Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Are Great Bowlers Underappreciated?

I was reading the PBA message board and came across the following comments regarding Walter Ray's participation in the PBA Senior Northern California Classic:

"As for the state of bowling in general, I was amazed to see that the number 1 player in the world is bowling in the tourney, with no fee to enter the facility and watch, and there were about 15 or 20 people in the building watching him. If Tiger Woods enters a golf tournament, 60,000 people will shell out 50 bucks just to get within 100 yards of him. It becomes obvious why sponsor money for the PBA is so hard to find."

"The best WRW can do on any shot is a strike, which all bowlers can do.

TW can hole out from a sand trap 200 yards away, over a tree. 99% of golfers wouldn't even attempt that shot.

Pro bowlers play golf in their free time.

Pro golfers do not bowl in their free time.

I think both make good points, but I side more with the first commenter. How many chances do you get to watch a player of Walter Ray's legendary caliber bowl? Yes, his strikes and spares may not be any more impressive than anybody else's, but, by golly, it's the second greatest player in PBA history and current PBA Player of the Year getting those strikes and spares. That should count for something and attract more spectators.

I think Rob Stone makes a valid point that bowlers and bowling fans are just a little too blase about the game, and *I* think they tend to undervalue the game's greats. And as long as that's the case, the PBA will continue to struggle to stay afloat and elite bowling in general will fail to live up to its promise.

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