivals on and off the lanes, graphics chip and card maker ATI Technologies Inc. managed to push out another 88 points for a 7th place finish and a grand total of 2,472.

Minneapolis-based Destineer Studios -- publishers of Mac games under the Bold imprint -- combined forced with MacSoft just as it had on the show floor, yet could not do better than a 6th place spot behind Apple. Destineer's Brittany Istre won kudos from the crowd for her imaginative mutilation of a commemorative MacBowl t-shirt, baring collarbone and midriff alike. She used some of the leftover fabric to fashion a headband.

Apple, like Nvidia, suffered with technical problems, but ended the night squarely in the middle of the pack with a final tally of 2,753. The folks from Aspyr, while demonstrating plenty of team spirit, ended the night in a distant 4th place spot, more than 600 points behind their MacPlay rivals.

Ultimately, the night was a grudge match between returning MacBowl 2002 champions MacPlay and the team from Microsoft, which walked away with the trophy during the first MacBowl in 2001. And despite some help from alternates, MacPlay couldn't pull it off: The night was Microsoft's.

Microsoft nailed the two top spots with scores of 3,648 and 3,538 respectively, squeaking by MacPlay's third place finish by only 126 points. The team's captain carried away the trophy victoriously amid clapping and a few hoots, hollers and catcalls. Many folks from the companies participating in this year's event promise to come back next year and do it all over again.

So while it may have been a chilly, rainy San Francisco night outside, the Yerba Buena Bowling Center was warm with the glow of friendship and camaraderie, and more than a bit of well-meant competition. MacBowl 2003's participants gathered for a good cause, and good times were had by all. Any Macworld Expo exhibitors who are already committed to come to next year's show and are interested in participating at next year's MacBowl are encouraged to get in touch with Macworld to reserve a lane.

This story, "MacBowl 2003 raises $15,500 for SF school" was originally published by PCWorld.

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