My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
A League of Ordinary Gentlemen
Recently, on the recommendation of a friend, I viewed on DVD, the movie, “A League of Ordinary Gentlemen”. The movie is actually a documentary, focusing on the transition of the Eddie Elias PBA of yesteryear, to the “Hambone---Winner winner chicken dinner” PBA of today. Although there were many cameo appearances of well known players, both past and present, the film, originally released in 2004, detailed the 2002 season, and highlighted four storied Pro bowlers.
Wayne Webb, bowler of the past, Walter Ray Williams and Pete Weber, bowlers of the past and present, and Chris Barnes, bowler of the future. Steve Miller, who left his high profile job with Nike, was PBA director and CEO at the time of the production, a position he relinquished in 2005. He didn’t seem to care about how the players performed, as much as the entertainment value, and of course, the bottom line. Webb seemed to have a large chip on his shoulder, a la Zoilo Versalles. Prize money has increased, but now that he’s over the hill, so he isn’t getting his share. But he admits that some of his past winnings went for booze and gambling. I wonder if he knows John Daly. The appearance of Pete Weber in a movie titled “Gentlemen” is questionable, but he claims the crotch chop antics are just for Steve Miller’s show, and he’s really a nice guy in the real world. Then he added if we don’t believe it, we can kiss a rear location on his body. Chris and Lynda Barnes were starting a family in 2002, and he is portrayed in that role, and as a budding star on the PBA tour.
Walter Ray Williams is Walter Ray. Arguably the best bowler in the world. Not flashy, not cocky, just a pure winner. My favorite scene is Walter in his motor home on tour, preparing a baloney sandwich for himself. I’ve eaten many baloney sandwiches in my life, mainly because it’s cheaper than roast beef. Why a guy who has won over four million dollars bowling eats them is beyond me. I’ve never seen an Oscar Mayer patch on his bowling shirt. Maybe he just likes them. I wonder how he feels about peanut butter or Spam.
You probably won’t find the DVD at your local Blockbuster or Hollywood Video store, but it is readily available on Netflix. Rated R because some of the four letter words spoken, were previously used by Army drill sergeants, longshoremen, amateur league bowlers, and Richard Nixon. It is well done, about 90 minutes in length, and even though it’s in a time frame of seven years past, I recommend it to any behind the scenes PBA curiosity seekers.