Hope Gramly, a 14 year old freshman at Prosper HS, rolls her first 300.
June 2, 2014
Just Paying Attention By Mark London, Columnist
It was a tongue-in-cheek comment two years ago in Baton Rouge. I told Matt Cannizzaro the only way to keep me from guest commentating on a USBC Open Championships live-stream was to put me in front of the camera. But, even that didn't shut me up. Now on YouTube/Bowl.tv, you can see for yourself how I did, even asking viewers to submit questions on Facebook, then doing the unthinkable and answering them during competition. Oddly, it actually helped keep my mind off what was coming. Oh, yeah, then there was that 10-pin. More on that in next week's TBN and on another edition of The Phantom Radio Show starting Wednesday June 4 at http://phantomradioshow.blogspot.com/
At this time last year, Matt McNiel was finishing up as head coach at the 900 Global Showcase Lanes as part of the 2013 USBC Open Championships. After suffering nagging injuries trying to make a major change in his game while bowling for collegiate powerhouse Wichita State, the most celebrated under the age of 30 bowler in USBC Open Championships history nearly walked away from the game he so dearly loves. In the first part of a twopart exclusive interview in JPA, McNiel outlines how the injuries occurred, what was done to correct them, and how he prepared.
JPA: What physical problems crept into your game? MM: Well, after the 2013 USBC Masters (top 16 finish) I knew I wanted to be able to compete with the pros and be a viable competitor at the PBA national events. It has been my dream since I was 2 years old. However, I knew that my unique style did have flaws, as minimal as they might seem after winning 3 eagles in 3 years. Still, I was not satisfied and wanted to straighten out my footwork and swing in order to create a more consistent and repeatable approach. That was my idea and the coaching staff at WSU fully supported it. However, as things got somewhat straighter my accuracy, rev rate, leverage at release point, follow through and feel went considerably downhill. My body did something for 26 years and now I was trying to change that. I knew as an experienced coach that I would get worse before I got better, but the better really never came. Actually, I battled a lot of physical pain in my hand, wrist and forearm, as my feet and swing straightened, so my body really was rejecting what we were attempting to do. Still, I fought on knowing that this was (in my mind and the coaches minds) the best way for me to get to that next level or upper echelon. A lot of my "feel" at release point is derived from the redirection of my swing (swing goes from right to left and my hand manipulated it to keep the ball on a straighter trajectory), this redirection was what allowed me to release the ball the way I did which gave me my "trick", the ability to have a heavy forward roll that was clean through the front yet still continued down lane. When the swing got straighter, my hand still wanted to redirect the swing at the bottom which created a very poor ball roll, high grip pressure, pain, loss of accuracy and lots of frustration. Basically, I had lost my gift, I threw away what had made me special. Finally after about 7 months of trying to make things straighter, I made the decision that I would attempt to go back to doing what made me successful in the first place.
JPA:What steps did you take do to correct them? MM: It started in the first week of March. With a ton of support and help from my best friend Erik Vermilyea, (I owe so much of my success to him, Erik has always been there for me) I began trying to get "loopy" again, hoping to find that magical gift I used to have. It took a lot of practice of "just letting things go", getting my tempo, goofy footwork and loopy arm swing back. Every minute of practice was dedicated to feel. Feeling good at the line, feeling a good tempo, feeling relaxed. I had many days where I could not throw any good shots, maybe 1 out of 12 or so, but I knew I was on the right trail. It has gotten better over the last few months and I'm feeling confident again in my abilities. Thus far, I have become almost a hybrid of my old self. A little more tilt, a little less roll, a little straighter footwork, and a progressively straighter swing. Mike Jasnau commented that is was a huge difference from what he has seen in the past. The work will always continue, as I am never satisfied, I always want to keep getting better.
JPA: What were your goals going into the Inside Bowling open? MM: Really just to cash. I texted Erik Vermilyea that week and told him I would be lucky to cash. After a horrendous first squad, I was ready to pack it up for the weekend and focus on drinking the remainder of the tournament, but I was pushed by my backer Harvey Johnson to bowl again (Harvey has been a godsend, he has supported me so much and been a huge part of my recovery and I would not be where I am right now without his support and help). I ended up finding a good reaction and slowly but surely I found myself again. I felt all the good things that I had only had glimpses of during that last couple months, and I felt like I belonged, that I could compete and more importantly, that I could win. It turned out to be a good weekend. Lots of things went my way, but they always do when you it's your day to win.
JPA:What were the goals heading into USBCs after winning the IB open? MM: The goals this year were the same as the last and years prior. Good tempo, good shot making, and give yourself a chance to be competitive. I did all of those, however, the lane play was not the greatest and I played them completely wrong in d/s. It happens, even to someone who has three eagles. It was a good learning experience. I will be back next year and give it another run, by bowling standards, I have yet to reach my prime and look forward to getting back in the winner's circle a few more times before my career is over.
Next week in part two, McNiel talks about what made him think about walking away from the game altogether. And TBN's charming and delightful raisin columnist reviews this year's trip to the National Bowling Stadium.
Jason Belmonte named 2012-13 PBA Player of the Year and EJ Tackett earns Rookie of the Year
Estes wins 18th SASBA Title in Age Bracket Tourney!
Sean Rash, Kelly Kulick win World Bowling Tour finals
Read these complete stories and more in this week's paper found at your local bowling center!
Happy Holidays from all of us at The Bowling News
The Bowling News has published the last paper for the year (click here) and we will return January 9, 2014. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season. See you next year!
Genie and Tony
Joe Gennaro - 1926-2013
Born on May 1, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York and passed away on June 4, 2013 at his home in Dallas.
Joe is survived by his wife of 25 years, Sandra King Gennaro. Joe credited his wife for keeping him in good health.He reached his 87th birthday a month before his death.
Other survivors include children; Rock Gennaro (Tricia); Robert Collins, Bruce Tyler, Sr., and Annice Gregerson (Steve); grandchildren, Bruce Tyler, Jr., (Angie); James Tyler, Donald Tyler, Eric Gregerson (Kirsten); Michael Gregerson, and Jennifer Lewis (Jeff); as well as five great grandchildren; nieces, Margaret and Maria Gennaro; and nephew, Rocco Gennaro.
Joe was the owner and editor of The Bowling News for 53 years. He was instrumental in growing the sport in North Texas, and received numerous awards and accolades in the industry.
Joe will be remembered for his fierce pride in his Italian heritage, his love for family, (his love for Notre Dame University), and his strong sense of giving back to the community. His passion and spirit will continue to inspire those who knew him.
THE BOWLING NEWS and THE FORUM SWEEPER have issued A THROWDOWN. We each made a HARLEM SHAKE VIDEO so VOTE ON THE BEST ONE!
The Bowling News Harlem Shake
The Forum Sweep Harlem Shake
North Central Texas USBC Open City Tournament
March 9-10, 16-17, 23-24
$10,000 Added Prize Money
Doubles 381 Over Division
Zuniga, Jack/Jones-Whitney, Heather..1,631
Franklin, Tony/ Dacy, Clint......................1,575
Chetister, Alan/Vermilyea, Erik..............1,538
Pough, Roger/VanAntwerp, Chris.........1,520
Rodawalt, Lee/Rodawalt, Keith .............1,518 Lowest score to cash is 1,433
Full results click here
Doubles 380 Under Division
Colquitt, David/Price, Randy...........1,546
Wise, Jay/Ewig, Andrew...................1,522
Johnson, Sean/Johnson, Bryce......1,517
Graves, Norris/Bailey, Steve...........1,485
Montgomery, Brad/Autry, Jullian....1,482
Lowest score to cash is 1,419 Full results click here
Doubles Scratch Division Zuniga, Jack/Jones-Whitney, Heather..1,626
Franklin, Tony/ Dacy, Clint......................1,543
Chetister, Alan/Vermilyea, Erik..............1,538
Rice, Doug/Whitney, Ryan......................1,485
Donahue, Mike/Johnson, Chris.............1,465
Lowest score to cash is 1,433 Full results click here
Singles Scratch Division
Ray, Kelly L . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 803
Williams, Marcus A . . . . . . . . . . . . 801
McMicken, Rand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 791
Sienicki, Elizabeth R . . . . . . . . . . . 783
Donahue, Mike S . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 776
Lowest score to cash is 705 Full results click here
Singles 191 Over Division
Sienicki, Elizabeth R . . . . . . . . . . . 831
Maryland, Jason J. . . . . . . . . . . . . 815
Williams, Marcus A . . . . . . . . . . . . 811
Ray, Kelly L . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 808
McMicken, Rand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 791
Lowest score to cash is 719 Full results click here
Singles 190 Under Division
Herbert, Frank J . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 828
Cornelius, James E . . . . . . . . . . . . 803
Drews, Nikki J . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 795
Jones, Bennie F. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 794
Preston, Ronald G. . . . . . . . . . . . . 788
Lowest score to cash is 730 Full results click here
All Events Open Division
Sienicki, Elizabeth R . . . . . . . . . 2,397
Montgomery, Bradley O. . . . . . . 2,372
Maryland, Jason J. . . . . . . . . . . .2,342
Andersen, Ron C. . . . . . . . . . . . .2,319
Ray, Kelly L . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2,309
Lowest score to cash is 2,110 Full results click here
All Events Scratch Division
Ray, Kelly L . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,294
Franklin, Anthony T . . . . . . . . . .2,259
Williams, Marcus A . . . . . . . . . . 2,255
Sienicki, Elizabeth R . . . . . . . . . 2,253
Maryland, Jason J. . . . . . . . . . . .2,213
Lowest score to cash is 2,092 Full results click here
If you need additional information or have any questions, please contact
Tournament Director - Terry Taylor email@example.com
Random Thoughts - Pet Peeves and Lance Armstrong
By Tony Franklin, Publisher
Make sure to read Last Call with Leisha this week. She goes on a major rant describing all, or maybe most of her pet peeves. Some bowling related, some not. She mentions that she is working to curb her addiction to Dr. Pepper, and this rant could be the result of less caffeine in her diet. She definitely goes on the offensive against what gets under her skin. This got me thinking about my pet peeves.
Today I came face to face with one of my major pet peeves. I went to lunch at Freebirds, and if you've been there before you know that when you get your burrito maker, you'll also get hit with a flurry of questions. And I'm talking about the questions OTHER than what goes on my food. The "how's your day going," "you working today," "how's the weather out there," "what are you doing this weekend," type of questions. All of those random questions just beat me down. I understand they're just trying to be pleasant and friendly, but I'm just not into it. So based on Leisha's column, I decided to go on the offensive today too. I tried a new strategy, and it did NOT go as I had hoped.
When I got to the window it started…."How's your day going?" he asked. Now it's my turn…"terrible I said, I'm having a really bad day." This did not slow him down in the least. He asked "why," I responded with "well my dad was on the Oprah show last night," he responded with "oh yeah, why?" I said "oh he was just admitting to some terrible things he had done." To that my burrito wizard responded with "that's OK dude, this food will make you feel better." So the fact that I responded with a reference to the biggest news story of the day did not slow him down, nor was he even listening to what I was saying obviously. It's clear that he has no idea who Oprah is, nor, that Lance Armstrong was on her show last night. I could have lived with that being the end of the question and answer portion of lunch, but this only seemed to cause him to raise his game to the next level. He was hell-bent on making me feel better since my "dad" was on Oprah last night…..He offered me free queso, free guac, free chips. I declined all, because it would not have been right to benefit from a lie. Did you hear that Lance?
So my pet peeve is still a problem that I have not found. a solution to…yet. But I will, I will find a way to crack the Freebird servers, and have the questions be strictly food related.
So speaking of Lance Armstrong, let's talk about him for a few minutes. It's true that he was on the Oprah Winfrey Network last week. He went on with her to admit to taking Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED's) during his career and that he lied about taking them for a decade. This was his opportunity to face the music and come clean. I found the interview to be riveting, with shockingly honest answers by Armstrong. Some in the media have felt he wasn't honest enough, or didn't act contrite enough. I actually really liked the way that he answered the questions in a matter-of-fact tone. He was quick to respond and didn't seem to hide very much.
My fascination with his answers lie in one main area. Never before has an athlete with a pedigree as strong as his EVER come out and say they cheated. The baseball players that admitted to using steroids or PED's have tip-toed around what they did. They will say they were wrong, and they shouldn't have made that choice, but that's about as clear as they make it. Armstrong came right out and said YES to all in the first 30 seconds of the interview. I wasn't expecting that.
As a competitor I was most curious at what he thought about winning something when he KNOWS he was cheating. Does it still feel like you won? He responded that he didn't really feel like he was cheating, he felt that taking PED's in cycling DOES make it a level playing field. Shocking response in my opinion. If you have to hide what you are doing to level the field, then that IS cheating.
I could go on for days discussing this topic. Like I said, I'm just fascinated that he would come out and admit all he had done was a lie. No great athlete has ever done that before. But then, is he really that great after all? Bottom line….telling the truth is the way to go. Big lies will lead you to big problems. And that's what Lance has now, very big problems that he very much deserves.
And from what I've been told the PBA doesn't have a PED testing policy. I'm waiting for a reply from PBA Deputy Commisioner, Kirk Von Krueger on the matter.
The Bowling News Welcomes New Writers
The Bowling News would like to welcome two new writers to the family. Mark London, who lives in Gonzales, TX and Kayla Endicott who lives in Hutto, TX.
London will have a weekly column called “Just Paying Attention” that will provide us with his entertaining insights on Professional bowling and the game in general.
Endicott is a recent winner of the “Rising Star award” given by the Texas Bowling Writers, and will be a Staff Writer focusing on human interest stories and the like.
Please join me in welcoming these two great writers to our staff.
Is Bowling a Sport?
By Tony Franklin, Publisher
This age-old debate seems topical to me again, driven by the recent Olympics and the fact that several of the 32 Olympic “sports” can’t really be sports. I love watching the Olympics, and watched a ton of events this year as usual. To go along with watching, I’ve also followed several athletes on Twitter that has provided plenty of added entertainment. And if you follow @pbatour or @clarkPBA you have also gotten to see plenty of people mention that bowling should also be in the Olympics.
Bowling should be in the Olympics. It has grown into a hugely competitive game with lots of countries participating at a high level. That’s the very definition of an Olympic sport. But is bowling a sport? Here is the definition of ‘sport’ via www.thefreedictionary.com. “Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.”
Ok, I agree with that, however I like to break a “sport” down into four basic categories, and if it falls into at least three, then you’re probably a sport. If you don’t then you’re most likely a game.
1. There has to be something to win or lose.
2. If you are playing a sport then you should be playing it against someone else.
3. You should at least be in decent physical condition to play the sport, it should be physically demanding.
4. The sport should be difficult to do or at least very challenging.
So now that we have four categories defined let’s see how bowling measures up.
1. There is definitely something to win and something to lose in bowling, so I believe that bowling gets a checkmark for this one.
2. When you’re bowling, you’re bowling against the pins, but the score you get is put up against an opponent. That’s two for bowling.
3. This is where it gets dicey. You DON’T have to be in good physical condition to be a very good bowler. For almost all other sports you need to be in peak physical condition; in bowling it makes almost no difference. There will be some that argue that if you don’t take care of your body, then you won’t be a successful bowler. I disagree. I think being in good condition will help, but it’s not a difference maker. If I look at some of the top bowlers, or some all-time greats, I don’t see many that have ever taken the physical fitness route to be successful. There are some very good bowlers that do take physical fitness seriously like Ameleto Monacelli, Lonnie Waliczek, Shannon O’Keefe, and Stefanie Nation, to name few, but they are in the greater minority. I’ve always been out of shape, and I’ve spent most of my life as a very good bowler who competed at the highest levels. I’m not saying that you don’t have to be an athlete or athletic to bowl and bowl well, because I do believe that most good bowlers are very athletic, I’m just saying that physical fitness is not a prerequisite. Bowling does not make the cut on this one.
4. Last but not least; is bowling difficult or challenging? This one’s not even close. Bowling used to be tough, it used to be challenging, not today though. Last year on the PBA Tour, 20 players averaged 220 or higher. So at the top of the game on some of the most challenging conditions and venues the game has to offer, 20 bowlers had an AVERAGE score of 220. That’s way too easy. In 2010 there were only five that averaged over 220, six the season before that, and eight the season before that. That’s a trend that’s going the wrong way.
We are GIVING away high scores in this game. Sure league bowling is easy, but you would hope that at least the pros would be challenged, but they’re not. The point is that regardless of what level of bowler you are, it needs to be difficult, it needs to be challenging, and if it’s not, then this is just a game, not a sport.
So by my count there are two points in the column for bowling being a sport, and two points that say it’s not.
So what is bowling if it’s not a sport? I think bowling is a skill game, one that has certain characteristics of a sport, but not all of the characteristics. So the question is, does it matter if bowling is a sport or not? I think it does, I think the reason that bowling has never been on the stage it wanted to be on is because most people don’t view it as a sport. Bowlers view it as a sport, but nobody else does.
There is a video clip on PBA.com of Pete Weber talking about “is bowling a sport,” he relates it to golf. I don’t think golf is a sport either, but it has one thing that bowling doesn’t, at least golf is difficult. People sit at home and watch golf and know they can’t make the shot that Tiger Woods makes. People also sit at home and watch bowling and know that they CAN make the shot that Pete Weber makes. Whether or not that’s true, it’s NOT by the way, doesn’t matter because as soon as the fan thinks they can, bowling losses.
What ultimately stirred this all up for me was watching the BPAA Women’s US Open, the one where they bowled outside on the dust. That was the first time in about 15 years that I REALLY enjoyed watching a bowling match. The ladies were challenged on EVERY shot, having the “right ball” was not going to determine the winner; it came down to execution, determination, confidence, and out-performing your opponent. That’s what a sport looks like to me. On that day, those five ladies showed that bowling CAN be a sport.
Right now bowling is at a crossroad. It’s closer to being an entertaining game, than an entertaining sport. Bowling centers and ball companies have embraced bowling as a game by making it so easy to get strikes and shoot big scores. Effectively taking the challenge out of the game, and reducing it to entertainment.
So the question is how do we turn the tide and make this game difficult and challenging again? I badly want bowling to be viewed as a sport by the general public. I believe that if it was, then more casual fans would tune in to see something extraordinary. That’s why I pay money to see athletes perform in big-time sports. To see them do something that I CAN’T do. The playing field has been leveled considerably in bowling where the difference between mastery and very good aren’t that far apart anymore. I think bowling can get back to the point of being great, it won’t be easy, but then being great never is, or at least it shouldn’t be.
I’m sure my thoughts will lead to lots of differing opinions, and it should. There is no right answer on this one, but I do want to hear other points of view. Contact me at Tony@thebowlingnews.net or on Twitter @BowlingNewsNet
Kelly Kulick wins her 3rd BPAA US Women's Open Title in Reno, NV
Kelly Kulick talks about her 3rd US Women's Open title, ball choices and strategy after her win on the
street in Reno, NV.