Many fans of the game for some time have referred to members of the Professional Bowlers Association as just regular guys.
It may be possible that statement does not go far enough to adequately describe the tour members that many of us have had the occasion to meet at stops in Delphos, Coldwater and Wapakoneta. In some cases some readers have even had the opportunity to compete against those referenced in regional or national competitions.
It is indeed a different world. Continually I meet adult and youth bowlers that want to emulate the professionals that they watch on television or if they have the chance to attend a tour stop. They want the best equipment, they want to have the big average, the even bigger hook, and maximum number of revs -so that they can stand left and throw right, or if a lefty – stand left and throw right.
Sometimes it is important in bowling and in life for that matter to pump the breaks and be more aware of who we are and what we have to do to take our bowling and normal lives to that next level. In truth I believe bowling, and other sports are a microcosm to living life – in a more humble fashion.
There have been a number of times in my bowling life that significant moments have occurred from which we would all benefit. Some would refer to them as seminal life events. If not they were at least moments that would offer some life insights.
Examples became even more apparent to me as I talked to different competitors this past weekend at the PBA tournaments in Coldwater – The PBA Bowlerstore.com presented by Moxy Ball’s Xtra Pair and the PBA50 Coldwater/Roto Grip Regional.
As Parker Bohn III was honored for winning the PBA50 event on Sunday, Rick Hartings said, “He even took down the fence on Saturday night.” in reference to the fence that enclosed the patio for those evening activities.
We are talking a member of the PBA Hall of Fame here and extending a favor to the proprietors and staff of the tourney. He saw a need and so appreciated what had been provided for the bowlers over five days, he pitched in and helped out.
I trust that all houses have such individuals that are willing to go the extra distance. Examples of this would be Tom Sifrit at 20th and among others the Kennard boys at Wapak’s Astro Lanes.
If you want to emulate behavior, that would be a behavior to emulate.
Ball loyalty was also an item of curiosity. Parker Bohn III made mention that every tournament that he has won as a professional over the last 30 years has been with Brunswick equipment. Two days prior, Tommy Jones shared with this writer that he has been all Ebonite for the past 20 years. The two of them have never deviated from the ball that brought them to the dance.
The post tournament discussion with each man brought out other elements of loyalty.
The Jones conversation had a certain ‘Field of Dreams’ feel to it – not original … ‘build it and he will come version’ but the expanded “If you build it – they will come.”
Jones added, “We really do enjoy going to smaller cities. In fact maybe we should go to more of them. We seem to be more appreciated in the smaller cities and towns.” The conversation made me think that I was back in Dyersville again seeking the set of the movie.
Parker, like Jones, praised the passion of the fans for the sport and the relationships that they have worked to develop with the players. Both he and Jones discussed the fact that they will return to Coldwater next season.
These statements get added emphasis here as it has been a struggle to refer to Parker as Bohn III even in print, despite the propriety of doing so. He has been coming
to Coldwater now for close to twenty years in support of what the Hartings family does for the high school programs in the area. He has developed a great friendship with them. In fact his fellow PBA50 competitors playfully chided him when he said he stayed after the main event to bowl the senior spot as a favor to the family.
Helping out was good karma as he the prize money for first in that event was $1500.
The final element that it would be interesting to see if the bowlers in our area could emulate was the level of competition throughout the week
On Monday when ten of the professional bowlers made it to the Xtra Pair at the Bowlerstore.com location, Bobby Jaeckel, the PBA Midwest ‘boss’ advised the crowd, that as much as they could try they could not at this point to what a PBA bowler can do. He further referenced that way too many hours go into preparation on the parts of the bowlers.
Then Thursday and Friday happened and the lanes were a different kind of difficult. Those familiar with Pla-Mor anticipated the lane conditions of the past – shall we say much tighter – while these lanes were more wide open. It seems that the lane man that the PBA had hired tweaked the path to the pocket some.
It was a tweaking that reportedly was not very popular. There was a moan and a groan and then the players went to work finding other ways to play the lanes. The players understood in many ways that they still had to make shots, maybe not the shots that they thought but shots still had to be made.
One of the professionals who made the trip and not the cut – a very Big man on tour – even defended the tweak – stating that there are different things that go into the tweak. He shared that this, his first trip, would not be his last. His statement – it is still on the bowler to find the shot that works for them.
It is here that Jaeckel’s quote comes back to me – maybe we normal folks do not find the shot because we do not have the means to roll as many games a week as the pros – or simply do not have the DNA it takes for the PBA. And you know what that’s ok.
It was refreshing in a sense to not hear the moans. This was the highest stage – a National title was at hand! This was also a key stop for major points for the USBC Cup and critical end season PBA events
That would be a great professional behavior to emulate as well!
Jones Bohn III and others went out and competed and thanked the Hartings family after all who provided the field on which they could play. It was a great day in Dyersville, I mean Coldwater.