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Jef Goodger

Can I be a Pro?

By October 5, 2009

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Many people have wondered: really, how hard is it to become a pro bowler? It's a legitimate question. Bowling, with a finite maximum score, seems like the most reachable pro sport for a recreational athlete.

In hockey, baseball, football, basketball, tennis, and everything else, regular people have no chance and can figure that out early, usually during or before high school.

But bowling is different. 300s have been thrown by everyone from Parker Bohn III 80 or so times to some drunk guy who gets lucky twelve times in a row.

Have you ever watched a pro on TV bowl a 160 or lower? If you've bowled for any moderate length of time, you've broken 200, or at least come close. Maybe you've thrown 250 or even higher. So, if you can throw a 200, and Chris Barnes throws a 160, you can beat Chris Barnes, right? Why aren't you a pro?

Oil. The lane conditions on the PBA Tour are far more difficult than at your local bowling alley. There actually is a difference between those good enough to be pros and those who aren't. Pros can read the lanes better than anyone, and more importantly, know how to react and adjust to continue throwing strikes.

Your ability to read the lanes is probably as close to Chris Barnes' as your skating ability is to Pavel Datsyuk's.

I'm not trying to insult you or crush your childhood dreams of becoming a pro bowler. Mainly, I'm trying to convince myself I have no chance.

Can you be a pro? Maybe. But it's not nearly as easy as most people think.


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