Volume 2, Issue 17, The 69th Edition
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez
When it comes to televised bowling, I'll admit, I'm pretty easy to please. Sure, I would love to see a 24-hour cable bowling channel, complete with 90-minute telecasts, biographies of players, bowling advice shows, and SportsCenter-like news coverage for every bowling story imaginable, but every time I think about it, I fall out of bed and wake up. I'm a realist. Television programs cost the producers (in this case the bowling tours) money to air, so at this point, without a really rich uncle who dies and leaves Bowling in his will, I'll settle. If it's on TV, and it's bowling, I'll be watching it.
Usually, the tours end up staggered, so even if they receive the TV coverage, there's rarely more than one show a week. On occasion the men's and women's tour will both be air during a given week, and that's a bonus. But on this fall swing, bowling fans will be treated to televised bowling not once or twice, but three times a week. All three tours will rely on either ESPN or ESPN2 to air their shows, but the times seem to hold pretty close week in week out. (To get dates and times, visit PBA/PWBA Telecast Schedule.)
The PBA Tour hits the East Coast and Midwest, starting in Virginia, with a few stops in Kansas, Michigan, and New York along the way. They start with the ACDelco Challenge and an arena final, and conclude with the Brunswick World Tournament of Champions in November. With eight stops left, Parker Bohn has a commanding lead in earnings (the PBA hasn't updated their site to include the Japan Cup data, so the numbers the will jump to include Parker's $50,000 payday and there are only seven more tournaments to bowl).
After a long absence, the Senior tour is once again televised, and the Senior swing hits the South East, with several stops in Florida before hitting Michigan. The highlight of this swing for the seniors is the winner of The Village Senior Tournament of Champions receives a home in the retirement community. Since the televised finals will be contested outdoors, and the champion wins a house, this needs to be the "Gimme Shelter" tournament. Aside from megabuck-type events, this could be the largest bowling prize awarded this year. Age restrictions aside, I'd love to be bowling for a dwelling.
And marking their return to the road, the PWBA make four stops on the East Coast and Midwest before finishing the season at Sam's Town in Las Vegas. Kim Adler leads in earnings, but the race is much closer than the PBA race, and there's no way to rule out any of the ladies in the top spots. If they got any closer to the West Coast than Vegas, I'd jump in my car, but at least I have the telecasts to rely on to get my fix.
As a junior coach, I'm thrilled and, frankly, relieved to see the PWBA and the seniors back on TV, since these are the tours that I encourage the kids to watch when they want someone to emulate. Sure, I want them to support the PBA tour as well, but eight year olds don't need to attempt to bowl like some of the more physical guys out there (I still yearn for a "Kids, please don't try this at home" disclaimer).
Of course, they still try it as demonstrated by my son during league warm ups last year, asking "Mom, who am I?" as his backswing rose well above his shoulder. It might have gone a bit higher, but I closed my eyes in shock. Rudy "Revs" had been on a telecast the week before. Luckily, we repeat the "don't try this" mantra at home, and Michael is just the mischievous sort to do it just to get a rise out of me, and quickly went back to his own bowling style before I needed to be resuscitated.
In general, the styles of the women and seniors are simpler, and more easily duplicated by beginning bowlers. It's easier for the kids to relate that someone who's barely five feet tall can still bowl well as opposed to emulate a bowler that is already different from 99.9% of the bowling populace. But hey, with three tours televised this swing, there's bound to be a bowler for every viewer to emulate.