by Randy Ooney
Each year, around the time that Puxatawny Phil is searching for his shadow, and we are left wondering why those six weeks left of winter are the longest weeks of the year, a hundred million Americans or more huddle in front of the television set for the annual super spectacle. Many of those care about the game, (most of them having placed a wager), but an equal number just want to check out the new TV ads, imbibe with friends, or watch the halftime show in hopes of another wardrobe malfunction
Since the NFL has blatantly stolen the name of “Bowl” for their winter spectacular, (think about it. They claim the name comes from the New Year’s Day college rank stadiums, but those stadiums are ovals at best, some are shaped like horseshoes), if the PBA ever wishes to reach this level of attention, they need to come up with the “Super Kegle”. I’m thinking it could start with 64 of the best players in the world, and those players would be seeded into a large bracket consisting of four regions. The bracket pairings could then be posted in the daily newspapers and 32,000 web sites with associated contests to pick the winners. The conversation at the watercooler at work would go something like: “Who did you pick in the Bohn III vs. Williams Jr. match.” Or “Do you have Couch in the Sweet 16?”. “Can you believe Rash knocked out Weber?”, “I never pick those upsets.”
Commercials could include Charles Barkley giving golf swing lessons for Callaway. Natalie Gulbis showing Ben Rothesberger how to ride a Harley-Davidson hog. And David Spade interviewing various Twins players for a Capital One competitor: Joe Nothan, Johan Santano, Nick Puntno, and Francisco Liriano, all get jobs, and Justin Morneau is appointed supervisor. The last guy is kicked out and goes to work for Capital One, Michael Cuddyeah.
The Final Four of the Super Kegle would of course feature the four survivors from the regional brackets. Because of the huge fan interest, the show has to be moved from the National Bowling Stadium to the huge Metrobowl in Minneapolis. This domed facility was converted when the Twins moved to their new home by the garbage recycling dump, and the Vikings moved to their floating stadium on Lake Minnetonka. The matches are converted to three game sets, so they can fill five hours, and stop after the fifth frame of the middle game for the half time show. This year’s show features the Dixie Chicks, who were canceled from their originally scheduled appearance at the Republican National Convention. The Chicks set features some of Willie Nelson’s favorite bowling classic tunes – “Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be bowlers”, “My Heroes Have Always Been Bowlers”, “Whiskey River Lanes”, and “Help Me Make it Through the Night”.
The Super Kegle mercifully ends after an hour of bowling and four hours of commercials and halftime show, when Wes Malott fouls on his final shot and loses to Walter Ray Williams Jr. 257-248. My bracket was wiped out long ago so I rush to my tipboard number clipped to the refrigerator with a National Bowling Stadium refrigerator magnet. Sigh – I had 5-5. Why is it that none of these pro games ever end in five.