The U.S. Open is one of the most grueling tournaments of the year by far, due to the lane conditions, and amount of games played to win the tournament.  With that being said I would like to take the time to talk about some of the positives of the U.S. Open, and some of the disappointments that occurred.  Today Pete Weber won the 69th U.S. Open for a record setting 5th time to pass his father Dick Weber, and Don Carter.   Unfortunately in the process he ended up losing some fans.

First I would like to start off with the positives, seeing as how I am a positive person.  There were some great accomplishments that were made in the 69th U.S. Open that need to be recognized for their accomplishments.  First of all I would like to personally recognize and congratulate Missy Parkin, and Kamron Doyle on their individual accomplishments this U.S. Open.  For those of you who may not know Missy Parkin was the first woman to ever make the match play cut of the event and get a chance to make the telecast.  In fact in her first game of match play she defeated Pete Weber 217 to 213. Missy did not make the TV finals but did set another record taking the highest place of a woman and a U.S. Open at 21st place.  The other positive story was Kamron Doyle, 14 year old from Tennesse. Yes, I said 14 year old. Kamron proved all week that he is destined for great things, and will one day be a PBA Champion.  Kamron set a record by being the youngest player to ever cash in the U.S. Open event taking 61st place.  Kamron averaged over 200 in the U.S. Open, and proved that he is a force to be reckoned with in the future.

Unfortunately with all the positives that happened throughout this event there was one big negative that set me back in my chair.  Pete Weber has always been known as the bad boy on the PBA, due to his fiery attitude and crotch chop.  I have never really understood the crotch chop, and most definitely never will.  Although these things can be a reason not to like a player as a fan, but I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and try to understand where they are coming from.  I have never really had a problem with PDW’s antics, and have always respected him for his great bowling ability.  He has a great passion to win and a great ability for touch at the bottom of his swing.  At the U.S. Open PDW let his emotions get the best of him.  In the 4th frame of the first game of the step ladder finals PDW noticed someone stand up during his walk to the approach, and called the fan out by saying “Really, really?” and stared them down for several seconds which I’m sure felt like minutes to the fans in the area he was looking at.   Then his second match in the 1st frame before he even threw a shot he slammed his ball on the ball return, and again starred a fan down in the crowd and again said “Really?”.  After his first shot of the match PDW starred into the crowd and pointed at someone in the crowd that he felt was trying to mess him up.   In third frame of the second game Pete Weber called out to the crowd again “Can you please stop moving over there please? Please stop moving while I’m on the approach that’s all I ask. I said would you please stop moving during my approach don’t know what’s hard about that to understand! ” and then after his spare said, “All you gotta do is sit still”.  This banter continued on for the rest of the second match, as well as championship match against Mike Fagan.  I noticed for the first time in my life a disappointed fan that was even scared to clap.  He was a young boy in the first row of the event.  You could see the fear in his eyes.  He sat there with a scared look on his face and didn’t know how to react.  He didn’t even clap for the rest of the event.

I think what some of us fail to realize is this may not be a big deal to some, but to me it is a very big deal.  I have a family with two young kids that I would love to bring into this sport and take to events.  I would almost be afraid to bring my son or daughter to an event like this, because I am afraid they may get turned away from the game.  I would hope they would be watching the professionals as I did growing up like the Norm Duke’s, Chris Barnes’s and Jack Jurek’s of the world.  They should be someone they idolize, and would like to mirror as a player.  I hope this type of behavior will not deter this young child or any youth player from playing this great game I have come to love.  This made me think of a great quote I heard in the past from Joe DiMaggio. Joe once said,  “There is always some kid who may be seeing  me for the first or last time, I owe him my best.”  I hope that this can be a lesson to us all, that people are always watching us, and that we need to act appropriately.  The youth of this great game will either save bowling or make it a game of the past.  I hope they choose to save bowling, but only time will tell.

We would love to hear your comments regarding what you saw during the 69th U.S. Open.  So please comment below on your thoughts and feelings on the event.

Above180.com wants to make sure that you are taking your game to the next level, so we are giving away another Jet Bowling ball.  In order to become eligible for the bowling ball make sure you “like” taking your bowling game to the next level on facebook by clicking here.  Also, do not forget to follow the Crew on Twitter as you never know what cool things we will be giving away.  The crew on Twitter is as follows:

Above180.com – @above180

Mike Bonk – The Messenger – @mikebonk84

Dustin Markowitz – What Happened to Bowling? – @DustinMarkowitz

Matt Kennedy –  The Journey – @mkhawk21

John Baker – Positive Access Point – @positveaccesspt

Until next time, Shred that Rack!

Sincerely,

The Messenger

 

18 Comments

  1. I don’t know about all of the emotion that you have put into this article… PDW and his displays will not, have not, and cannot finish bowling as a sport.

    Are you kidding?

    Even after all of the crime and drugs that are in the news from athletes from other professional sports, the NBA, MLB and NFL seem just fine. And even with fights that spill into the crowd!

    If there was an issue with a spectator, the event staff should have been on top of it, with an usher to either move the problem spectator, or at least talk to the person. My impression was that there was someone with less than innocent motives in the crowd, rooting against Pete. And he’s not one to take it lightly, or back down.

    Bad behavior? Possibly. But, you weren’t the one going for $60k, a record 5th title, and cementing your name into the history books. There was lots of motivation for Petey to be intense. So, if the spectator was willingly being disruptive, then they got more than they were expecting for a reaction (but it didn’t stop Pete from completing his quest.) If there was a legitimate misunderstanding, or if Pete was being too reactionary, then for certain, Pete will owe that person an apology.

    But as far as a kid being too scared to move, or cheer, or possibly making them hate bowling? That is a bit of a stretch.

    • Mike says:

      Mick,

      First of all I would like to thank you for your comments on this topic. I put emotion in what I write about because I love the game, and want to see it succeed. The PBA in my eyes is struggling to make it as big as the NBA, MLB, and NFL, and need all the best publicity possible so they can get the big sponsorships in order to make up to the level of the NBA, MLB and NFL. I don’t think PDW’s antics will fold the entire the PBA, I just wish he would have handled the situation differently. After the first comment was made it may have been a better idea to just talk to the tournament director, and point out what the problem was discretely, without shouting into the crowd. In regards to the young child that did not move for the rest of the Open, again I hope that this does not deter him from the game, and hope he reads this article and comments back to us how he felt that day.

    • admin says:

      Everyone thank you for the comments this issue is very much a story, we hope to speak with Pete later this week.

  2. John Nielsen says:

    I love bowling, my whole family loves bowling. We all bowl in leagues and never miss Sunday afternoon PBA action on ESPN. We even went to matchplay at the U.S. Open. On Friday Pete Weber shook his head in disgust because he had to wait to get by an elderly gentlemen, who was have trouble getting into the bleachers to watch the pro bowlers. All of the fans in the area were talking about how nasty Pete Weber was. I have been to the US Open before and am never surprised at how nasty he can be to fans. Sunday watching him act like that was no big surprise. We never rooted against anyone, like we did Sunday. PDW is not the gentleman his father was.

    • joe bowler says:

      Dick Webber was a great respectful man. Many years ago at royal creek lanes when I was a kid, Dick stopped to talk with me during a tournament. When he tried to introduce me to PDW, and Pete walked right by, dirt say anything and he heard because he gave his own father and me a kid a flick of the backhand as to say whatever. At least stop and shake my hand for 2 seconds. That was 20 years ago and I will never be a PDW fan, ever.

    • Mike says:

      John,

      Thank you for your comments, they are very much appreciated.

  3. DeJock says:

    Ok…everyone’s comments are well taken…we all love the sport and realize that Bowling has struggled for its piece of the limelight. I’m sure we are all disappointed that there are not as many televised tournaments as there once was. However excited I was to be watching the Open, I became somewhat aggravated when PDW decided to let fly with his classless brat act…and just wouldn’t let it go. I was rooting for PDW…he is one of the best…and the meaning of accomplishing a fifth Open was clear. But during his fan intimidation routine, he barked out “its about sportsmanship”…well…it was obvious that PDW had no clue that he was thumbing his own nose at sportsmanship by single-handedly placing each of his opponents in an uncomfortable situation. PDW wasted time and truly lost his sense of fairness toward his fellow players and fans alike…and I lost my sense of respect for PDW, who is supposed to be a ‘professional’. How I wish Fagan had won.

    • Mike says:

      Dejock,

      Thanks for your comments. Fagan literally was one pin away from a winner in the 5th frame when the 4, 9 stood…that 9 should have fallen. Got to give it up to Pete though throwing that clutch shot in the 10th frame last ball was clutch.

  4. Steve C says:

    Mike, thank you for your thoughtful blogpost about PDW. I feel ambivalent about his behavior. On the one hand, it hardly seems exemplary. On the other, it probably draws more fans to the PBA and PBA telecasts than it repels and is probably relatively harmless in the grand scheme of things. I’d venture to guess that Weber’s fabled and enduring excellence as a bowler eclipses his bad behavior and the potentially deleterious influence thereof.

    Of course, I say this as someone who doesn’t have any children to protect. If I were a parent, I might feel more the way you do.

    However, even then, I think I’d be less concerned about a PDW scaring away my or anyone else’s children from the sport as I would be about their being encouraged by PDW’s antics to emulate them. I would only hope that I and other parents could offset this by setting a glowing counterexample and by patiently and persuasively explaining that it is not okay to act the way PDW did at his worst on Sunday at any time or under any circumstances.

    • Mike says:

      Steve,

      Thank you for your comments as they are greatly appreciated. I would agree with you that good parenting will offset his antics anytime. I just really felt for that kid in the front row, that didn’t know how to react, and being a young child I don’t know how I would react either if a professional was yelling in my direction. I think its just the coach in me that wants to preserve the game.

  5. Donnie L says:

    It is not Pete Weber’s job to be a role model, ambassador, or positive influence to children who are watching. Those are the jobs of parents. How many of you have an audience that accompanies you wherever you go while you earn a living? If your living depended on how well you executed one specific task that required complete focus and some ignorant fan was heckling you while doing so, would you not have a few choice words for them? I’m not one of them, but some people think Chris Barnes is a jerk.

    No professional sports organization requires all of their athletes be role models. For every Tim Tebow, you’ve got 10 Bill Romanowski’s or Allen Iverson’s.

    Bowling NEEDS players like PDW! It’s ok for these guys to have personalities and character, and we should encourage that. Having been a fan of PDW as long as I can remember, it was always his passion for the sport and unbeaten desire to win that made me want to become a professional bowler one day.

    • Mike says:

      Donnie,

      Thank you for your comments. I would never say that every player in the PBA is expected to be a role model, but there is a common courtesy, and etiquette that is expected from the players that I believe he crossed. Bowling used to be a gentlemen’s game similar to golf in the fact that you would never do anything to distract your opponents game or react to the crowd even if they are being obnoxious. Let the PBA handle that situation discretely, no need to point out to guys in the crowd, and say “I know who you are” like a head hunter. I will never argue again the fact that PDW has a passion to win, and shows emotion. In fact when I bowl I show emotion as well but I don’t head hunt guys when they distract me cause there are better ways to handle the situation. This is why I was disappointed.

    • Well said, Donnie. I agree. +1

  6. shawn kelley says:

    I’m 51 years old been bowling now for about 30 years i was a member the pba regional program for 10 years,still bowl 2 nights a week and tournaments.
    love the sport of bowling.but in all those years the Pdw display at the us open was about as low class as i’ve ever seen.i’m not talented enough to carry weber’s equipment but no one’s ever accused me of low class behavior on the lanes.

  7. Everyone’s comments thus far represent what seems to be the majority opinion of PDW. (I’m chuckling to myself as I type this) Am I the only one to have had a positive fan experience with him? And, on more than one occasion, too. Pete will never be the ambassador that his father was; Dick was a singular talent, and a singularly amazing personality and spokesman for bowling. Anyone who ever met the elder Weber was richer for the experience.

    Pete, however, is a different personality entirely. An amazing talent, clearly he has suffered from many personal demons, and mostly in the public sight. His wife has been a wonderful, stabilizing influence for him, and like most folks, he has mellowed with time. This past weekend’s hijinks were a little over the top, and certainly not the type of thing I would tolerate (or allow) from my children as I start them down the path of competitive bowling, so I certainly see everyone else’s point of view.

    But, that being said, and with the disclosure that I don’t feel that I am a PDW apologist, I can still see Pete’s side of this whole situation, too. Could it have been handled differently? Yep. Was it the best course of action? Nope. But then, we wouldn’t be having this nice discussion about expectations, sportsmanship and perceptions.

    Thanks for indulging my thoughts again.
    Mick

    • Mike says:

      Mick,

      We appreciate your comments on this column. I think our viewers would appreciate to hear your positive experiences with PDW to get a taste of both sides of the story. I can only speak of what I saw on television, and do not know him personally. Again thank you for your comments, and hope to hear a response from you soon.

      Sincerely,

      The Messenger

  8. Russ says:

    I just found this blog, so apologies for the late comment. I was at the 69th US Open in New Brunswick and saw the entire stepladder finals. Mike, you hit the nail on the head about Pete Weber. I’ll add a few of my observations from that afternoon:

    1. At one point, in the middle match, when PDW was on the left lane, he left a ringing 10-pin. While walking back from the foul line, he again berated that young fan, “Its not funny! How would you like it!”

    2. PDW then sat down, turned to tournament directors and said, “If he does that again, I want him removed!”

    3. Weber’s final rant, “Who do you think you are? I am!” was absolutely directed at the teenager. And while the comment might have seemed non-sequitur to the TV viewer, those of us in the stands understood exactly what PDW meant. He meant that that teenager was a nobody, and how dare this nobody mock him!

    Sure, we all understand that PDW had a lot on the line. And we all understand how incredibly difficult it is to bowl successfully at that level. But there is no excuse for the way Pete Weber behaved during the 69th US Open.

    In the first place, bowling distractions are the norm. Every bowler sees other bowlers in his / her periphery on the approach. Pete should have ignored the boy. Second, adults, particularly older adults like PDW, should know better than to let an adolescent get under their skin. Pete not only lost his temper with the youngster once — which might be understandable — but Pete lost his temper at least four times with the kid. That’s simply inexcusable. Third, the PBA provides rules for professional bowlers regarding acceptable conduct, and at his stage of his professional bowling career, Pete Weber should have known better.

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