ARCHIVES - 2023
Dec. 22 - Holiday
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Random Thoughts by Tony Franklin
December 7, 2023
The PBA Southwest Region held their annual Hall of Fame Banquet in Shawnee, OK over the weekend and inducted a great class of John Burns, Mark Williams, and Del Ballard Jr. The criteria for induction in the performance category is to have at least 10 titles…I really like the fact that there is a ‘number’ associated with the requirement to be inducted.
Most bowling Hall of Fames are based on subjective criteria, which is totally fine, because there is a consistent metric that a bowler could shoot for. However, for the PBA that’s different, because it’s based on performance in PBA events.
10 titles seems like a perfect number to me, especially when you think about the amazing amount of talent that has come out of the Southwest Region in the last 40 years. It is no small feat to win 10 times and if you do, well you are a stud in my eyes. Mark Williams is still out there competing today and he is just as competitive as he ever was…I only wish that Del’s health would cooperate so that he could still bowl. I miss having him out there so badly.
And speaking of SW PBA Hall of Famers, one that was inducted last year won his first PBA tournament in over 30 years in Beaumont last month. Pete McCordic who recently turned 70 years old, won the PBA50 Beaumont SW Region Open and said he thinks that this is his first regional title since 1992. McCordic spent over 25 years as the SW PBA Regional Director, so he was not allowed to bowl any regional events during those years, but now that he has retired and turned the reigns over to Tony Lanning, he can bowl as much as he wants. His hard work and dedication to the game has paid off as he found the winners circle once again. McCordic is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, an amazing talent, and in my opinion is the owner of the most famous bowling moment in television history, his 300 game and $100,000 bonus in 1987 at the Greater LA Open in Torrance, CA.
“I still get chills thinking about it. The tenth frame was pretty memorable, the first shot I kind of lost, but the second one I threw pure and that relaxed me a little bit. The last shot was feet away push right, hit the target, I missed the target though and the good lord stuck his hand down and held it in the pocket and it struck,” Pete said.
The next tournament was in Grand Prairie at Forum Bowl, so he was back in Texas and got to receive lots of home-state congratulations considering there hadn’t been a televised 300 game in 13 years.
“Even now I get comments from people that tell me they remember the shot, and where they were when they watched. I think it was memorable for a lot of people,” he added.
One other cool fact that I will always remember was that he threw a different ball on each lane during the telecast. “I made that decision about five minutes before airtime. I had a good reaction on the right lane, but nothing on the left lane, so I ran out to the locker room, grabbed a ball I hadn’t thrown, threw it on the left lane, it struck, but it didn’t look good on the right lane. Goose (Tournament Director, Harry Golden) said time was up, so I decided I would throw a different ball on each lane,” he said.
The cool thing was I asked Pete about his memories of that day right before he bowled the finals in Beaumont…maybe reliving that awesome memory brought the legend in him back out. Either way, I will also never forget watching him that day in 1987. I was bowling YABA Dallas Travel League and we were all glued to the TV watching. The close-up of him shaking before those final two shots and his arms in the air after the last one struck. I get chills thinking about it too.
This is our final Bowling News edition for the year…67 years in the books. Genie and I continue to be honored to publish this paper and keep up the legacy that Joe Gennaro created. I wonder what he would say about something that he created, thriving and surviving for 67 years…I hope he would be proud…I’m sure of it. For Genie, GMA, Mark London, Susie Minshew, Dave Williams, and all of our other contributors…THANK YOU SO MUCH for picking the paper up each month and turning the pages.
This paper is an all-time bowling Hall of Famer!
See you in January!
Tony and Genie Franklin
Random Thoughts by Tony Franklin
July 6, 2023
Junior Gold starts in two weeks in Indianapolis, IN. The second time there in the last three years. Good luck to all our youth stars in the Southwest area, let's get some players on the TV show!! All of the action can be seen on BowlTv. Results coming your way next month.
Huge news coming out of the PBA this week…
Neil Stremmel, PBA Director of Rules and Equipment, has established new rules concerning Urethane and Urethane-like equipment; they will have a new minimum hardness of 78HD. This rule will be effective on Jan. 6, 2024, and will impact all levels of PBA competition. A second rule going into place will be that any ball produced prior to Aug. 1, 2022 will no longer be able to be used on the PBA National tour. This is a really BIG deal considering how many high-rev players and left-handers use Urethane equipment almost exclusively. It could have a very big impact to some top players and not in a positive way. I personally don’t have an issue with the usage of urethane at any point, or any level, but those that can use it effectively, especially from the left side can be almost impossible to beat. I will be back in the next issue with some additional thoughts from local PBA players, so let’s let this marinate a little.
Tori Franklin Wins Texas High School Region II Girls Singles; Sets Two State Records
March 9, 2023
PLANO, TX – Tori Franklin, a sophomore at Frisco High School, had her sights set on a repeat singles title at the Texas High School Region II Tournament held at Plano Super Bowl Sunday, Mar. 5.
Franklin had to work for it as Allen HS Freshman, Clara Campbell, came out strong with games of 256-216 to set the high scoring pace. But, Tori's third game of 287 helped her take a seventy pin lead and never look back, winning back-to-back singles titles and advancing to the State Singles Championship held in San Antonio in a few weeks.
With a fourth game of 224, Franklin then set a 4-game high school state record with 995 which beat Kayla Endicott's 979 set in 2012 and Tori's final game of 226 set the 5-game state record with 1,221 overtaking Asia Wren's 1,211 set in 2016.
Campbell finished with 1,154 and Colleyville Heritage Senior, Savannah Burgin's final game of 261 catapulted her into third with 1,104. Birdville Senior, Morgan Davis held on to the last advancing spot with 1,073.
On the Boy's side, Plano Sr. HS Senior, Noah Turner had a chance at a perfecto on his way to the singles title, but left a few pins for a 298 and 1,168 final score. Allen HS, Joshua Budnik, finished strong for 1,141 and Plano Sr. HS Senior, Christopher Warren finished with 260 to qualify third with 1,116. Bret Bates from Timber Creek posted 1,083, Steven Bowman of Richland HS rolled 1,081 for fifth and Allen HS, Garrett Smith had a nice 236 the last game for 1,074 to capture the final spot to advance to State.
The Boys' Team Finals had some excitement coming into the home stretch as only 37 pins separated first from third. Plano East had a final baker game of 180 to hold off the Allen Eagles and Centennial Titans to take the team title with 2,576. The Eagles rolled a baker 197 to finish with 2,548 and the Titans came in with 160 the last game to record 2,539 and advance to State. Fort Worth's Chisholm Trail posted the last two baker games of 275 and 188, but fell 50 pins short of Centennial.
The Girl's Allen Eagles took control early to post 2,486 to win the Girl's Team title while Plano East and Richland HS earned their way to State.
Go to Page 10 in this issue for team and singles pictures from regionals across the state.
Random Thoughts by Tony Franklin
September 8, 2022
This was my tease in last month’s column on the difficulty of the Junior Gold lane conditions, which I believe are way, way too difficult…It’s NOT helping them develop their skills, it’s NOT increasing their enjoyment of the game, it’s NOT helping grow the sport. Most of the youth tournaments I’ve seen first-hand in the last couple of years, follow suit with the difficulty of the Junior Gold conditions because they are the big kid on the block, and maybe they also think that’s the right thing to do…I’m really not sure.
I will focus on just a couple of areas that I see as a real problem and ultimately a failure in thinking by the leadership of most youth tournaments.
Nick Hoagland is the USBC Lane Pattern Designer and I am a fan of his, was on the BowlTV Livestream during Junior Gold and was asked about why the lanes are so challenging. His response was that it was helping develop critical skills for the youth bowlers. Problem number one right there. These conditions aren’t developing skills for the youth bowlers and here’s why I believe that. If you listen to any professional bowler, or coach, or parent, or anyone of influence as they are giving advice to the kids prior to the start of Junior Gold, they only say one thing…make your spares. I can’t tell you how many Pros I’ve seen talk with the kids at the registration event and they always say…make your spares. Video clips of the best players in the game, played right before the event…make your spares. Of course…make your spares is very important, everybody knows that…but how about you get some advice from Belmo on how to play a 42’ flat 2.5:1 ratio pattern. That would be some advice that would actually build the skill of these athletes. But you never see that. Now, telling the athletes how to effectively play the lanes 24 hours prior to them starting the event isn’t going to do a lot of good anyway, because they haven’t had a chance to practice this newfound advice.
Which leads to the second problem. Even if they are able to practice on these lane patterns back at home, the availability of a top-level coach or player to help them is very slim. The number of people in the United States that truly know how best to attack these very difficult lane patterns is a small number. If you haven’t bowled on these types of patterns with some serious regularity, then you aren’t fit to instruct a developing 16-yr-old, that’s still working on the finer points of execution, on what they should do. DFW is a huge bowling market, with some serious talent, and there are only 10 people TOPS that I would trust to pull my daughter aside and say, “you need to do this.” So, what the youth tournaments are doing is putting very difficult patterns out for the kids, but as they’re bowling, they’re not learning, they are not developing, because no one there watching has any idea what to do in order to help the athletes be more successful. So, then what do we tell the kids…make your spares.
The lanes are so difficult that a spare and a strike are virtually the same thing…a mark. On these patterns, they will never string strikes together in order to shoot a big game, so a spare is just as good as a strike. As they get older and bowl against better competition, and then bowl against adults for money, they find that a nice clean 200 game is not very good even though it was winning tournaments as a youth bowler. We are not setting our future generations of great bowlers up for success, because they aren’t learning the most important thing about difficult lane conditions…you have to strike on them TOO in order to win. AND in order to string those strikes you need experience on these lane patterns, but not blind experience, you need someone that KNOWS what they are doing, to help you. THAT’S the hard part. They are not prepared for these conditions and there aren’t many people out there capable of preparing them for it…certainly not when there are +3500 athletes bowling Junior Gold.
It’s hard folks…experience and proper training are difficult to come by, there’s a reason why the same five people win all of the PBA and PWBA tournaments every year. They are highly experienced and very good. Shannon O’Keefe just won her third PWBA Player of the Year Award in the last four years and she’s 43 years old. She doesn’t get challenged by the young up and commers very often and that’s a problem for the sport. It’s the same thing on the PBA tour. They never get experience throwing strikes, because they never bowl a tournament where strikes matter very much. The kids bowl in college where its mostly baker matches, then go bowl some PWBA tournament and try to beat O’Keefe…good luck with that.
The other concern, I have about the difficulty of the lane conditions for the youth bowlers, is that I just don’t see many kids having fun. I watched the U18 girls bowl on the short pattern and it was really disheartening watching how depressed and embarrassed 90% of the girls were made to feel. The U18 group is supposedly the most experienced right? But the short patterns are the toughest, with the smallest room for error and these kids looked miserable. As a fan of bowling and a parent, it was tough to watch. In the U18 Girls division, for the 16 games of qualifying, only 2% of the 570 entrants averaged over 200 and for the U18 Boys it was 10% of the 1164 that averaged over 200.
I wonder how many would say they really developed some skills that week…
This is not an indictment of Junior Gold, but on youth bowling as a whole. We are putting too much stress on the kids without providing them an outlet to truly get better and most importantly have some stinking fun while they are doing it.
Random Thoughts by Tony Franklin
August 4, 2022
We had one of those great moments in bowling this week as John Burkett won his first national PBA title, after about 50 career events. He defeated Eugene McCune to win the PBA50 South Shore open in Hammond, IN. Most people know Burkett’s story as a Professional Baseball player, but he has always said he’s just a bowler who was really good at pitching, and his victory last week was the professional moment he’s been waiting for. Earlier in the week, he received some awful news as his mother-in-law had a serious health event that had him ready to hit the eject button from the tournament, but his wife Laura told him to keep bowling, but get to Tennessee as quick as you can.
Burkett decided right there that he was going to win this one for mom. As is normally the case, it took a series of unexpected events to get him to the title match with McCune. His second round of match-play was against Chris Barnes, so he knew it was on, “To beat Barnes, I knew I needed 700, so I grabbed the Reality, which I haven’t thrown very much, and sanded it with 360. I was looking to just burn a spot, so I would have some hook, but it turned out to be nuts, so every match after that I sanded it with fresh 360,” said Burkett. Barnes, however, was in control until a late missed spare gave Burkett the opening he needed. “You never expect Barnes to miss, but he airmailed the 3-6 which gave me a chance to double in the tenth and I did,” he added. From there, he faced PBA50 champion Brian LeClair for the chance to make the finals. “I got out to a great start the first game, but then LeClair moved out to where I was playing and considering he is a better shot-maker than me, I thought I was in trouble,” he said. LeClair had a huge second game, but again a faulty finish allowed Burkett to finish him off. Next up, Burkett faced Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III in the finals, and after a strong finish, it came down to Bohn needing just a mark in the tenth to close him out, but a wayward shot resulted in a split and Burkett advanced once again.
So, three straight matches Burkett was up against the ropes, but persevered. Good fortune and great shot-making put him in position for his first title. “As soon as I beat Barnes, I told my wife I was going to win this for her mother. I don’t know if these crazy breaks are what it takes to win, if so, I may never win again,” said Burkett. His decision on how to play the lanes was the difference-maker. He was able to do something no one else could and he was dealing. He took care of Lennie Boresch in the semi-final and McCune for the win. Burkett was kept calm by focusing on his mother-in-law and in the end, it helped him realize a childhood dream. “An unbelievable feeling. I had great moments pitching, 20 wins, but this is my greatest sports moment. In order to win on the PBA50 tour, you have to go through five hall of famers every week. Even if you have a good look, they’re better. I felt my window was closing and wasn’t sure it was going to happen, but boom it did.” I think everyone I’ve talked to has been so excited for Burky, nobody has as much fun bowling as he does and he just loves to compete. I, for one, am very happy and proud of him, he totally earned this W. As Mark Holtz, former Texas Rangers announcer, would say…Hello Win Column!
Fans of Professional Bowling…this is our week…the best female bowlers on the planet are in town, competing in three PWBA events at USA Bowl in Dallas. The first event starts on Wednesday Aug 3rd with the Stepladder finals being held at 7pm on Thursday. The Pepsi Classic starts on Friday with the Stepladder finals for that event on Saturday at 7pm.
The final event is the PWBA Tour Championship starting on Sunday with the Live Stepladder finals on the CBS Sports Network on Tuesday at 6pm. Plenty of great bowling to be enjoyed this week, make sure to visit USA Bowl and cheer on these amazing athletes, we will see you there!
Junior Gold week is complete and all I can say about Grand Rapids, Michigan is…I like it very much. As with most northern cities, I’m sure it’s only awesome in June, July, and August, but comparing it to Texas this month, it hit the spot. As for the bowling, always great to see the very best youth bowlers in the country compete and the USBC never fails to amaze with how they manage an event with 4000 participants, and twice that many in parents. They rocked.
Our daughter, Tori, finished 67th this year in the U15 Girls division, a significant improvement from last year, but not as good as she was hoping for. We are still proud parents, however. My only complaint with Jr Gold is the difficulty of the lane conditions…way, way, way too challenging. I will go into this much deeper in next month’s issue, but is something that really frustrates me for a lot of reasons. Here is just a little teaser…It’s NOT helping them develop their skills, it’s NOT increasing their enjoyment of the game, it’s NOT helping grow the sport. More hot sports opinions to come.
Random Thoughts by Tony Franklin
May 5, 2022
Here are some random thoughts concerning my first two tournaments on the PBA50 tour. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. I spent a lot of time working and talking with Del Ballard over the last six months to get ready for this moment, and it’s so cool that it is actually here and I am bowling with some legends of the game.
I hadn’t realized this until right before the first practice squad, but I hadn’t bowled a professional tournament in 20 years and hadn’t bowled a national professional tournament in 30 years…so let me just say that my little heart was pumping that first round of qualifying…I was calm but nervous at the same time.
One of my takeaways was from watching the hall of famers, Pete Weber, Walter Ray Williams, Amleto Monacelli, Parker Bohn, etc. They haven’t lost the inner fire in the slightest. During the Advancers round the first week, Weber was bowling to my left, and in the 6th frame of the very first game he just about lost his Sh!#... You would think after bowling 1500-2000 professional tournaments that he might be a little more relaxed, and have a whatever attitude, nope, not in the slightest, he was going all out.
That first week, I got down to the top eight, and bowled a three-game match against Walter Ray Williams for a spot on the show. What’s better than that, to bowl possibly the greatest bowler ever, and have it come down to the 9th frame of the last game…it was an exciting dream moment for me. I did not get the win, but we battled, and I can’t wait to do it again.
For me, that’s the reason I’m here. When I did bowl on tour 30 years ago, it wasn’t everything I wanted it to be for lots of reasons, my life went a different direction, of which I could not be happier how that worked out. BUT I think I still have a little left in the tank, and I want to challenge myself against the best senior bowlers on the planet on their floor.
After a couple of weeks, that is exactly what I’m seeing, the best of the old bowling generation, are just as tough to beat as they ever were. Walter Ray doesn’t make mistakes, Weber shoots 270 when he needs to, Parker posts every shot like he’s still 22, and Amleto still has the most flawless release.
I’m so happy to have this opportunity, and I’m pleased with how friendly everyone is…but at the end of the day, I just want to tussle with the greats of the game, just to see what happens.
The second week was at The Villages, the largest retirement community in the world. I’ve always wanted to bowl and visit this area, and it did not disappoint. There are golf carts everywhere…and I mean everywhere…check out the picture, just to get a taste.
Before the tournament started, Jason Couch, ANOTHER hall of famer, had a group of us over to his house for an afternoon cookout, one of the late arriving guests was none other than Norm Duke, a neighbor of Couch’s, who just finished a round of golf. Duke, recently retired (so he says), mentioned that after 41 years of bowling professionally he was just done. With that being said, I’m sure that you all just watched him finish second to Anthony Simonsen in the USBC Masters. He said that regardless of his age at that moment, he was really proud of himself, but also really disappointed to get that close, and not finish the job.
I did however have to ask Duke my usual questions...Who’s the greatest bowler he’s ever seen, and who is his all-time favorite bowler? He said that he would have to say that Walter Ray Williams is the best bowler he’s ever seen, but also considers himself in that conversation (he ain’t scared). As for his favorite bowler, he said Amleto, which is pretty cool, because Amleto is also my favorite bowler of all-time. How cool is it to get to hangout with legends of the game…very memorable and moments that won’t come around again for me.
On to week three for me, in Aberdeen, North Kakalaka. What a beautiful part of the country this is.
Random Thoughts by Tony Franklin
April 7, 2022
The Texas High School bowling season has come to a close and it is very apparent that bowling is in good hands. There are several Freshman that had standout performances this year and will be forces to reckon with for the next several years.
Kyrah Durham, Charisse Graham, Tori Franklin, Malorie Samples, Emily Mendez, William Jewell III, Owen Ratsabouth and Xavier Patterson are some of the names you will see much more of in the coming years.
Durham finished 3rd in state singles and was the anchor on the DFW South All-District team. Graham finished 13th in state singles and was on the DFW South All-District team. Franklin finished 20th in state singles and was on the Dallas North B All-District team. Tori won the HS Region III qualifier to advance to state. The others listed all made their All-District Teams that competed in College Station this weekend.
As I watched the singles finals at Forum Bowl two weeks ago, I was truly impressed with the talent on both the girls’ and boys’ sides of the house. Franklin, Durham and Graham were 3 of 5 Freshman girls to qualify for State Singles this year. You will also see a tremendous number of two-handers in coming years, far more than 50% of all competitive boys are using two-hands. For the girls, I saw three of the 40 competitors using two-hands, which included the winner, Senior Maggie Thoma of New Braunfels. She is an incredible talent who has a very bright future in front of her.
There are also some DFW area Seniors that are leaving the comfort of high school for the excitement of college. Zachary Smullen of Frisco Wakeland is one in particular that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing really grow over the last several years. He has decided where he will be attending college, and he will share that news in the coming weeks. He will be competing at the highest of levels in the coming years, so make sure you remember that name.
Forum Bowl has the best approaches I’ve ever bowled on. There are so many variables that go into a good approach, footing, etc, and Forum has it all figured out. I’ve been bowling out there a lot lately and when you have no concerns on your approach, it makes the rest of the game so much simpler.
Keep up the great work Forum!
Conrgats to Anthony Simonsen on winning his second USBC Masters title, making that four majors, and 10 total PBA national titles. He’s just 25 years old and already has 10 titles, a truly amazing feat for an amazing talent. I only wish there were more PBA national events for these guys to participate in. The PBA still has the PBA finals for 16 players and the PBA league left in the season…that’s it. How can we have a Professional tour that is basically done for the general population on April 3rd? What if you start off the year and you’re not performing well, or you don’t match up well in a certain center…too bad…that’s pretty much all you get. The season is over, and you go back home to wait eight months until you get a chance to try it again, and bowling on the PBA tour is its own animal, you can’t “practice” for it…you can prepare sure, but you can’t get in reps on what they bowl on with the transition they see anywhere on earth. The only reps you can get are the last half of every block and if you go check the money winners list for the 2022 season, you will see the same 8-10 guys at the top of the list. Only eight players made over $70,000 this year, and it’s pretty much the same from the year before, and the year before that. They have it all figured out and execute with precision.
How can the next level, and the level below that expect to move up if they never get more than 10-15 tournaments to learn and grow…they can’t, and that needs to be addressed by the PBA leadership.
Random Thoughts by Tony Franklin
March 3, 2022
I made my first trip to Akron, OH last weekend to watch Wes Malott get inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame.
This allowed Genie and I to watch the PBA Tournament of Champions at Bowlero Riviera Lanes, the home of the Tournament of Champions for so many years. It has been a few years since I watched a national pro stop, and so pleased that I got to see this one first-hand, truly something that has been on my bowling to-do list for 40 years…to walk through the doors that have welcomed the world’s finest bowlers.
I have two main thoughts to share with you…
#1 – The Pro’s are amazingly good. I know this isn’t a revelation of any kind, but watching the top 24 go at it was inspiring. The main thing I saw was that every bowler, and I mean every bowler, made every single spare they left. That’s one thing, but the number of splits they spared was like nothing I’ve ever seen. I’m not exaggerating in the least…they made everything, it was frightening and should be a training film for any up and coming bowler.
They throw straight at everything, 5-pin, head-pin, 3-6-9-10…doesn’t matter what they leave, and they don’t miss. If you ever want to get to this level, there is your starting point. With all that being said, they then missed three spares on the TV Show Sunday, and didn’t spare any of the splits…that just proves how hot the pressure is for the most prestigious professional tournament in the world can actually be.
#2 – The second thought is the sad part…none of the pros look like they’re having fun. They are certainly giving it 100% effort, but there just isn’t any excitement or energy coming from them. I asked Wes about it, and he said that’s pretty much the way it is every week. He’s not an excitable person either, never has been, but I didn’t see anybody, except for maybe Sean Rash that showed any life.
When you only watch the TV shows, it looks much different than it does in-person during match-play. Throw shot, strike, walk back, sit down or throw shot, don’t strike, throw hands up in air, walk back, sit down. As a fan I would like a little more, I’m not asking for 1960’s run out every shot and then slide on the floor energy, but give me something boys, get me invested in rooting for you. This can be a lot better spectator sport than it is at the moment.
A night to forever remember is how I will describe the PBA Hall of Fame Ceremonies in Akron, OH last Saturday.
The evening kicked off with Larry Lichstein, long-time operator of the PBA Tour Services, speaking of the great bowlers that we lost this year. It was easily the most eloquent and fascinating 10 minutes of bowling history I have ever heard. Larry had notes, but he never looked down once, he just rolled through the history and captivated everyone in attendance.
Next up, were the performance awards for the current tour players, Player of the Year for the last two seasons, etc…this was another really cool moment has each player accepted their award, then respectfully thanked their roommate for always having their back and supporting them. Yes, bowling on tour is a hornet’s nest of competition, but it’s also a fellowship, and that was made loud and clear by each player, and how much their close friends truly mean to them. You can’t spend that much time with someone and not create an unbreakable bond.
Randy Pederson was the emcee for the event and talked about the “shields” that used to line the streets of Akron leading to Riviera Lanes. The shield (banner) is only created for the winner of the Tournament of Champions, and if you get one, you’re a legend forever. Randy got very emotional as he talked about the shields, and how much they mean to each player. He said that “the ToC is the easiest match-play event to make,” as there used to only be 52 players in the field, “but the hardest TV finals to make,” because only the best of the best are in the building. Being back at Riviera Lanes clearly means a lot to the veterans of the PBA tour.
Next up, were the Hall of Fame inductees, Gary Mage the longtime PBA Northwest and West Regional Director, and Mary and Kirk von Krueger, former PBA Tour Director.
Great speeches by all three and so much great background and history about the PBA Tour.
Our main focus was for our good friend Wes Malott, who closed the show. As most know, even though Wes is large by stature, he is quiet and soft-spoken by nature. His history is unique on one hand, but similar on the other. He was just a kid who loved to bowl, got really good, couldn’t get over the hump, then one-day he figured it out, and destroyed the hump and every other bowler in his path.
I was lucky to have a front-row seat through his early days, was there to see the awaking when he won his first PBA regional, and then the large regional a week later where he announced his skill to the world.
I’m just so proud of him and was just giddy watching him take the podium and sharing his story with the bowling world.
Now for the fun part…each speaker got 10 minutes and I feel that everyone stayed true to that and we were actually ahead of schedule for the night.
Last was our soft-spoken friend Wes, so he should knock this out pretty quick too…right…maybe not.
He spoke for 50 minutes…yes, I timed him.
As we were leaving for the airport this morning, I stopped and spoke with Josh Blanchard, Gary Mage and Marshall Holman (who introduced Gary). Josh gave me a hard time by asking if Wes was finished talking yet, I said hey….it was ONLY 50 minutes…and to that Marshall said, yeah it was only 50 minutes, but it felt a LOT longer.
I still haven’t stopped laughing at that comment.
God bless Wes and God bless bowling.
Random Thoughts by Tony Franklin
February 3, 2022
The PBA is off and running with their first tournament concluding here in DFW at Bowlero Euless. Belmo defeats Sean Rash for his 14th major championship, he is second to none.
Bowling loves drama, much like all sports, and we had some surrounding the finals due to some hot sports opinions by Sean Rash. He was fined, put on probation, and made the center of attention for dropping an S-bomb on national TV in regards to perceived unfairness in the fact that the PBA uses Brunswick machines, Brunswick oil, and the first two events were won by Brunswick staffers.
The conduct unbecoming part came up when he threw out the S-bomb prior to Matt Russo finishing his tenth frame, for what should have been three Brunswick staffers in a row winning. Russo, however, went out there and threw a bad shot, got five through the face, and Rash wins.
Definitely one of the all-time whine and wins I’ve ever seen. I do like Rash, he’s an acquired taste for sure, but what he did was out of line. He has 17 PBA titles, how can you possibly complain about integrity in the middle of a match, that you might win…poor sportsmanship…maybe…playing mental games with the rookie…maybe.
Either way, it’s a bad look for a leader in the sport and champion at the highest level. The best bowlers in the world play hard at all times, and for the most part, are babies when things aren’t going their way, and that’s totally true, some just hide it better than others.
Sean didn’t hide it, he let it fly, and it made for an interesting week of bowling talk.
If you are wondering about what the future of Professional bowling will look like, specifically what the Men’s professional tour will look like, let me give you a hint.
First, start by watching the PBA Junior National Championship that was held last weekend, also at Bowlero Euless, and can be seen again on FloBowling.
The youth bowlers have unbelievable skills, like nothing we have seen before. And as far as how it will look, well, there won’t be many people using their thumbs.
There were 10 finalists that competed on Friday, of those, there was only one bowler that used his thumb. One.
Eight right-handed, two-handers (no thumb), and one left-handed, two-hander (no thumb) that led qualifying by a bunch.
It’s the state of the game and there is no turning back, and no doubt this is what it’s going to take to compete at the highest levels.
I remember having a conversation about five years ago with USBC Exec Director, Chad Murphy about the raw numbers of two-handers competing at Junior Gold. At that point it was around 20-25%, but when you factor in the best of the youth competitors, the number is higher, and if you use this tournament as a gauge, it was 90%...90%.
It’s really amazing. I don’t have a problem with it at all, but I sure am glad I won’t have to compete much against these kids because they are all going to change the landscape of bowling, and it’s right around the corner.
Sticking with the PBA theme this week, as I was researching the Looking Back column, I came across the Quaker State Open Results from 30 years ago. It was my first PBA national stop as I ventured out into the professional bowling world rooming with Del Ballard, David Smith, Robert Lawrence, and Bill Oakes.
It was always my dream to bowl professionally and while I only did it for about two years, I still look back on it fondly, one for the experiences, but mainly for the lifelong friendships it created. I spent a lot of time with Robert and David in Austin this weekend and Del subbed in league with us last night. The more Del bowls, the more he wants to bowl competitively, and that really gets me excited. I love his energy, not his ball speed, his energy. So, 30 years ago, I was a rookie on the big tour and this spring, I will be a rookie on the PBA50 tour. I simply can’t believe it’s been that long. My bowling dream growing up was to make a PBA TV show and while that hasn’t happened yet, there is a chance that it could kinda happen if I decide to consider FloBowling a TV show, which I probably will. I always wanted my parents and grandmother, Toni, to be in attendance. And while that piece can’t happen, I could still make the stepladder and maybe bowl my childhood idol, Amleto Monacelli, for a title.
That would be pretty cool…I would gladly take that moment.
Editor's Note - I am so incredibly proud of Tony. He took time off from the game 14 years ago when our daughter was born, so he could focus on her activities. Now, she is exceling in bowling, volleyball and softball. The past year, Tony has now taken the time and put in the work getting ready for the Senior events and his hard work and dedication is paying off. And it's so much fun to see him in the winner's circle again!
Random Thoughts by Tony Franklin
December 16, 2021
In this week’s Just Paying Attention column by Mark London, he talks about the word ‘Legacy’ and what that really means. He references the passing of the great Mark Roth, and the legacy he left and those around the bowling community are leaving. Bowling in its modern form has been around for almost 200 years, and in the 1920’s to 1940’s the number of alleys or centers exploded which created the modern ‘competitive’ bowling game.
I’m sure that many legacies were left behind by the innovators, in fact I know that to be true, but the history most of us are familiar with started when the stars of bowling became public figures, like Mark Roth, who changed the game. I’m much more interested in the legacies that are being created right in front of our faces today that will live on long after their time is done.
That’s the thing about the bowling community, its constantly evolving and growing in some form or fashion. Here are just a few names that popped in my head as I thought of this topic…Jamie Brooks, Lois Cathey, Joyce Claus, Billy Jo Cathey, Chuck Lande, Del and Carolyn Ballard, Tina and Terry Taylor, Jeanie Hulsey, Keith Little, Jim Welch, Josh Modelo…of course there are pages of more names the DFW area that could be listed, I certainly don’t know them all. A legacy is not about a contribution that someone made, a legacy is when a person makes a contribution and then the next person picks up the baton and runs with that…that’s how you make a legacy.
As The Bowling News turns the page on 2021 and rolls into 2022, that would be my message to our amazing bowling community, what is the legacy you are creating, or continuing?
In our case, the first person I think about it is the founder of The Bowling News, Joe Gennaro. He created The Bowling News 65 years ago, and it has stood the test of time. He passed the baton to Genie and I in 2009, and we have held the torch proudly for the last 12 years.
His vision was to create a communication and recognition outlet for the bowling community, and he did so in the most awesome way. Bowlers love seeing their name in print, and especially when they are able to take a keepsake with them. That too, creates a legacy for their family to have some day down the road.
From Genie, Gma, Mark, Dave, Bubba, Susie and myself, we thank you for being loyal fans and participants in The Bowling News, it’s been a MEMORABLE 65 years for bowling.
Have a great holiday season and we will see you in 2022.
Random Thoughts by Tony Franklin
October 7, 2021
I’ve finally met up with a crazy milestone…50 years old. I’m happy this day has come, I’m a little sad that this is most definitely the last few frames of my life, but I’m very excited for all of the fun I will be having on and off the lanes for the next few years. I will start the bowling portion of my 50’s this weekend, participating in my first SASBA as a member at Red Bird Lanes. That is followed by more Senior bowling fun the next two weeks, and then in Las Vegas in November for the Ron Mohr Senior Shootout. I’m still amazed at how much good action there is for the “senior circuit.” We are lucky to live in this area with so much to bowl in, I know I say it a lot, but it’s the truth.
Make sure to read the article by Dave Williams in the paper this week. Really interesting stuff on Bowlero and their addition as a publicly traded company on the NYSE, under the symbol – BOWL.
He also takes us in the time machine back to 1987 and Black Monday.
Fall Leagues are back in full swing again…woohoo. This fall I am bowling at AMF Lewisville with Terry Taylor, Paul Henderson, Stoney Burke, and Frisco Doug Rice. We are bowling the Monday Nite Mens league which is a five-person, men’s only league. I can’t even begin to tell you the last time I bowled in a five-person league, much-less a MENS ONLY league. Sometime in the 90’s I would guess, but maybe never. I can’t really recall a time when I didn’t bowl with Genie, or Debbye Berry, or Tina Taylor on my team. Its weird, not a bad weird, just weird. Even though we don’t have Tina on the team this year, she does show up to have fun with us each week, which was the requirement going on. She is being the perfect “teammate” as I would expect. The best part is that we actually have several side bets in this league. Long gone are the days of gambling with everyone in the league and having sheets full of 5/10 bets, but in this case, it feels very good to relive that portion of league bowling. Especially with 5-person teams.
The North Central Texas USBC will be hosting their annual Hall of Fame Banquet at the Texas Star Golf Course on October 15th at 7pm. A truly great event that has grown every year. This years’ class of inductees is a stellar one as usual with, Sherry Houghton, Mike McHugh, Toney Nelson and Pat Currie being inducted. We will also be celebrating our Youth Bowlers of the Year, Alyssa Ballard and Matthew Reed, along with other yearly award winners.
Franklin/Franklin Win OKC Auto Works Mixed Doubles at Holiday Lanes
March 27, 2021
Genie and I had an exciting Saturday. Started off with a flat tire at 8am on our way to OKC to bowl the OKC Auto Works Mixed Doubles tournament at Holiday Lanes. The bowling got off to a rocky start as well, but was salvaged by some late heroics by G with a 256 the last game, as we snuck into the top 12 bracket by four pins.
You know how it goes when you have some really bad luck (flat tire at 8:00am that morning) and you wonder if it will continue or will the rest of the day go in your favor…that’s what was going through our minds.
We got to the bowl 10 minutes before practice starts and I start the first game with a pocket 7-10 and then a pocket 4-9 my first two frames. In my head, I have pretty much already answered my question from last paragraph. But we grinded through, gave ourselves a chance, and Genie saved the day.
Once we made the bracket finals anything can happen, and oh my, did it. We got EVERY single possible break in our favor for the next four games. If we needed help from the other team, we got it. If we needed a key strike, we got it. It’s so crazy how things work out like that sometimes.
The funny thing was that we both knew what was happening, but didn’t say it out loud because we didn’t want to jinx it and upset the bowling karma that had clearly selected us as destiny’s team on Saturday.
For me, the best part is just getting to compete with Genie every once in a while. Bowling with her truly is my favorite thing in the world and we generally have good success when we team up. I told her when we got done that it’s really easy to bowl with her because she doesn’t say much, I don’t say much, but we both have complete confidence that at some point, something good is going to happen, and in this case it did…it took a few hours…but it happened.
And let me say this, when you win something with the person you love most in the world, it makes it feel about a hundred times sweeter than it normally would. If nothing else, it sure did make for a good story and a lot of laughs on the way home!