Monday, January 25, 2010

This story shouldn't stay in Vegas

I don't normally channel-surf, but fortunately yesterday was one of those rare exceptions, because I stumbled upon an amazing bit of history being made. It was ESPN's live broadcast from Las Vegas of the Professional Bowlers Association Tournament of Champions, in which Kelly Kulick became the first woman to win a PBA title.

Kulick was already something of PBA trailblazer, having become the first woman to qualify to compete on the men's tour, back in 2006. She went into the record books in resounding fashion yesterday with a 265-195 victory over Chris Barnes that included 10 strikes. Even Barnes looked choked up by what he was witnessing, and not because he was watching $40,000 and a prestigious title slip from his grasp.

Kulick's feat should bode well for the future of women's bowling, which has struggled since the Professional Women's Bowling Association folded in 2003 due to a lack of sponsorship.

Bowling is a sport in which the best women should be able to compete well against the best men. It is, after all, a sport that rewards focus, accuracy and consistency over power. Still, it would be nice if there were enough interest and sponsorship to support a women's tour again.

Kulick's win yesterday should go a long way toward ratcheting up the interest.


  1. Wow, that is interesting! Do you think men and women are pretty evenly matched in bowling? Does wrist size or anything have an effect on accuracy? Is hand-eye coordination different?

  2. This was amazing to see live; I can't believe it wasn't mentioned in the paper or on the news, unless I missed it. I was choked up too, as well as someone else I know.

  3. Esther: As in most other sports, I think men have an advantage in bowling as well because they are usually stronger. This allows them to use the heaviest ball possible (16 pounds), which gives them an advantage because, all else being equal, heavier balls usually result in higher pin counts because they drive through the pocket and don't deflect off the pins as easily. I bowl in a league and only one woman in the league uses a 16-pound ball, but then her average is 30 pins lower than the top average in the league, so a heavy ball does not automatically mean great bowling. That's where the accuracy and consistency come in, and I do think the top female bowlers could be very competitive with the top men. I don't think wrist size or even strength would have anything to do with accuracy, and I'm not aware of any difference in hand-eye coordination between men and women, though that would be an interesting subject to explore. Thanks for the idea!

  4. mscarl: Who are you talking about? :-)