Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

A Youth Sports Blog

Posts Tagged ‘prodigies

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.

From PBA.com:

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.

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Michael Jackson and the fate of child prodigies

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Shaheen Jafargholi, 12-year-old winner of Britain’s Got Talent thanks to the above rendition of the Jackson Five’s “Who’s Loving You,” I hope you realized the cautionary tale in the casket when you sang at Michael Jackson’s memorial Tuesday.

Of course, being a child prodigy is no guarantee you grow up twisted and die an untimely (and very ratings meter-moving) death. Stevie Wonder, who also sang at the MJ memorial, is an example of a child prodigy (from Motown Records, no less) who appeared to grow up to be at least some semblance of a functional human being.

But the whole vibe got me to thinking — who suffers the worse fate, the child sports prodigy, or the child arts prodigy?

Each comes on like a rocket, often pushed by a whack-job of a stage parent. Some, like Tiger Woods, the Williams sisters and the aforementioned Wonder, might have their quirks, but you don’t look at them like freaks. Some, like Jackson, Judy Garland and Bobby Fischer, grow up to be pinnacles of their field and complete basket cases in real life. Many never make it to a superstar level, leaving them to tell bitter, boring stories about when they were big, or fascinating tales of a young life, depending on what side you’re on in a debate best expressed in this exchange from the movie, “Hoosiers.”

Myra Fleener: You know, a basketball hero around here is treated like a god, er, uh, how can he ever find out what he can really do? I don’t want this to be the high point of his life. I’ve seen them, the real sad ones. They sit around the rest of their lives talking about the glory days when they were seventeen years old.
Coach Norman Dale: You know, most people would kill… to be treated like a god, just for a few moments.

What do you think?