Several good points raised and interesting questions asked.
Let me address them:
themrfreeze asked: Wait, this got posted already. What happened to the other thread?
Yes, I had originally posted the "Developing Story" bulletin (the story about "Bowlin' Nolan") as a free-standing video. But in that clip, I included a short bit in the voiceover that I later had second thoughts about including. I mentioned something of a personal nature that I will mention in the comments below, but that I felt didn't belong in the video itself, which could potentially be viewed by tens of thousands of people. I just didn't feel it was my place to decide for the family that this information needed to be out there in the public domain in a forum such as YouTube that could be viewed by tens of thousands of people. So I took that video down from YouTube, knowing I would re-voice part of it and include it in the beginning of this week's PRODIGY show.
But to answer one of the questions posed here, I'm willing to mention the backstory in the comments here, as this board reaches a decidedly smaller audience. (See below.)
mrbowling300 wrote: I know he had to have been devastated by fouling on the 11th shot, but to storm off, kick over a trash can, and pout in the bathroom is very poor sportsmanship, especially before his game was completed. Not even to mention waiting for the entire opposing team to finish their 10th frame before he bowled, and to back off twice, when there was nobody else even bowling.....all of that is a sign of a bad mental attitude as well. Plus how locked in was he really, two Brooklyn strikes in the 10th with the front 9? How many solid strikes of the front 9 did he have? Also, no need to be listening to music while bowling either. That alone probably contributed to his lack of concentration. Not fun to watch.
It is well known to the PRODIGY audience and to everyone in our league that Nolan has struggled with anger management at times. He's gotten better. I've had words with him on many occasions, as have the other coaches in our league, as well as some of the more involved parents. But this particular incident wasn't anger so much as it was just a huge personal disappointment. There's a backstory here, and I alluded to in fairly vague terms in the original version of this "Developing Story" video about Nolan's run for perfection. But I took that video down and changed my voiceover part to remove any mention I made of this backstory. I just didn't feel like YouTube, with the channel's huge audience numbering in the tens of thousands was the place for me to share personal family information when it just wasn't my place to share that information. But in this forum, where there is a smaller audience, and where you have pointed to Nolan's bad behavior, it seems entirely appropriate for me to put that bad behavior into some kind of context and offer a defense of sorts. You see, Nolan learned just the night before his 276 that a relative (a grandparent) with whom he is very close, had just been diagnosed with cancer, and he was devastated by the news. I don't know any more details about it, and it wouldn't be appropriate for me to share those details even if I knew them. But Nolan shared with me after his game had ended that he spent most of the final few frames of his game thinking how he could dedicate this game to her. So when he GOT THE STRIKE in the 11th only to discover that he had fouled, well, yes, it was like a kick in the stomach. But it was a huge let down for reasons that go far beyond the mere disappointment of letting a 300 slip through his fingers. He was irate at himself for denying himself the opportunity to have a perfect game that he could dedicate to her. That's what he was so upset about.
Now, as for the Brooklyn strikes he got on the 10th and 11th ball, I can tell you from having watched several of the strikes he made that game, I didn't see them all, but every time I looked over and saw him strike that game before the 10th frame, those shots were all right in the pocket. The only lucky ones I saw that game were the ones in the 10th and 11th.
As for his so-called "bad mental attitude," I don't know more than a couple of youth bowlers who have what I would call a mature mental game. They are all head cases, compared to pros or even highly skilled adult amateurs. They're KIDS, for crying out loud! I'm serious about this. Even some of the most highly skilled players in the state have serious weaknesses in their mental games. And Nolan isn't even a tournament bowler. There aren't more than two or three kids in the state whose mental games I would consider an asset to their overall games.
Now, as for this question about listening to music (one of my favorite subjects), stay with me here:
On either Storm's or USBC's website (I forget which one, and maybe it was both), there was a video (DVD) for sale a few years ago featuring Rhino Page who spoke in regards to the mental game. I bought it out of curiosity, and found much of what he had to say quite interesting. But the exercises that he prescribed, all which I thought were well grounded in modern psychology, recommended certain drills you could do that basically DISTRACTED you from over-thinking each shot. By repeating these drills, you would train yourself to learn ways you could effectively get your mind OFF of bowling's mechanics so you could JUST BOWL. Basically, the whole point was to keep you from focusing more than you really need to, and instead to just do what your body has been trained to do. From my years of working with the PGA TOUR and some of the best golfers and golf coaches in the world, I know about this principle. You do all your thinking about swing mechanics on the practice tee. Then when you go out to play a round of golf, you just let it flow and don't overthink anything. Just PLAY GOLF. In bowling, it's very similar. The object should be to not get caught up in thinking so much about the mechanics of your delivery, but rather, just pick out a spot and let your muscle memory do what it's trained to do. The mental exercises that Rhino Page described on this DVD were interesting, but I personally found that you could achieve much the same thing by just listening to music. And that's when I started wearing my Beats Wireless headset whenever I was bowling league. (As did about a dozen other people I know.) For me, it allowed me to bowl better. I wasn't distracted by ANYTHING. Not the loud drunk guy three pairs over hollering over his team's performance. Not the idiot on the P-A system announcing that a lane is available for the Smith party. And not that group of kids who are shrieking 10 pairs down who are having a birthday party. I couldn't hear any of them. And guess what? My average shot up.
Now, I don't wear 'em in tournament competition. Although I might if they're allowed. (Some tournaments allow them, some don't. There's nothing in the USBC Rule book prohibiting them. And anybody who complains about 'em is, to my way of thinking, just wanting me to suffer the same distractions that they're willing to tolerate. Well, guess what? I'm not.) We don't disallow listening to music in youth league because there's nothing in the USBC rules that prohibits it. I see nothing wrong with it, and I am a case study in how it can actually help you bowl better. And for me, that's all the reason you need to wear them -- whether anyone else likes it or not. If a league or a tournament institutes a rule prohibiting it, I'm only too happy to abide by the rule. But if there's no rule prohibiting it, sorry, but I'm not there to carry on small talk with you. I'm there to bowl. End of discussion.
themrfreeze said (good naturedly), "I blame his coach for not teaching him proper sportsmanship.
Believe me, I have had numerous discussions with "Bowlin' Nolan" about his temper. I suspect this is an issue that does not begin and end at the bowling alley. My belief is that it probably shows up elsewhere in his life, too. But I'm not his parent. I'm the Youth Director at the bowling center where he bowls league. And unless he does something that would put others in physical danger, about all I can do about it is talk to him. I'm not going to spank him. :-)
Fordman wrote: The announcer said no one else had trouble fouling. He is wearing sneakers. He just screwed up.
Actually, I didn't say anything about anyone else fouling. I said that Nolan has had issues with fouling in the past. Which is true. He's had to learn the hard way on PRODIGY and in league that touching the lane beyond the foul line with your fingers is a foul. This came up on the final day of league a couple of years ago in a very contentious match between his team and another team when they were bowling for the league championship. It got very nasty. I didn't personally witness it, so there wasn't much I could do. But as it was described to me, Nolan fouled, but the light didn't go on (which it won't if you touch the lane with your fingers beyond the black line). In the end, it didn't matter, because Nolan's team prevailed by more than enough to render his foul/no foul controversy moot. But there was certainly some high drama that day. So this is certainly not the first time a foul has cost him. You'd think he'd learn. But my experience in sports tells me, if you have a weak area in your game -- whether your game is bowling, golf, tennis, or whatever -- it will almost certainly show up in pressure situations. And it did here. I'm just glad it didn't happen on the 12th ball. Oh, Jesus. It's bad enough that it happened on the 11th ball. Anyway, it's unfortunate, but you're exactly right -- he just screwed up. He knows it, we all know it, and he paid the price. But those aren't sneakers. They're bowling shoes. And even if they were sneakers, there's nothing in the rules that prohibits the wearing of sneakers, either. Neil Burton, Nelson Burton, Jr.'s brother, used to wear a sneaker on his right foot when he was bowling for traction when pushing off. It's perfectly legal to wear one OR TWO sneakers when you're bowling. But Nolan's shoes are bowling shoes. What's illegal is having your shoes leave behind residual stuff on the approach. But guess what? I've seen Dexter SST8 shoes leave behind a long black rubber skid mark when the player's trail foot dragged on the floor. So the problem isn't always with non-bowling shoes. Bowling shoes can be the culprit sometimes.
I'll just say this: If you think this was tough to watch on video, imagine how we felt watching it in person! I think everyone who was gathered around was pulling for this kid. Nolan is the most misunderstood kid in our program. A few of the adults who have kids in our program (frankly, all of them white) find his temper outbursts to be very off-putting. (I suppose it's pure coincidence that I never see them hanging out with any black people.) I, on the other hand, see another side of Nolan. I see the kid who is always hovering around the little kids, looking out for them, helping them, trying to coach 'em up, helping people carry stuff in and out of the bowling center. Nolan's a good kid who's imperfect, like all of us, and knows he needs to get better. So he's trying. And sometimes, he lapses, kind of like we all do. But there's no question that his manner of speech (very ethnic, "ebonics," if you will) drive a wedge between him and some people, so I'm not surprised by the negative reactions to him from some people. Me? I've got no problem with him. I just want what's best for him, and I know that until he gets his emotions under control, they will continue to be a problem for him -- in bowling and in life. But as the Youth Director at Brunswick Zone Roswell (I'm not really even his coach -- his only bowling coach is his dad -- I only try to help him where I can and when he's willing to listen), there's only so much I can do. We ain't runnin' a boot camp here, y'know. Fortunately, I know I've gained his trust, as he knows I'm on his side.
I viewed that incident as a teachable moment. And quite frankly, some of the words I include in the PRODIGY bowlcasts are often there for the benefit of the kids in hopes that those words might sink in. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. But it's just another way I have to try to reach them. And as viewers of the show, you, and others, get to listen in. If it benefits more than just the kids, then so much the better.