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The Right Approach...Views on the world of bowling.

Volume 3, Issue 7, The 111th Edition
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez

      I received a piece of news this month, that I will consider a holiday gift from the voters to the ABC Hall of Fame. Mike Aulby will be inducted into the ABC Hall of Fame next year. That's incredible. Aulby has been a perennial favorite of mine in terms of sportsmanship, professionalism, and a role model to the sport of bowling both on the lanes and in articles I've read that he has penned. But that is only part of what I consider the gift to be.

      Aulby was the only professional bowler to gather enough votes to gain entry on the first ballot. Another equally talented, perhaps more talented, player did not. Pete Weber. Weber will have to wait at least another year to receive ABC's highest accolades. Mike Aulby was a nearly unanimous choice, voted in on 126 of the ballots, while Weber received only 70 out of 134 votes for the Hall of Fame.

      Honestly, I was taken by complete surprise. Rarely do writers or other voters want to make political statements with their votes for something as important as a Hall of Fame. Talent alone should be the guiding force. Unfortunately, Pete's situation this year has put him into a position where he was denied entry to a club he no doubt belongs in--someday.

      Is Pete an incredible bowler? Yes. Does Pete have the titles and other career statistics that make him a worthy candidate? Yes. But the fact remains, no one is guaranteed a berth in the Hall of Fame. Not by family ties, not even by ability. A bowler must be voted in on the merits of their bowling career as a whole. And along with titles and talent, Weber's career comes with a whole lot of controversy. This year, when the votes were being collected and tabulated for the ABC Hall of Fame, Pete Weber was finishing up serving a ten-month suspension from the Professional Bowler's Tour.

      Many people were surprised this summer to see Weber bowling at the BPAA's U.S. Open and the ABC Masters. While both are considered PBA events for inclusion in PBA stats, they are not, in fact, PBA events, and as such, Weber's suspension didn't include either event. The fact that ABC allowed Pete to compete in the ABC Masters when he was barred from the PBA competition only showed a lack of rules to cover such a situation, but didn't mean that people had forgotten. He made the Masters show, which was awkward enough, but thankfully didn't win the title, which would have created one of those ugly asterisks in bowling almanacs and trivia contests everywhere.

      To allow someone into the Hall of Fame while on suspension would only put another asterisk on an already controversial history. And thankfully, enough Hall of Fame voters realized this. Maybe it wasn't intentional or political per se, but it would be definitely hard for me to vote for someone in a professional category who's being disciplined by the very organization that makes him a professional. Maybe 2001 Pete will finally beat his demons, and when he's reconsidered, there will be no asterisk. On the other hand, if Weber can't get his behavior in check, then he needs to remain on the outside looking in.

Gotta Split,

Angel


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