March 16, 2007 19:00
By Del Ballard Jr.
I want to start off by saying it is a privilege to be asked to do the Life on Tour because I know there are MANY people they could have asked to do this! First off, I want to let everyone know why I am driving out the last two weeks. My wife is flying out to Indy with my little girlie Alyssa on Friday. I will have our van out the last two weeks to be able to bring home our bowling equipment after the World Championship. Of course my wife and daughter are flying home so I can drive by myself!!!!!
I left my pro shop at 4 p.m. and had to go back home for my lucky horseshoe. My wife gave it to me at the beginning of the year. She had that in her purse when she bowled on Tour. And trust me, it worked for her! Well, I got out of town around 5 p.m. and headed towards Indianapolis. I tried to avoid traffic leaving home and decided I would go north toward Oklahoma City to get there. Well, I went the long way and took a short cut through OK. Typical Del, I took the long way! The only thing I will say nice about Oklahoma is, I got pulled over for doing 82 in a 70 and got a warning!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? My brother-in-law Jeff was hot! He swears he never gets off for a ticket.
Well, after eight hours I made it to Little Rock, Ark. It is normally a five-hour drive. I wasn’t tired so I thought to myself, 'I can make it farther' and continued. I made it to Forest City by 1 a.m. and the hotels were full. So on I went. All the hotels were full until I made it to Missouri at 3 a.m. There was bad weather in eastern Arkansas two weeks earlier and there were work crews all through the area.
I woke up at 8 a.m. because I’m old, and then got on the road around 9. I called Corey Kistner to ask what time practice pairs would be available. He said around 1 p.m. Well I hauled trying to make it there to practice but wound up at the hotel at 3:15 p.m. Oh well, went to dinner with my brother in law Jeff Lizzi at Maggiano’s. Then I went to bed because the old man was tired.
I woke up at 7 a.m. when Jeff’s alarm went off. He got ready in an hour so I watched TV until 9. I have to get my Jag and Charmed fix in the mornings. Then I got ready and went to the bowl to watch. It is a requirement to let the family know how we bowl after each game so I text Cathy, Jeff’s wife, after each game. He wound up not making the cut, so he went to eat and I got ready for practice session. We had a player meeting after practice. I know that I might not be exempt next year, but I am a proud member of the PBA Tour and wanted to be a part of it. I came back to the room and watched two episodes of SVU, my third favorite show.
Woke up at 7 a.m. and watched two episodes of JAG and Charmed. Received a call from Paul Fleming wondering why I was running a little late. I told Paul I would be ready by 9. Sorry, Alyssa Milano and Catherine Bell were a must see! And if you didn’t know it, my daughter's name is Alyssa Catherine. Go figure.
I bowled okay the first round at plus 172. I just tried to keep up as the scoring pace has been high out here for a while. I talked to my tour rep Rick Benoit about a game plan for the night block. Went back to the bowl at 5 p.m. and bowled the night block. Well, as anyone can see, I missed another cut. I have missed the cut SO many times after being in the number that I am ready to quit. Well, we had our player meeting with Fred and hope a lot of good things come out of it.
I got up and drove to the airport to pick up my family. They flew in to hopefully watch me bowl, but we know how that turned out. Carolyn is going to bowl next week and wanted to come here early to practice. I got to spend the whole day with my daughter and had a great time.
Saturday means Pro-Ams. I had to bowl at 3 p.m. to make up for a Pro-Am for Mike Wolfe, and bowled the 6 p.m. squad also. It was St. Patrick’s Day and the wife and I went to Chili’s and had one beer.
We woke up early to drive to Grand Rapids as practice session was from 4 p.m. until 6 and it is a four and a half hour drive. We are sharing a room with my brother in law, Jeff, this week. It really made my day when Jeff calls and tells me he pulled a Del. He ran out of gas as he was driving through Toledo. We have this thing that when I need gas, I say, ‘I have plenty,’ and he always tell me that he hopes I run out. Arrived in Grand Rapids with just enough time to shower and get ready for practice. I dropped off my daughter with my long time friend Chris Warren and his wife Michelle so that we can practice. And that is the week of Del Ballard.
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