Thursday, April 26, 2012
I shared an article on Facebook today about people today caring more about inconsequential celebrities than they do about accomplished scientists, intellectuals, and artists. The author hypothesized that this was largely because we're now living in an "everyone-is-special-and-there-are-no-losers society. As a result, we are fearful of accomplished people because they can do stuff we cannot do, and giving them the spotlight would un-level the playing field."
One commenter offered another explanation. She said our hollow celebrity worship is the result of escapism motivated by our economic and social ills. But, then, it could be argued that accomplished people were held in much higher esteem than they are today even during times more troubled than ours. Another commenter suggested that it was because celebrities have more publicists working for them than do scientists, philosophers, and artists.
I think he may be on to something. And I think his idea may suggest at least a partial solution to making bowling more popular and profitable in this modern age. The bowling industry needs to pool its financial resources and hire the best public relations talent around to promote bowling to the general public in a concerted and determined rather than occasional and haphazard fashion.
One way they might do this is to begin spotlighting the most accomplished male and female bowlers on the planet. Doesn't this contradict the article's premise that we don't want to see accomplished people? Well, curiously, sports seems to be an exception to the rule. We revere the greatest athletes in sports because of their amazing, sometimes almost superhuman abilities and accomplishments. So why don't we do that with Belmo, Osku, Mike Fagan, Kelly Kulick, and so forth?
Yes, these things have been tried, but I would argue that they've been tried only to a very limited and therefore ineffectual extent. Perhaps it's time to get serious, hire the best in the publicity and advertising business to make bowling appealing to the public, and then pay to saturate the media with their creative and skillful efforts. Otherwise, bowling at all levels seems to be on a downward spiral to near-extinction in the United States, even as it appears to be gaining momentum in other parts of the world.
And, as far as elite level bowling is concerned, how long can the PBA continue to survive without a heavy infusion of fans and advertisers' dollars?
Jason Couch will be inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame today. As a 16-time national titlist who throws one of the most powerful balls in PBA Tour history and as the only player EVER to win three--that's right, three!--consecutive Tournament of Champions titles, he richly deserves it. Here's a video commemorating those titles and his stellar career.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
"I'm still in shock and literally feel like I'm in a dream." ~ Diandra Asbaty
I'm not a fan of the double-elimination format employed by, among other elite bowling tournaments, the USBC Masters and USBC Queens championships. I don't like this format because it often prematurely eliminates some of the best bowlers in the tournament just because they lost their matches on a couple of pairs of lanes that favored their opponent's ball reaction at the time more than theirs or for some other reason that under-emphasized the bowler's overall level of performance throughout the tournament. I greatly favor round-robin match play as the best way to get the best or, at least, highest performing bowlers that week into the finals where they belong.
Having said that, I can't quarrel with the participants in yesterday's televised stepladder finals of the 2012 USBC Queens Championship or with the quality of their performances. Josie Earnest, who battled her way through, in the colorful words of a USBC publicist, the "Murderer's Row of staggering proportions" of Kim Terrell-Kearney, Kelly Kulick, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, and Leanne Hulsenberg to make her first nationwide telecast, bowled an admirably solid first outing of 223. The great Liz Johnson came out firing with a 268, and then Diandra Asbaty overwhelmed her own "Murderer's Row" of Johnson, Stefanie Nation, and Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, shooting 233, 270, and 244 respectively, to win the coveted title and be crowned with the glittering tiara.
As much as I lamented Kelly Kulick's and Leanne Hulsenberg's eliminations, yesterday's finalists bowled well and deserved to make the finals. And, as usual, Dave Lamont and Chris Barnes did a top notch job of calling the action. I've said it before and I'll say again that I think Chris Barnes is the best color commentator in bowling today.
You can read more about the final results on the USBC website and view all of the televised matches below.
* Notice of correction: I originally reported that Dave Ryan was the announcer for this event when, in fact, it was Dave Lamont. Thank you Lani Chin for pointing this out. I've corrected the text accordingly.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
"Feels really good. Actually, if anything else, it proves that if I keep working at my game and if I keep sharp and keep up with the times, I can still be competitive. And you know what? Tomorrow, everything's just bonus." ~ Carolyn Dorin-Ballard on being the top seed in the televised stepladder finals of the 2012 USBC Queens Championship