Friday, April 22, 2011

PBA Tour 2010-2011 Season's Most Memorable Moments

I just saw the PBA post to its Facebook wall the following question: "What was your favorite moment from the 2010-2011 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour?"I pondered this question for a moment and came to realize that not only did I not have a "favorite moment" from this season, but I could scarcely think of any that I'd consider particularly memorable.

By contrast, last season was chock full of indelibly memorable moments. Chief among them were Tom Smallwood coming almost literally off the GM unemployment line to win the PBA World Championship; Walter Ray Williams Jr. shooting 290 against Chris Barnes to claim the Masters title and, eventually, his seventh Player of the Year award at the age of fifty; Chris Barnes losing the hotly anticipated first Chris Barnes Challenge to a collegiate bowler; Bill O'Neill establishing himself as the game's next superstar with his stunning dominance during the televised finals of the U.S. Open; Mark Roth rising almost literally from the dead to appear at the inaugural Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship and even sit in the X'tra Frame booth with "Bowling Doctor" Jeff Mark and bowling announcer extraordinaire "Mike J. Laneside" for an extended session of his colorful storytelling about bowling's Golden Age and his insightful commentary about the action down on the lanes; "amateur" Brian Ziesig's sudden death victory over Jason Belmonte in the Mark Roth Plastic Ball Tournament after Belmo stuck the "atomic stone 7 pin" from hell on his one and only sudden death shot; and Pete Weber's impressive victories over Brad Angelo and Mark Scroggins to win the final tournament of the season, the Marathon Open, after a long hiatus from claiming any national titles.

And then there was my favorite moment of all, a moment that brought tears to my eyes and which ranks, in my humble estimation, as the most memorable and electrifying moment in the history of the PBA--Kelly Kulick's stunning performance in the finals of the Tournament of Champions to become the first woman ever to win not only this hallowed title but *any* PBA national Tour title.

Contrast all of this to the "most memorable" moments of this year: Mika's big miss and subsequent dejected sprawl at the U.S. Open, "Bottlegate,"Cinderella and the bleating vuvuzelas, and the Dick's wrong-footed strike against Barnes.

Well, actually, I'm being a little harsh. There were some fine moments on Tour this year, including Chris Barnes joining the rarefied ranks of Triple Crown winners, South Korea's "Dr. Gu" winning the PBA Scorpion Championship, Scott Norton stringing his first eight in his TV debut to win his first national title, Osku Palermaa winning his first PBA title, Tom Hess's emotional Masters win, Tom Daugherty's comical 100 game, Mika's 299 and title in the $1 million TOC and superb showings in all the majors, and Norm Duke's U.S. Open title.

Still, I wouldn't say that this was the year that was. I don't blame the PBA for this. It's just that the stars can't be in alignment to produce magic every season the way they were in the 2009-2010 season, and any season that has to follow such a magical one is bound to be under-appreciated.

Still, the PBA has my best wishes and hopes for next season.

Which were your most memorable and favorite moments of the 2010-2011 season?

Below is a short PBA video of 2010-2011 season highlights.

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