My son, Justin has always been a bowler since a little boy. This week we spent in Indianapolis with the best junior bowlers in the country. Here, at the USBC Junior Gold Championships, 1000 boys and about 700 girls competed all week for scholarship money and trophies. Some truly amazing bowlers. I've learned much about bowling because of my son's involvement... I've always been fascinated at any sport played at advanced levels. The competition, the way the athletes handle themselves under stress and the emotions running wild in the fanbase. This week was no different. Most people don't realize that bowling at advanced levels is much more difficult than what you do on the weekend with your friends. The lanes are oiled in many difficult patterns which force the bowler to quickly adjust his/her game. Oil means spin has little effect, the ball won't "grab" the lane. I saw several bowlers who probably kick butt on their home bowling center with easy oil. But they come here and are completely lost. These bowlers show up with no less than 6 balls for all conditions, not to mention tapes for adjusting holes, different soles for shoes, special papers that take the gloss out of a ball, wire brushes, etc. It goes on and on.
I watched the final today where the 16 finalists bowl 16 games for the title. An 18 year old boy from Maryland missed the title by 2 pins... His father was crushed. I know how emotional the parents get. I watch my Justin win a Florida tournament last year where they bowled 24 games in two days. It came down to Justin and one other for the title.. My son bowled a 290 and I thought I was going to bust. Bowlers don't make the kind of money that, say, golfers do, but I am thrilled he's passionate about something in his life. I will be attending many more matches, I can guarantee.