Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mika's Detractors After the 2011 U.S. Open

I’ve had the misfortune of reading some online comments about what a “choke,” “drama queen,” and “jerk” Mika Koivuniemi was Sunday when he missed that 10 pin and afterward. Here is one fairly representative comment on the PBA Facebook page:

I loved Mika the "Drama Queen" missing the 10 pin, he should get an Oscar for that, the falling on the approach was one thing, sitting with his hands in his head when he should have gotten to his feet and congratulated Duke was inexcusable. Suck it up boy, you made a bad shot. If Duke does not stone an 8 pin you are a dead duck anyway.

This is how I replied:

I'm guessing that Mika's loudest detractors not only won't ever have to "handle something like that," but that, if they did, they'd be so nervous they'd miss the 10 pin by throwing the ball in the opposite gutter several feet down the lane, and then they'd bawl like a baby afterward. ;-) What's the old saying, "Those who can, do, and those who can't, teach."? Well how about, Those who slam sports competitors can neither do nor teach.? ;-)

Mika bowled almost superhumanly well all day to find himself in that pressure-packed situation, and then he made a very human mistake at the end, just as Norm made one earlier in the game. Both bowled like champions, and both deserve praise rather than blame. Yes, Mika was upset, but only at himself, and he later said nice things about Norm. And life goes on.

Actually, I don’t accept the saying, “Those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach.” I understand that there are some excellent teachers among the ranks of the finest men and women bowlers in the world, including Norm Duke and Kelly Kulick. I’d gladly take lessons from them any day, and I was fortunate enough a few months ago to receive some coaching from Bill O’Neill. Now, if only I’d follow his advice.

I personally didn’t take offense at Mika’s reaction at the end. He had just lost $40,000 and the most coveted title in bowling by a mere few inches. Well, actually, he would have still needed an eight count on the next ball to clinch it, and that’s no gimme on a flat oil pattern. Remember Walter Ray, of all people, needing an eight count to make it to the U.S. Open TV finals last year and getting six? But the point is, I don’t think anyone can reasonably blame Mika for being as upset as he was, and I don’t think he acted egregiously in his upset. Furthermore, he did compliment Norm in his post-game comments.

What do you think? Do you think Mika’s conduct was inexcusably unsportsmanlike? Furthermore, do you think his missing that 10 pin will haunt him and, when and if he faces a similar situation in the future, cause him to miss again?


  1. Della McCambridgeMarch 6, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    I sure would like to have an interpretation of what Mika said. Haven't seen one yet.

  2. Yes, Della, me too. Anyone out there speak Finnish?

  3. I think that he displayed very poor sportsmanship. Not just by falling on the floor and carrying on, but his total behavior from the time he missed the 10 pin until he was no longer in the TV eye. His reaction was completely self-centered. He couldn't congratulate Duke by acting with dignity. He acted like the typical spoiled child. On your front page, you're now talking about Pete Weber and the need for players to act better in the public eye. That's exactly what I'm talking about here, magnified several times. Lots of people excuse that behavior as just being passionate. All I can say is that I don't want to be forced to endure that kind of behavior when I'm engaged in a sporting endeavor. It's not pleasant and has a negative impact on other players and fans alike. You can be passionate and still have the capacity to lose with dignity.

  4. I wanted to leave a comment on the PBA Facebook page that you link above, after I read your and the other guy's comments on the topic. I couldn't leave a comment, unfortunately. Here is what I wanted to post.

    For those excusing Mika's behavior, I would simply ask if you would want to keep a HD clip of this sterling moment and show it to your children and/or grandchildren as an example of how you want and expect them to behave, when they don't get what they want, whenever they lose a game or contest, etc.