Hello Detroit! Wait…that was cheesy. Greetings!...no, that doesn’t work either. *Cue intro music* When I found out that Andrew’s Angle would be back for the 2009-10 season, starting with the World Series of Bowling in Detroit, for some reason Eminem’s “Without Me” popped into my head and the intro kept replaying like a broken record. “Guess who’s back, back again…Shady’s back, tell a friend.” Now if only I could get Jason Thomas to link up some intro music when he’s not too busy producing his TV Recap, The Bowling Show, and the myriad of other responsibilities he has on his plate (does anyone else out there suspect he is “The Bowling Shoe Guy”? That one has me stumped)…
I hope some of my faithful readers from last season missed Andrew’s Angle during the summer hiatus. If you are raising your hand high in the air, and are someone other than my wife, one of my parents, or a distant British friend, thank you and welcome back. For the novice reader, thank you for clicking, and get ready for a wild ride through the trials and tribulations of the PBA Tour through my eyes.
Recapping last season can be done in a few short words: I struggled, I learned, I lost. Despite the lack of inspiration in those few words (and truly sounds more like the makings of a Shakespeare tragedy), I did learn plenty about myself as both a person and a bowler. My first year as an exempt player came and went in a flash of blinding light. Earning that exemption was not the ultimate goal on my bowling wish list, but it was possibly the largest stepping stone toward realizing a lifelong career. Through the 20 weeks of the 2008-09 season, I scratched, clawed, and dug for every pin and simply couldn’t perform at the level at which I believed I was capable. This was the struggle. In the end, my effort wasn’t enough. I needed to bowl better. I needed to get better.
I learned. I didn’t waste a moment during my less-than-illustrious season analyzing my mistakes and swearing not to repeat them (coincidentally, analyzing too much turned out to be one of my biggest mistakes). Typical struggles involve mind over matter. Not bowling. No, bowling at the highest level is more a question of matter over mind. Confused? I’m not implying that the sport is more physical than mental, but that the thought process must be as automatic as the physical execution. Act, react, anticipate is the formula for bowling, not act, think, then panic. I did too much of the latter, which led me to part three.
I lost. Struggling and learning put me on a path to losing my exemption, being relegated to Tour Trials and chasing TQRs to regain my shot at professional glory. I constantly hear people spewing about the common misconception that being a professional bowler is limited to those who possess full exemptions on the “big” Tour. Not true! Let me reiterate…NOT TRUE! Chasing TQRs, bowling an extra day every week, and not having a guaranteed paycheck are simply additional requirements added to the job description of a non-exempt professional. Life is far more difficult from my current position, and at the end of last season, I felt as though I had lost my job. The truth is that I can’t even begin to comprehend what “losing my job” truly entails. As I write this blog, I am sitting in Detroit in the midst of thousands of hard-working Americans who lost their jobs. To put it in perspective, all I did was hit a minor speed bump. I have all my functioning limbs, my mind intact, and am fortunate enough to wake up and have an environment that affords me the opportunity for a paycheck.
Now let’s get on with the new season and the World Series. Lessons learned and my bags packed, I headed to Detroit last Friday. Two things made this possible: preparation and dedication.
The preparation is of your standard garden variety. I practiced, worked out (including brutal, and I mean brutal in the most…well, brutal, sense of the word…but more about that in a future Angle), and took some much deserved rest to be in peak shape for the month-long extravaganza in Detroit. Rest was the most crucial part of my preparation, although it may not sound like it when I tell you that this “rest” consisted of a 7-day Caribbean cruise with my wife. No bowling balls, no talk of bowling or work, but just thoughts of sun and umbrellas adorning my tropical beverage. As for the dedication, how about I throw out a number…say, 2000? That’s the number of miles my father (who is obviously as equally dedicated to my success, as he voluntarily sat in a car for 3 days, only to fly back to Phoenix immediately upon arriving in Detroit) and I trekked across some of the flattest and least scenic (read: eastern New Mexico and the Texas panhandle) landscape in the pursuit of a bowling dream. That drive, coupled with leaving behind my family and friends for six weeks, says it all.
Throughout the rest of August and through the World Championship, I will be bringing Andrew’s Angle to you weekly (possibly more frequently, as the schedule allows), and will include not only my thoughts, but bowling highlights, lowlights, and the occasional story that can only occur with life on the road. My roommates consist of veteran Tour player Michael Haugen Jr., fellow left-hander and European Tour standout Paul Moor, and Stuart “God Save the Queen, because I’m the King!” Williams, and we are sharing a house for the duration of the tournaments…perhaps I’ll devote a small section each week to our version of PBA Real World: Detroit. For now I need to head out on our rare day off, as the Deeeeetroit Tigers game starts shortly and we’re running a little late…I also need to go move my car to avoid serious damage. Haugen is teaching our two British gents to throw a football as opposed to their crazy notion that footballs must all be kicked. Judging by what I’m seeing, maybe we should all stick to bowling!