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

Volume 1, Issue 5

By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez

      The PBA gained a new fan this week. He's not worldy or wise, he can't solve the tour's woes, but he's enthusiastic. He doesn't care about dress codes, diminishing memberships, or TV deals. His name is Michael, and he is seven years old. I love to relive things through the eyes of my son, and Michael's first visit to a PBA Tour stop was no exception. With the PBA stopping in Lakewood for the ACDelco, I pulled my son out of school for the day (some things are more important), and headed down there. It was actually a pilgrimmage.

      Mind you, Michael is in his first year of bowling leagues--bumper leagues. He has always watched the telecasts with me, and cheered on whoever I was cheering for, or if he's feeling ornery, he cheers AGAINST whoever I'm rooting for. But from the moment we walked in, and they placed the band on his wrist, the transformation had begun.

      First it was a quick pass across all fifty-some lanes to see who was bowling. Then we slid into the bleachers to devour the lane assignments to see who would be bowling the next squad. He nearly squealed when he realized their names appear on the shirts, making it much easier to figure these guys out. This of course is something I've taken for granted for a long time. I marveled at the line many seemed to be playing, while Michael insisted on planting himself behind a couple of players to bask in the glow of his television heroes, and I happily obliged.

      A bit later, with bowling pin and permanent marker in hand, Michael got brave enough to approach the pros. Guys with four double-ball carriers over their shoulders put down their bags to sign autographs. I could almost see the wheels turning as he would think who to approach next. He later told me that his technique of "puppy dog eyes" was his secret, but I'm sure the dimples and infectious smile didn't hurt. He was selective, not quite getting into the feeding frenzy that some of the kids got into by approaching any man in a polo shirt and khaki pants.

      I looked down and realized we were bonding in one of those moments that happen less and less between moms and sons as they get older. At some point, my husband will become the sole sports guru in his life--Michael already knows who to ask about basketball and other sports, and it's not me. At some point, he'll stop asking me about bowling too, but today he asked me how he could be like Parker Bohn. I told him to remember to put down all his bags and sign autographs even when he's tired.

      Finally, like any normal 7-year-old, Michael retired to the video arcade, but the pin was the first thing he showed his dad when we got home, and he keeps turning it over to see the names...over and over again. So my son has graduated, from mere bumper bowler to PBA fan. And after he went to sleep, I stared at the pin too. He's got really good taste in pros.

Gotta Split,


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