Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

A Youth Sports Blog

Posts Tagged ‘bowling

My 7-year-old has announced his retirement from baseball

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I was out with my 7-year-old son, walking the family Maltese dogs — because there is nothing  more male-bonding-looking than a boy and his son walking these:

So as we are walking, my 7-year-old asks me if baseball signups are coming up soon. I said, yes, probably in a couple of weeks. And I ask him why he’s asking. Because, he said, he doesn’t want to play baseball this year.

I was a bit shocked by this news. I managed Ryan’s team the two years he played, and he seemed very enthusiastic about baseball. He had just mentioned to my wife the other day how he hoped he would be a Phillie again, as he was his first two years:

Given that I write and hear all the time about kids quitting because they had a lousy experience in the sport, I was concerned that my youngest son, once enthused with baseball, no longer had an interest in it. And given that I was his manager, I hoped it wasn’t because of something I did.

So I probed.

“Did something happen last year to make you not like baseball?”


“Was it something I did? Because you can tell me if it was.”

“I just don’t want to play it anymore.” (You can see his body stiffening.)

“But why not?”

“I just don’t.” (At this point I’m being as annoying as a 7-year-old.)

“OK, you don’t have to play if you don’t want to.”

“OK, well, maybe I will.”

“No, Ryan, you don’t have to.”

We were heading in a direction in which I would be ordering him not to play if Ryan seemed like he was only playing to make me happy. Because, believe me, with two daughters playing softball in the spring, having one fewer child playing baseball would make my wife and I very, very happy. My 13-year-old son stopped playing baseball after age 9, and I must say, neither he nor we miss it.

Not that I wanted Ryan to quit to make our spring weekdays easier. And I was still feeling guilty. So I asked, “Is there something else you’d rather do?”

“I’d rather do bowling and soccer” — sports he plays now — “and maybe a play, or a technology club. Because I want to be a video game designer.” Like how other kids dream of playing in Major League Baseball, Ryan dreams of being a video game designer. Knowing Japan’s prominence in the video game world, Ryan is joining his school’s Japanese club to learn the language and customs, about 15-25 years before he takes in his first big meeting in Tokyo.

It was a great conversation, especially because my guilty conscience was soothed. (Whew.) My wife and I have tried to make it clear to our four children that we do not mind spending the time and money on something if they enjoy it. But if they don’t enjoy it, we are more than ready to let them quit (at least once the activity is over). I’ll be honest — having four kids, ages 5 to 13, in various activities means we are ready to throw one over the side at any time. But more importantly, there are enough activities out there that it’s not like it’s baseball, or sit at home.

Ryan is fortunate, too, that he’s the third child in this process for us. My oldest son has tried about every sport available, but his interests right now are centered on theater, music, and joining the Marines. My oldest daughter, age 11, looked to have a starring career in softball, but she learned over the summer that she while she enjoys house league she didn’t care for travel ball, and that in her Animal Planet-mainlining heart of hearts she still like horseback riding lessons best. (Horseback riding lessons definitely test our notion that we will gladly pay for an activity if the kid likes it.)

Maybe Ryan will decide after spring 2011 that he wants to go back to baseball, but I’ve learned with my kids that once they’re done with an activity, they’re usually done for good. I feel confident calling his move a retirement, and not just him putting his baseball career on hiatus. Either way, I’m glad Ryan told me that he would rather not play baseball, before he — and we — made another heavy commitment to it. And that he doesn’t mind being seen with his dad, out walking Paris Hilton’s dogs.

Bowling has found its Justin Bieber

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I’m going to tell my 7-year-old son, who is graduating to a nonbumper league this summer, that he’s got five years to get on the Professional Bowlers’ Association Tour, or else it’s time to give up bowling. Actually, I’d better make it four, because we already have a 12-year-old who’s made $400 at a PBA event.


Twelve-year-old Kamron Doyle of Brentwood, Tenn., finished 30th in the Professional Bowlers Assocation Canton (Ga.) Open Regional tournament Sunday at Cherokee Lanes, becoming the youngest bowler ever to cash in a PBA event. He earned $400 which will be deposited into a scholarship account.

Bowling as a non-PBA member, Doyle had a 2,797 13-game pinfall total (215.1 average) bowling against a 94-player field which included some of the top regional and national tour professional players from the organization’s South region. The event was won by 2009-10 PBA Player of the Year Walter Ray Williams Jr., a 47-time PBA Tour title winner and member of the PBA Hall of Fame.

Asked about his formula for success the sixth-grader at Brentwood Middle School said, “I just practice and bowl in a lot of tournaments. There’s no secret–just go out there and do it.”

Doyle is a youth bowling phenom who already holds the all-time record as the youngest bowler to roll a United States Bowling Congress-certified 800 series (he rolled games of 279, 278, and 245 for an 802 three-game series at the age of 11 years, 2 months, and 1 day) and is also the third-youngest bowler to roll a 300 game in certified competition. In all, Doyle has two 800 series (highest is 803) and two 300 games.

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He’s Kamron, and he loves to bowl.

I believe those 63 adults who finished behind Kamron Doyle, feeling shamed, intentionally mangled their bowling hands in the ball return. But, really, is it wrong for me to say young Kamron has a lot of balls to do so well against pros so early?

“…at this point I think he’s got about 60 bowling balls,” [his mother Cathy said].

No, it is not wrong.

The danger, of course, is that the PBA, desperate for the glory days of Chris Schenkel and “Bowling for Dollars,” rides the Kamron Doyle train right into the ground, after a promising career is cut short by a 17-year-old Kamron succumbing to the pressure by ravaging his body, and his winnings, with plastic pitchers of cheap beer and paper plates of frickles, his left index finger calloused by pressing the “call wait staff” button so frequently.

Seriously, the kid is good, but he’s a kid. At least Kamron himself isn’t trying to jump too far ahead of his own skills.

“When I’m ready for college I’d like to go to Wichita State or Webber University because they are two of the top bowling schools,” Kamron said. “After that I’d like to bowl on the PBA Tour.”

Still, you get the feeling the PBA would love to see little Kamron touring nationwide, in hopes it gets people other than my 7-year-old son to care about bowling again.

If the PBA wants to sell an oddity, it should stick to Jason Belmonte, the two-handed bowler, who at least is a grown man winning professional events.

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Or maybe Kelly Kulick, who in January became the first woman to win a men’s PBA tour event. Otherwise, the association should go easy on hyping Kamron. However, just in case this is the direction the PBA is going, I’m officially declaring myself my 7-year-old son’s agent and manager.

Thanks to Eric McErlain of the excellent hockey blog Off Wing Opinion for the tip.

My 7-year-old and 4-year-old start their basketball careers…

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…and I hope I didn’t wait too long.

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The competition is so far ahead, maybe my kids shouldn’t bother.

My 7-year-old son, already a regular in baseball and bowling, on Tuesday will begin his first basketball clinic. His 4-year-old sister is doing the same. She was particularly insistent. We asked her if she wanted to do gymnastic or dance (two activities in which she showed some interest), but she replied, over and over, “Bask-ska-ball.” I guess I should’ve known, the day as a 3-year-old she parked at the little kids’ pop-a-shot in the arcade during one of my son’s bowling matches.

So maybe my daughter is coming in at the right age. By age 6, I should have her in travel ball, and by age 10, she should be on the radar of college recruiters, and by age 13, her knees should be shot. Sadly, with my 7-year-old son starting so late, it appears that all he can look forward to in his athletic future is beers at the bowling alley.

Written by rkcookjr

January 24, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Bumper bowling live-tweeting day!

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It’s Saturday, which means more tweeting live from the Brunswick Zone in Oak Lawn, Ill., as my 6-year-old son’s Field Force Monkeys take on — well, I don’t know who they’re taking on, and I don’t think they care. Ryan and his team members seems to worry most about the order of scores amongst each other. Anyway, you can follow all the exciting, beer-less bowling action at, or at your own Twitter feed if you want to follow me (@notgoingpro).

I would be curious to hear any responses, here or on Twitter, just to know it continues to be worth ignoring everyone around me as I do this.

Also, it’ll be a game-time decision whether I also live tweet the insurance adjustor looking at my van to assess the damage to my bumper when someone backed into it.

Written by rkcookjr

September 26, 2009 at 10:53 am

More exciting bumper bowling live-tweeting!

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Just an alert that for some inexplicable reason, I am again live tweeting my 6-year-old son’s Saturday bowling action, already in progress at Learn about the Angry Bowling Face, the Fry Game and the funeral home across the street’s constant, mocking reminder of your mortality.

Written by rkcookjr

September 19, 2009 at 12:49 pm

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If you missed my youth bowling live tweet…

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You can see it at It went great, until my Blackberry’s network crapped out in the seventh frame of the last game.

bobbys-cameravideo-100Last year’s Penguins, now this year’s Field Force Monkeys: Liam, Ryan, Nick and Trevor.

The live-tweet was part of my ultimately futile effort to show support for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, under fire from the NFL gendarmes for his desire to tweet during games. The NFL is upset that somebody might discover nothing interesting goes on during Bengals games.

I call this futile because the NFL will do something to Ochocinco after he does whatever Twitter thing he promises to do during his game tomorrow, and that Ochocinco took his grandma to the new Tyler Perry movie instead of following my in-game tweets. Well, I can hold out hope he’ll catch up with them later, and appreciate everything I’m doing for him.

Written by rkcookjr

September 12, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Like Chad Ochocinco, I have a tweet surprise coming for my son's bowling league

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Big-time sports is shaken up over Twitter, afraid that athletes and coaches twiddling their texting thumbs during games will distract themselves from their jobs or, more importantly, distract fans from the live television coverage they’re getting paid billions for.

It appears Chad Ochocinco, the Cincinnati Bengals receiver formerly known as Chad Johnson (he changed his last name to match the nickname he received because of his jersey number, 85 — wait, shouldn’t his nickname be “Ochenta y Cinco”?), is planning to challenge the NFL’s ban on player tweeting. He’s planning what is being called a “tweet surprise” for the Bengals’ opening game Sunday, some loophole he’s found in the rule that prevents him, his representatives or fans he signals in the stands to post his in-game thoughts to any social networking site.

“I’ve been really, really quiet, and there’s a storm coming Sunday,” he told reporters. “That’s one of the things that I do when I’m back: I have something. I keep you on the edge of your seat. NFL, I would like to apologize to you guys early. I understand. I read all the fine print in the letters you sent, but I did find loopholes. I found loopholes.”

Or, as he posted to his Twitter feed: “Storm coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Well, I have a storm coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, too. It’s going to roll out, no pun intended, Saturday during the first match of my 6-year-old son’s bowling season.

In solidarity with Chad Ochocinco, I’m going to live-tweet my son’s match!

I know you’re dying for the behind-the-scenes look at what goes on during a crazy youth league Saturday at the Brunswick Zone in Oak Lawn, Ill. OK, maybe you don’t. But if the No Fun League can stop a man who changed his name to friggin’ Ochocinco from tweeting, any of us who can tweet during sports events should do so, just to let it and other leagues know we want to be social no matter what you think.

In fact, this weekend I would encourage all of you to tweet your events. Maybe it’s your daughter’s swim meet, or you son’s wrestling tournament. (God knows there’s plenty of downtime in those that needs filling, and the Sunday newspaper isn’t as large as it used to be.) You could tweet the youth football game you coach, or the basketball game you’re playing in. For the latter, try to master switching your Blackberry to your off-dribble hand as you do your crossover.

The important thing is, fill up your Twitter feed with anything and everything about whatever sports you and your children are involved with this weekend. Heck, live-tweet a neighborhood game of Ghost in the Graveyard (though, for legal reasons, you should make sure you have a child directly involved in it). If you just want to follow my feed, go to

Now is the time to strike the blow for sports social media freedom. Do it so that someday you never start a sentence, first they came for Ochocinco, but I did not speak out because I was not a pro football player…

Photo_10Please do it. Chad Ochocinco is begging you.

Written by rkcookjr

September 11, 2009 at 12:58 am

Everything that’s wrong with sports

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My 6-year-old son’s bowling league ended last weekend. And everybody got a trophy.

If that makes you mad, just wait until you hear his T-ball team doesn’t keep score. Mark Durm does not approve.

Update on my own parenting and coaching

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It’s back to bowling season for my 6-year-old. He bowls two games every Saturday. They can be divided neatly into what snacks his four-player team consumes during the session. The first is the popcorn game, and the second is the french fries game. My major responsibility is standing in line at the concession counter for the fries.

Meanwhile, my sixth-grade son is moving up to seventh- and eighth-grade coed ball after completing his fifth- and sixth-grade league. The league needed sixth-graders to come in to fill out spots so there were four eight-member teams. My son is the only sixth-grader on his team, but after one practice, he seems to be doing OK. The competition is strong, include a few girls from a local junior high school team.

The hardest thing for me is that I’m an assistant coach, switching places with my brother-in-law, who was my assistant for the fifth- and sixth-grade league. I’m used to being in charge and yakking whenever I feel like it, so I have to hold back and let my brother-in-law take the lead. He knows what he’s doing; the difficult part is that I have a naturally loud voice (an actor’s voice, not a yelling voice), and I am ready and willing to use it.


Block out, already!

Written by rkcookjr

January 28, 2009 at 10:03 am