We aren’t even near next week’s peak, where four tournaments will be decided on four consecutive nights of nationally televised broadcasts – a first for the Professional Bowlers Association – and yet bowling fans have been treated to some unbelievable feats at Thunderbowl Lanes.
One of the PBA tour’s fan favorites, Dom Barrett, who is from England, came to Allen Park with the most career 300 games in WSOB competition. And sure enough, he rolled his ninth perfect WSOB game this week!
But it hasn’t been all fun and games for the pros, as five consecutive games causes massive changes to the oil pattern, and the adjustments are difficult. The casual bowler just doesn’t understand how critical these adjustments are.
I’ve been watching these players make radical changes to their bowling approaches and equipment during the five game blocks to try and keep their ball hitting the pins at the preferred angle and position. But it doesn’t always work, and I’ve also seen some really ugly splits. But these splits show just how good these pros are: I lost count of the number of big splits they converted into spares. And bowling fans this week lucky enough to be watching Jason Belmonte from Australia and our own Andrew Anderson from Holly on the right day and time, saw something incredible: both Jason and Andrew converted the 7-10 split! There is no secret to making this split…it’s 99.9% luck.
Both of them got lucky bounces out of the pit that sent the pin they hit across the lane to take out the other pin. Now THIS isn’t something you get to see every day.
This week is a true physical and mental grind for the bowlers. Each day, they bowl a five-game set from roughly 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and then ANOTHER five-game set from 6:30 p.m. to roughly 10:30 p.m.
They are doing this for four consecutive days, and a sixth day (Saturday) for those who qualify for PBA World Championship match play. Do you think you could handle this? I seriously doubt it…even those of you who bowl more than one bowling league a week.
I’ve said time and time again that professional bowlers are the most fan-friendly and accommodating professional athletes on the planet. They are more than willing to sign autographs and take photos with you after competition is done, and truly appreciate and enjoy their fan interaction. This is a perfect event to take the kids to. Not only do you get to watch from a vantage point that’s closer than at any other professional sporting event you’ll ever go to, but you can move around and watch different players…they all compete at the same time. If you come down to Thunderbowl, tell your kids to be polite, but not to be bashful about asking them to sign a pin (you can buy pins there) or take a photo!
As mentioned above, Dom Barrett is a tour favorite, and I consider him to be one of the genuinely nicest guys on tour (maybe it’s also because he’s from England). I had the privilege of spending some time with Dom this week, and I think you’ll enjoy hearing our conversation.
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