They say he was born of a virgin in the storeroom of a bowling alley snack bar, amid a swirling miasma of cigarette smoke and trucker steam, with a silver mozzarella stick in his mouth.
Legend has it that he can identify an oil pattern by its scent and differentiate between a PowrKoil 17 Reactive coverstock and a GB 10.7 from 25 meters.
He is Kamron Doyle, 14-year-old bowling prodigy, eighth grader, and Chosen One.
It’s been a whirlwind week for the ten-pin wunderkind; today he was featured in the New York Times, yesterday he became the youngest person ever to finish in the money at a Professional Bowling Association major. (He got 54th place in the vaunted U.S. Open, but could not collect his prize money, as he was competing as an amateur.)
This triumph was only the most recent in Kamron’s illustrious career. In 2008, he became the third youngest person ever to bowl an officially recognized perfect game. He was 10.
At the tender age of twelve, he became the youngest person ever to finish in the money in a PBA event.
I do not seek to diminish the significance of Kamron’s accomplishments, but I would like to address the elephant in the room.
When a 5’5″, 105 pound middle schooler can compete with the best “athletes” a sport has to offer, what does that say about the sport? When a 10-year-old boy, and countless fat guys around the country can all claim to have achieved bowling perfection, can’t we safely assume that professional bowling is a total joke?
I’ve seen enough Sunday afternoon ESPN coverage to know that there’s really very little difference between a the PBA and the Men’s A league in Anytown, USA.
There’s just not that much to it.
My grandma bowled a 299 last year. Granted, she’s a very good bowler, but she’s also my grandma.
In a single game, a prepubescent boy and my grandma could both stand a reasonable chance of defeating the finest pro bowler in the world. How do you suppose my grandma would fare in a game of 1-on-1 with Kevin Durant? A round of golf with Rory McIlroy? A game of tennis with Novak Djokovic?
Pro bowlers are, quite simply, nothing special.
I suggest that a true professional athlete should never have to answer “yes” to any of the following questions.
- Can you eat cheese fries in the middle of a competition with no net negative effect on the outcome of said competition?
- Have you ever been beaten at your game of choice by a child?
- Are you in terrible cardiovascular shape?
- Can you succeed in your sport simply by hanging out in a bowling alley all day?
- Has an 89-year-old man ever tied/beaten your best athletic performance?
So, Kamron, I wish you the very best of luck in the future and I hope you’re very successful, but before you go getting all wrapped up in dreams of bowling greatness, take heed.
This is where professional bowling leads…