The Million Dollar Game…

After tossing around numerous topics to blog about after this years’ US Open I finally committed to answering a question which I have been asked repeatedly throughout the years. And so many times I’ve gotten the response of, “If I had your game, I’d have 15 titles” before I even have a chance to answer the question – question being, “How does someone with your swing, timing, versatility, and knowledge not win more?” I am humbly taking the time to answer that question.

We’ve all heard the coined phrase ‘jack of all trades and master of none’. It is my bowling religion TO BE a master of being a jack of all trades. The ‘master of none’ part has been the one missing piece. But, from the wisdom of Norm Duke, I believe that I do not have an A-game, I do not have a B-game, nor a one, two, or a three. What I have is the ability to play the game of bowling, and in my opinion if you’re going to play that game well, then you must be a jack of all trades. I hear so often in my teachings, exhibitions, coaching and in my own pro shop “I like to play that Walter Ray Williams, Jr. line….I just like to throw it up that second arrow with a little bit of hook on the end”. This person does not understand the game of bowling. It is not darts. It changes. Bowling is always played in a conditional environment and one must adapt to those conditions if they want to be successful. So many of my customers would rather bitch and complain than adapt. They’re not “playing” bowling. They’re throwing a bowling ball and waiting for the condition to adapt to them. That’s not me.

I also believe that being versatile is not solely about being able to play each arrow on the lane. To me it’s about being able to perform any desired combination of throwing a bowling ball. To be able to control axis rotation, axis tilt, ball speed, rev-rate, trajectory, launch angle, and loft (etc.?) is an art of which I’ve spent my entire career dedicated to masterfully personalizing. And matching one of those combinations to a condition placed in front of you is what we would like to think of as an equation that can be solved, but in reality it is just an estimation. There is always a way to play the lane in a manner which increases margin for error and carry percentage. I always want to have those working in my favor. If Wes Malott is throwing it over the gutter caps and covering 35 boards, I’m not going to watch him beat me. And if Norm Duke and Walter Ray Williams, Jr. are lapping the field playing right of the first arrow, I’m certainly not going to continue playing the part of the lane in which I feel I have no room to miss. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. And if you want to win, you have to beat THEM.

The moral of the story is the Boyz on Tour have gotten so good at their A-1 games and there are so many of them that it is very difficult to excel in their realm. I can compete on all ends of the spectrum and everywhere in between but I’ve not yet mastered those various points across the spectrum to beat the best in the world from any part of them. One still has to repeat a desired delivery and the toughest part of being as versatile as I am, is managing ALL of those ways to hurl it down there at those stationary objects. It gets even more difficult to master when we only bowl competitively at a top level every couple of months, as compared to the old tour when we competed in one tournament a week and then moved on to another city and repeated the process for approximately 20 out of 24 consecutive weeks. Still, everyone needs to find a way to compete when they can’t find the right combinations. I have to admit that over the years when I’ve been unable to find the right combination I have done a piss-poor job at grinding it out and staying in contention with the new formats of the tour. I learn every time I fail. But what I have done is develop a physical game which I believe can never be shut out. Sometimes I take too big of a swing for the fence.

Does that answer the question?

So about this years’ US Open… It was different, and I didn’t like it. And that’s all I have to say about that.

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