Bored and clicking through PBA.com the other day, I made a stunning revelation. Eight of the 64 exempt bowlers on the PBA have their own website. That’s right, eight. Some don’t even have a Facebook. Less than 10 have a Twitter.
Even one of the most talented, widely respected bowlers on the planet, Chris Barnes, doesn’t have his own website. He has a page that’s dedicated to him on a bowling website for which he’s the spokesperson. That doesn’t count.
I understand that bowling isn’t the most lucrative sport in the world and that website building doesn’t come inexpensively but have professional bowlers stopped to think of the responsibilities they have as a professional athlete to market themselves, not only for their own benefit but for the benefit of their sponsors? Besides that, I can guarantee that if done well, a website will make a public figure more money than they’ll ever put into it.
Pure laziness is what it is.
It’s clear in the way bowlers carry themselves how lazy they can be at times. Sure, bowling isn’t one of those sports where it takes a 6’5″, 250 lbs, superstar who can bench press 450lbs and run a 40m in 5 seconds flat to be successful. But if you’re anyone in the spotlight and there exists even a small fan base who look up to you, take some pride in yourself. Any publicist or agent will tell you that. I’m not asking all bowlers to go out and get plastic surgery to look like David Beckham. Start by getting a trainer. I’d settle for a haircut in some instances. Maybe a belt. Or black socks with their black dress pants would suffice.
It’s like bowlers are completely clueless as to how important their image is. Or they don’t care.
Either way, I can’t listen to players complain about prize funds and contract cuts any longer. If you don’t take yourself seriously as an athlete, why should anyone else? What makes you think that if you sit around all day, get handed some equipment and occasionally make it strike that you’re worth a six or seven figure paycheck?
Unfortunately being a bowler carries a negative perception these days, I can’t imagine why the public has these assumptions.