Updated: Jun 10
It’s WEDNESDAY!! It’s time to #AskLen, our weekly Q&A with PBA Hall of Famer, Len Nicholson.
As usual, I’ll go first.
This one’s a bit of a memory lane question.
In any sport, there are always rivalries. The biggest or most commonly known among the players of today is the one between Jason Belmonte. In all your years traveling with the PBA, what was the biggest rivalry you can recall?
And 1 Step further... Len did YOU have a rivalry (healthy or not) with anther bowler?
Len: As basically an "umpire" (while being a laneman), I knew going in that everybody wasn't going to like (or agree) with all that I did. I would have "many" discussions with the guys. We tried to educate them on all the variables that are involved. At times I thought it was me - but after I left, there were still the same complaints. The fact remains that they called me back 4 times.
Hi Sherri (and fellow Balls and Babes),
As usual, that's a great question. Originally (in 1958-1959) the tour was made up of some on the best bowlers AND some of the best hustlers in the country. The key was to show the public who the greats were, with the hopes of landing some great sponsors. There was emphasis on rivalries NOT FEUDS with severe penalties for misbehaving (such as arguments and/or fist fights).
In the early years, camaraderie was the key word on Tour. As the money increased in the late 60's and more lefties went on Tour, rivalries between lefties and righties cropped up because of unfair lane conditions - with the lefties & righties bickering with each other. Although there were no actual fist fights, there was plenty of heated moments in the locker room. There was a very strong competitive rivalry between Jim Stefanich (1968 BoY) and Billy Hardwick (1969 BoY) as to who was the best righty on Tour. Then in 1970 and 1971 there was another strong rivalry between lefty Johnny Petraglia and righty Don Johnson. There were never any blows delivered by anyone that I know of, but there were many dirty looks by a few of the guys.