As I thought about the Xtra Frame Kenn-Feld Classic my mind drifted back to a scenario from my Cooperstown trip. I had driven through the small town hunting for parking and maneuvering away from the $30 and $40 spots had ended up at the Clark Sports Center where some folks were parked. It was free and I foolishly thought that my svelte 300 pound self could handle the walk to the downtown area.
The walk to town was not real bad but the walk back was next to horrible especially when I heard the area had been swept and I would not be able to re-enter. You see that area had been swept as they continued to keep the area safe for Thome and crew to be inducted the next day.
While I cannot say that Coldwater and the PBA was the first thing on my mind at that moment, it has been quite often since.
As Mike Golic often says, “The best ability is availability.”
In Coldwater the professional bowlers are available to you, while they are eating on the patio, rolling in the pro-am, playing Jenga or even corn-hole. In Cooperstown, suffice it to say the boundaries between you and the stars was a great deal more limiting although I did get close enough to Dale Murphy to shake his hand and close enough to Jimmy ‘Mouth of the South’ Hart of WWF and WWE fame to make me want to count and be sure I still had my fingers.
Coldwater has earned their place in the bowling world. Certainly Linus and Rick Hartings and their families have done a great deal to assure that this event is on safe footing with the PBA and the inclusion of Xtra Frame and the Kenn-Feld Group has ratcheted things up even more.
All that being said a great deal of credit has to be given to the businesses that sponsor the event and to the families that serve as host homes to the bowlers who will shortly be arriving in the community, if they are not there already.
If you are a fan of the sport, especially if you are one who watches it on television, you really have to make this trip. Coldwater is about 45 minutes away and not 10 hours and 45 minutes away as is the case in Cooperstown. You may not have the chance to see 67 members of the Hall of Fame as just occurred in Cooperstown, but you well not have to squint or watch it on the big screen as many did for that great event.
I am sure that I am not the only person who has a favorite memory or more from Coldwater and this tournament. My first actually happened a handful of years or so ago when I sat at the “lunch counter” with Jason Couch and ate cheeseburgers and fries while watching the British Open. He was ranked in the top fifteen or so in the world at that time – try that with a player that holds a like rank from the MLB, NBA or NFL.
One of the others was two years ago when I noticed Rhino Page setting on a step leading outside the lanes to the patio with a member of the Coldwater community. He had just been eliminated from the event and it was interesting watching the dynamic between Page and a member of his “hometown.” It was not be business to ask what the conversation was about but I thought about it as Page took the title last season.
Again availability is the key. Of course you have to stay courteous and there are areas where you simply cannot go! I trust that you will figure that part out when you get there! By the way the snacks set us in the area of one and two are for the bowlers not the general public, not there have not been some violations of that in the past.
Who is bowling this week?
The poster that I am looking at notes, Page, Sean Rash, EJ Tackett, Parker Bohn III, Dick Allen, Ronnie Russell, Chris Loschetter, Tom Smallwood, Kyle Troup and Chris Via among others. It will not be hard for you to find a favorite when you get there.
Cooperstown does have a great museum and I will return, perhaps as early as next year. Pla-mor lanes may not have as much to show but check out the trophy case on the concourse as well as the signed jerseys and bowling gear within the restaurant. Speaking of the restaurant, while they do not have the great canola that I found at a bakery at Cooperstown they do serve a great cheeseburger and breakfast and you never know who you may be eating it with. By the way, the pork on the patio on Saturday is the best that you will have all season anywhere, all in the care of Mr. Happy.
By the way I have driven around the tiny community, about the size of Cooperstown, and they are missing out for the parking is free.
Come and enjoy the weekend. You will not regret the trip.