Shifting gears from the bustling MLB spring training, NFL offseason, and college basketball postseason, PBA Bowling continues to be the sporting world’s elephant in the room. Yes, it is clinging by a thread from the clutches of bankruptcy. No, it doesn’t have a designated page on ESPN’s website, even if you scour the desolate “Other Sports” section. There is Cricket. You better believe there is Bass Fishing. Bowling? No. So in order to honor the sport-that-time-forgot, here are the top 5 goofiest bowling forms ever to be witnessed on television.
5. Jeff Mattingly
Considered a cranker in the late 70s, Jeff Mattingly is a man you will not forget. Never again will you see someone with the hair of the Quaker Oats man and a mustache to match, all before the age of 30. His extraordinary delivery earned him one PBA title before he was claimed in a car accident in 1987. Jeff Mattingly, a man who lived as recklessly as he bowled.
In this 1982 clip that does him no justice, he begins in hilarious fashion by whiffing the 2-pin.
4. Wayne Garber
The lone entry on this list from the past decade, Wayne came out of nowhere in 2009 to make a televised broadcast and defeat Walter Ray Williams in a semifinal. Though he did not win the title, he gave hope to generations of ridiculous bowling goons for years to come. He claims he bowls like he does to accommodate his history of bad back problems and while we may have seen the last of him on TV, he won’t be forgotten.
Watch as he befuddles broadcasters and WRW struggles to see the pins behind his mammoth frame.
3. Ron Williams
Unlike #4 and #5, our #3 selection could pass as an ordinary human being… at first. He picks up his bowling ball, sets up in his stance, and pushes away like any other normal bowler. But then, wait for it… OH the humanity! How? Why? What Ron is able to do with his arm is cruel and unusual. Not for the faint of heart.
2. Scott Devers
Of course the final two members on the list are lefties. Scott Devers (pronounced Dee-vers) was another mustached 20 year old who appeared in the late 80s/early 90s. Probably the most successful of the other five bowlers, Devers still left much to be desired for a televised audience. His unique ability to graze his leg with every shot paired with a completely bent wrist gave his ball about two revolutions, low for even a lefty.
In this clip, watch him at regular speed and then enjoy the broadcast “deconstruct” his approach.
1. Mike Lichstein
And finally, Mike Lichstein somehow manages to combine the ugly and pain-inducing styles of all the previous bowlers into one disjointed motion. I don’t know how this happens but the hair has to be partially to blame. You simply have to watch.
Again, you see his first shot and then a close up of his approach. Keep watching if you want to see sexy young Patrick Allen.
The man who probably coached all of these bowlers, Mr. Ed Kramarcik, disqualified from the list for not making a televised show.