To say that this Sunday was packed with lots of great TV sports would be a lot like saying the Pope is Catholic. Super Sunday had one of the classic Super Bowl games in history, another epic Federer/Nadal Grand Slam final, the PGA Tour’s version of MTV Spring Break aka the FBR Open (love that crazy 16th hole!), the announcement of the NBA’s All-Star Teams and Michael Phelps getting knocked off of his perch atop Mt. Olympics by a marijuana pipe.
And speaking of setting things up and knocking them down, there was also a PBA mixed doubles tournament to watch, or to quote Rob Stone, “squeeze in like some skinny cheese!” Skinny cheese? Ex-squeeze me? (Rob had a few other quotes this week that were a bit off the reservation…more on that later).
Match 1 featured two TV newcomers, Tom Hess and Laura Hardeman, taking on relative veterans Brad Angelo and Shannon Pluhowsky. The match was tight until Hess flagged a four pin in the 8th frame, sealing his team’s fate 247-209. Pluhowsky was the most impressive thing to watch in this match, as she bombed the left lane like a KGB assassin (and looked the part too with her spiky hair and cold poker-faced stare). How has she not made a show on the Women’s Series this year? The competition is rough folks.
In Match 2 we had two more fresh-faced newcomers Jen Petrick and Steve Harman, who each might be the best players yet to make TV. Harman throws it like a less-hopped up version of Kenny Simard, while Petrick is very much in the mode of the cyber-strokers that make up a large percentage of the women’s field. But she showed her human side in the practice session prior to the match by bludgeoning her ankle and therefore resembling Curt Schilling with his bloody sock in the World Series a few years back.
Pluhowsky lost her carry and Angelo lost his ball reaction in this match while team Petrick/Harman cruised to a 217-199 win. The score would’ve been even more lopsided were it not for a late Greek Church by Petrick that made it a game for a few seconds.
In recapping Match 3, I’ll stick to that well-known and useful-to-follow aphorism, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” So I’ll keep my comments on this snoozer of a match real short. Petrick/Harman defeated Carolyn Dorin-Ballard and Sean Rash 166-155. To quote Simon and Garfunkel, “Where have you gone, Sean Rash-i-o?” Weren’t you the guy who was invincible on TV just last year? Now the man with the most unfortunate nickname, perhaps ever in any sport, is looking more like Ernie Schlegel-The Early Years than Tommy Jones circa 2005-2007.
That set up one of the most lopsided title match-ups of all-time, pitting the two newbies against arguably the best female bowler on the planet (especially if you judge by her results against the men) and Norm Duke (what more needs to be said about him?) It played out on the lanes exactly as it would on paper, with the veterans putting the match away early by just throwing strikes (they had a 52-pin lead by frame 5 and kept their feet on the gas pedal) until we started wondering if, maybe, they could do the impossible and shoot a perfect 300 game. They kept it going through 9 frames and had the guy I’d choose to throw a strike to save my life up in the 10th for bowling immortality (although, if you’re already a bowling immortal like Duke, what would he get? Double secret immortality?) Duke shockingly stepped up and borrowed Rhino Page’s 11th frame shot from last week and left a 6-count washout, which he converted and then followed with an 8-count for a very strange final score of 274…easily enough to defeat the 180 posted by their opponents.
To quote American Idol’s Randy Jackson (that would make it two AI references in as many recaps...so judge my own TV viewing habits for yourself), this week’s show “was just OK for me.” On a day filled with the absolute best the sports world had to offer, even though I’m one of the world’s biggest bowling fans, I’d be lying if I said this ranked even close. I have no clue what the expectations for viewership were for this week’s telecast, or if the assumption is that the other sports would simply command too many of the viewers’ eyeballs, but I was kind of hoping for something a little more Super this Sunday. The good news is that next week, the PBA is coming to my hometown and I plan to be there in the flesh for at least some of the action! (I was even planning to donate some money to the PBA Player Retirement Fund by shoeing up myself, but my wife is due with a baby any minute so that idea’s been nixed…although it was a really tough decision…OK not really.) Hope to see all my LA friends out in support as well!
Here are a few other items of note for this week’s show:
- Rob had a few doozies come out of his mouth this week: the aforementioned “squeeze in some skinny cheese” non-sequitor and then, after Petrick left a 7-10, “how about strapping on the 7-10 feedbag?” I’m guessing neither of those phrases will be made into a patch (Hambone has been made into a patch in case you didn’t know) by the USBC.
- They showed the “updated points list” for the West Coast Swing, except that it was “as of January 12.” Couldn’t that segment be cut out or at least updated with the current list?
- Nice spare shooting this week…NOT! Four flagged single pins in four matches. I hear Walter Ray developed an eye twitch while watching the show.
- Steve Harman whining in the 10th frame of the title match. Dude, no one cares about your bad carry when you’re losing by 100 and Norm Duke has a pop at 300. Just smile and get out of the way…like your partner graciously did in the 9th. But I do like the way you throw the ball.