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Monday, September 26, 2022


Recent News


by Kerm Helmer
Collegiate Fever


Kerm Helmer
November 7, 1998

by Kerm Helmer

Unfortunately Money Now Decides Who Wins

I don't remember the year, but I know it was during a Pro stop at Thruway Lanes in Buffalo. A group of us were sitting around the bar and the discussion came around concerning Earl Anthony's seemingly slump. He wasn't the dominating Earl. One of the touring Pros sitting close by overheard the discussion and came over to the table. He explained very clearly Earl was still Earl, but was under contract to a ball company and the equipment they had available wasn't good enough to win, even in Earl's hand. I remember him saying many players hoped he would never give up the contract because with him all tied up they had a chance to win. In a matter of two years, Earl was out of the contract and back to "Legend Making" performances.

I would like to have a dollar for every tournament I have been to over the seasons and have heard someone say, "I had the wrong ball today." I also get a big kick out of people who honestly believe they have improved their average by 20 pins and the ball hasn't made a difference.

What is the bottom line: If two people of equal ability compete and one has the right ball in their hands and the other doesn't, then it will be no contest. I agree when two people have the same opportunity to choose it comes down to the one with the knowledge to change is the better player, but what if it comes down to who can afford the right ball?

Every year in bowling camps, clinics and at the college I see players who are very talented. The coaching has been there, the interest is there, the attitude is good, but they will lose to lesser players because they can't afford to buy the equipment necessary to win. To me, that is one of the saddest thing in our sport today - IT TAKES MONEY TO REACH YOUR POTENTIAL AND IF YOU DON'T HAVE IT YOU WILL NEVER KNOW HOW GOOD YOU COULD HAVE BEEN. I don't think we are very far away from someone actually saying "I quit bowling because I can't afford the equipment to stay competitive". What ever happened to the person with the best mechanics and skill wins? If you have money, work hard, you will be a success. If you don't have money don't waste your time practicing because you can't afford the equipment to win anyway.

Am I upset - Yes and when I see certain colleges getting ball contracts and others not, that bothers me. In most cases it is the teams with all the money to start with that get the contracts and not the colleges that could really use a ball here and there. Maybe we will have to start recruiting rich kids with less ability but who will score better than kids with more ability, but have now equipment or any way to get it because they need every dollar for tuition.

What is the answer? There is none, except maybe one. Let's have the National Championships sponsored by one company and everyone has to use just one ball provided to them the day before the tournament to compete with....


This article originally appeared in Spares & Strikes, a bowling newspaper serving the Greater Buffalo/  Western New York Area. It is reprinted here with the permission of the author.