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The joy of bowling at the professional level

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This is one of my favorite stories and originally ran March 11, 2013. It is being re-run with a postscript.

Perhaps you saw it on ESPN a couple of weeks ago.

Wes Malott was bowling in the second round of the stepladder finals of the United States Bowling Congress Masters at Brunswick Zone Carolier in North Brunswick, N.J.

His opponent was Parker Bohn III (shown in photo), his teammate on the Los Angeles X professional bowling team.

Malott had matched Bohn’s strike in the first frame and rolled another perfectly placed shot in the second frame for a double.

Malott then cried out in celebration, “Let’s go Pflugerville!”

Let’s go Pflugerville?

Malott just happens to hail from Pflugerville, an affluent suburb of Austin, Texas, with a population of 16,335, according to the 2000 census.

One announcer good-humoredly paid Malott tribute: “That was quite the outburst. I mean, you could be put in a corner for an outburst like that.”

And a second announcer countered: “He did say that an outburst like that gets his nerves on edge and sometimes it helps him.”

Malott simply was having fun.

It was a pressure-packed game; the tournament winner would receive $50,000. Still, for Malott, it seemed as if he was just playing a friendly game of bowling on a Friday night out at the neighborhood lanes.

Throughout the match, Malott and Bohn shared light-hearted comments as only friends and teammates could.

Malott, with seven PBA tour titles to his credit, eventually won the hotly contested match but both players bowled extremely well.

Bohn, who won his first-round match by blistering a 278, could not keep up this time. Malott defeated Bohn, 255-248.

Still, both bowlers were smiling at the end. It was a case of where the joy of bowling between friends meant a lot to these fierce competitors.

The 36-year-old Malott won his next game, 202-185, but lost in the championship match to Jason Belmonte, 258-245. Strangely, Belmonte is another teammate of Malott’s on the L.A. X.

Pflugerville did not enter the picture in the final, but who knows?

Perhaps it will return another day for Wes Malott, who is nicknamed “The Big Nasty” but seems more like a teddy bear out on the lanes.

Postscript: Bohn and Malott faced each other on opposite sides in the 2014 Elias Cup finals. Bohn bowled for the L.A. X and Malott was now on the Silver Lake (Calif.) Atom Splitters. Once again, Malott came out on the winning end with Silver Lake defeating its L.A. rival, 4-2.



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