2011 USBC Masters – Amatuer’s View – Final Thoughts

The past few days have given me an opportunity that I have only dreamed of, participating in a PBA event.  Even though it didn’t end in a story book ending, it did give me an experience I’ll always remember and given the opportunity will happily do it again.  It did help having bowled the USBC Open here in Reno last year and knowing what the stadium would be like.

My kudos to the stadium staff.  They were pleasant and helpful.  They helped everyone with courtesy and respect regardless of stature, amatuer or pro.  They also made sure that all equipment the players would need was available for them.  You could do all ball maintenance necessary in the paddock short of ball drilling.  Ball drilling may not have been available in the paddock, but the was a pro shop truck available for that.

The number of balls the touring pros go through is staggering.  They made my 5 ball arsenal look like a bb gun.  The some of the pros also collaborated with each other setting up their equipment.  It had the feel of a team on league night with teammates borrowing from each other.

Most of the bowlers were friendly and approachable.  Most of the touring pros would say hi and talk if you approached them.  I found Carolyn Dorin-Ballard very easy to talk and joke with while we were bowling one of the sweepers.  The same could be said of some of the regional pros.  I bowled a sweeper with a regional pro JT ‘Action’ Jackson.  He was a character and though we were struggling, you wouldn’t have known it by talking to us.

On the flip side, there were some that seemed to look down their noses at amatuers.  There wasn’t a lot of comradery between bowlers out on the lanes.  Some yes, but not as a general rule.  I felt like a fish out of water with congratulations (open hand) and good try (fist).  It’s almost as if acknowledging someone else’s accomplishments you are admitting defeat.

Case in point, I was watching a few lanes this morning.  There were 3 bowlers per pair of lanes.  On one pair was Brad Angelo and on the other pair was Jack Jurek.  During game 3 of this morning Brad rolled 10 strikes in a row before it ended in the 11th.  Jack was the only person to acknowledge the accomplishment out of the 9 bowlers in the general area.

I grew up being taught sportsmanship.  Everyone wants to win, and I was taught to acknowledge the victor when the contest is over.  It’s hard, I know.  I don’t like to lose, but displaying a lack of sportsmanship isn’t the way to do it.  I guess I was expecting a tighter friendlier community.

The hardest thing for me to adjust to was 2 lane courtesy.  There were plenty of bowlers that felt you should know what they’re thinking.  The were a couple that seemed to have a new manner of letting you go first or wanting to go first.  Personally, I found rather annoying, but this is how the PBA works and you have to adapt.  I will admit struggling with signals.  Back home I was often told I take a long time and didn’t want to slow anyone down while I was here.  Oh well, there’s always something new to learn.

Overall, this has been an enjoyable and educational trip for me.  One, as I stated before, given the opportunity I’d repeat without a second thought.  Good luck and good bowling everyone.

5 responses to “2011 USBC Masters – Amatuer’s View – Final Thoughts

  1. Hi Ed,
    I glad that you were able to see how the Masters were handled and the people react in major tournaments. Your comments on your visit was interesting and informative to the bowlers who never leave their home lanes or state.

  2. Ed, great writing on the experience out the the USBC Masters. I have had the pleasure in bowling in several of these, and have enjoyed it more each time out. The one thing you have to keep in mind when it comes to the sportsmanship aspect of the game during tournament play is that this is a job to these guys out on tour. It’s different when one of us bowl 10 in a row in league when it’s considered a night out and everyone goes to have a laugh, sportsmanship comes easy. But, when an opponent rolls 10 in a row to possibly cost you a spot in the top 24, or bounce you out of cash contention to take food out of your mouth, then it takes on a whole new conetation. I always tried to put myself in their shoes and thought how I feel when I am at work, which means rarely smiling and trying my best to get the job done to support my family the best way i know how. This is how it is for the PBA pros, too. While many of them bowl because they love it, there are equally those who NEED to bowl well to provide for their families.

    If you get the chance, hang out with some of these guys off the lanes, you will find most of them very hospitible and more willing to open up and be themselves off the lanes. For example, many people don’t like Pete Weber on the lanes becuase of his brash behavior, but I was able to sit in the bar with him and get to know him and he is a wonderful person who is just a fiery competitor out there. I take what I see from these guys out on the lanes with a grain of salt, because I was out at the tournament to do my best, have fun, gain experience, and go home to my job at a later date. But, for the PBA guys, I was AT their job site all week, which really put it in a different perspective when I thought about it like that. Great writing and bowling Ed, and I look forward to talking to you soon!

    James Goulding III
    M.I.S.T. Tournament Manager

  3. Bonnie Harzewski

    As a newish league bowler, it was interesting to see how similar your comments were to the concerns of us less experienced bowlers, when faced with a more challenging situation. Both mine and my kids. So it’s a struggle then for everyone to maintain a positive frame of mind?

    Glad to see that you were positively evaluating each day. Hope you get another shot at it soon.

  4. Good piece of advice for beginners like me. Thanks for sharing this well made article of yours.

    • Glad you liked the articles. It was an enjoyable learning experience. One that I’ll enjoy more the next time around.

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