I watch the PBA on ESPN Sundays hoping for one of four bowlers to show up:
Walter Ray Williams Jr.: The best bowler of all time, period. And since his style is the one that most resembled my own as a little bowler growing up, I got to easily model my own bowling style after his. Simple, straight on, nothing flashy. Why throw the big hook when a little bit of accuracy and ball control can get you there, instead. I just wish I had that accuracy and ball control. (And last I checked, it looks good that he’ll be on the TV finals today.)
Mika Koivuniemi: The heir apparent to Walter Ray? Too soon to tell, but an exciting bowler. He started out hard and straight, but has since added dimensions to his game. He can throw a big hook ball. He isn’t afraid to loft it ten feet down the lane if that’s what it takes.
Tommy Jones: Perhaps HE’S the heir apparent to Walter Ray. In his young career, he’s been Bowler of the Year once, and has an insane TV record, something like 31-7. He’s won better than ten tournaments already. He never shows his nerves, and he isn’t obnoxious about it. He’s not mouthing off. He’s there to bowl and does it well.
Chris Barnes: He’s the most exciting bowler on the tour right now. He makes television appearances with regularity, but is creative enough to find bold new ways to fail near the end of games. Most memorably this season, he blew a 50+ pin lead in the seventh by whiffing on a ten pin spare in the ninth frame of the Tournament of Champions finale. You can’t write crap like that! There ought to be a website, www.WhatFrameWillBarnesScrewUp.com to take bets on this kind of thing. He’s the PBA’s definition of schadenfreude. I’m sick of hearing everyone talk about what a great technical bowler he is. He only ever wins in his home state of Texas, and fails most everywhere else. It’s ridiculous.
Case in pointL He finally won one last week, beating out Tommy Jones. The tournament was held in Texas.
There are other interesting young bowlers like Sean Rashe and Rhino Page, but the above four are who I’m looking for. And Norm Duke. We haven’t seen him this season, but he’s always fun to watch, too.
On the flip side, if Patrick Allen is on, I’m turning it off. There’s nobody more annoying on television, with the possible exception of Pete Weber. Even Weber has calmed down a bit in recent years. Allen is just a jerk on the hardwood. If Allen comes up against one of the four bowlers named above, I keep it on, though. It can be terrific fun to root against someone.
Reminds me of politics, that.