I just read an article--Fairytale will continue for Walter Ray, no matter what--online that has me fuming. Now maybe I'm jumping the gun on writing this. Maybe I should take a few deep breaths, recite my mantram, and give my raging emotions a chance to settle and myself more time to check my facts before I fly off half-cocked.
Nah. "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore." Well, I will restrain myself from saying all that I want to say, but I won't hold back from saying anything at all about this travesty.
The article I read said Walter Ray Williams Jr.--yes, the guy who has won more national PBA titles, earned more PBA prize money, garnered more PBA Tour Player of the Year awards, bowled more times on television, and on and on and on than any other bowler alive or dead, and who recently bowled great for Team USA in the PABCON Championships, just won a national PBA Senior title after placing high in the other senior tournaments this season, and whose game seems to be coming back into its own after stumbling for a mere few months in the wake of hernia surgery and a major grip change to his bowling equipment--was dropped from the staff of Track bowling equipment when his contract came up for renewal, and no other company has picked him up.
I've been saying here for a long time that Walter Ray Williams Jr. has NEVER gotten the respect he fully deserves. Not from the fans and not from the bowling industry. He is arguably the greatest bowler in the history of the PBA. He is arguably the greatest bowler who ever lived. At age 50, he won PBA Player of the Year and led every major PBA statistical category in the 2009-2010 season. Then he went out and won his first PBA Senior tournament. And then, because he struggled during the few brief months of an abbreviated PBA season in 2010-2011, he was discarded like a bag of garbage?
Maybe I don't know all the facts. Maybe there's more to Track not re-signing him than I realize. But if it's simply a matter of them dropping this superstar of the bowling firmament because of one sub-par bowling season, then shame on them, shame on the other companies for not a one of them grabbing him up, and shame on the bowling industry in general for not giving this incredible athlete his due.
I posted about this on Track's Facebook wall. As of now, my comments are still up there, and a couple of people have replied to my outrage. One guy wrote: "Yes he is a legend but it is a business and in an economy where exposure means sales sometimes there has to be cuts made."
He's right. Bowling IS a business where "exposure" DOES "mean sales." But I believe that if bowling is the kind of business that caters to fans so fickle that the great Walter Ray Williams' endorsement of a line of bowling balls means nothing to them because he had one off season, and bowling is the kind of business where its powers-that-be are ready to "cut" their greatest star from endorsing their products after one comparatively bad season, despite the reasons for that sub-par performance and signs that he would rebound from it, then I have ample reason to be all the more dubious of bowling's integrity and its future.