|Photo courtesy PBA LLC|
Recently, I had the privilege and pleasure of conducting a phone interview with one of the true 'Class Acts' in the sport of bowling, namely Parker Bohn III. Mr. Bohn gives the impression on TV of being a real likable guy, and after an extended conversation with him, he's even more congenial than I had expected. My interview was more of a 'friendly talk' than a formal interview, so this 'Up Close and Personal' segment will be more of a "Q & A/Bio".
THE EARLY YEARS AND UP
Parker Bohn III grew up in Freehold, New Jersey, which is approximately 5 minutes from one of the popular "Six Flags Great Adventure" parks. Being a "III", Parker related that his father and grandfather were indeed bowlers, but not on the professional level. Bohn got into bowling at the age of 8, more so through his mother's influence during trips to the bowling center. His bowling stomping grounds were at Howell Lanes, in Howell, New Jersey. There is in fact a bowling outlet at the nearby Six Flags theme park, but that's more of a venue for outdoor bowling exhibitions where the pros participated in 2009, and will do so shortly upcoming in June of this year.
As the years went by, Parker excelled at bowling, and as he developed and matured, soon it became time to start thinking about joining the pro circuit. Bohn did initially participate in regional events, but only for a couple of months until he acquired his PBA card, and then he didn't waste too much time moving onto the 'touring player' level.
Parker joined the Professional Bowlers Association in 1985, and a short 2 years later, he won the first of his 32 career PBA titles. When asked what his preferred lane pattern is, Bohn's response was "the one you strike on the most". But if he had to pinpoint one particular oil pattern, Parker referred to the 'Cheetah' pattern— a lane condition where he feels comfortable—playing near the gutter.
Regarding his most nervous bowling moment, Bohn replied, without hesitation, "My first shot on national TV". His mindset for his TV debut was "to come out the gate strong, try your best, and start on a positive note".
When asked about his most prideful moment in bowling, Parker recollected two events in particular: 1) Bowling 300 on TV at the 1998 ABC Masters, and 2) In 1999, when he defeated Walter Ray Williams, Jr. in Canandaigua, NY for a PBA title (the Track/Dexter Open).
I next asked Parker who was his toughest opponent over the years, whether it be due to consistently tough matches, or the player who always seemed to bowl well against him. Once again, Bohn had a quick answer—"Mike Aulby". Parker learned from Aulby one of the most important aspects of competitive play. As Parker states, "No matter how far out of a match you are, or how much you're in command, you need to focus on trying on every single shot. It makes you a better player in the next event you're in. Mike Aulby would never give up, and constantly worked on his game, which helped to propel him to be better than anybody ever thought."
Regarding doubles partners over the years, there have been several standouts for Parker Bohn. Duane Fisher, Hugh Miller, and Ron Morton came to mind. Bohn remembers winning a mixed doubles event with the legendary lady pro, Aleta Sill. During the past two years, Parker says he's honored to have been asked to bowl with Carolyn Dorin-Ballard down in Texas for an extremely worthy charity benefit—a tournament in which the proceeds go toward the fight against breast cancer. And last but not least, the events in which Parker bowls mixed doubles with his wife, Leslie, are truly enjoyable. Leslie is an extremely accomplished player in her own right. Last year, she averaged 220 in league play, and 205 this year. Bohn admits that he's learned never to give her any lip on the lanes.
Parker Bohn has been involved with TV commercials for Lumber Liquidators hardwood floors, and has thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Aside from his association with "Liquidators", Bohn highly recommends the company's hardwood floors, as that's what he has in his home. Bohn's tie-in with Lumber Liquidators began in March of 2009, in which the company asked him to be a part of their TV ad campaigns. Regarding why he was picked for the TV spots from the PBA, he says, "It was just a case of right place, right time".
There have been 2 commercials that Parker has been a part of, and they were filmed in his home. The ad segments were filmed in one day, in which there were 12 hours of preparation, with the crew on ladders changing the lighting coming through his foyer window. The film crew consisted of 26-27 guys, the day starting at 6:30 am, and ending at 10:45 pm.
Parker Bohn III has a complete family of a wife, Leslie, and 5 five children, including his oldest son, his namesake, Parker, at age 20, then Evan (age 18), Justin (age 7), Brandon (age 5), and Sidney, his only girl, at age 4.
Parker enjoys being at home, occupying his time by doing yard work, and taking care of the house. I asked Bohn how he manages to stay in shape. His reply was that he always tries to stay busy. He'll soon be starting a workout regimen, though, to keep up with the guys on the tour.
Parker has a wide range of interests in sports, in which he says he's a pinch more partial to baseball. His favorite teams are the Mets, Yankees, Phillies, New York's football Giants, the Eagles, NHL's Flyers, and Islanders.
A typical bowling touring season for Parker Bohn consists of about 40 weeks. He sticks with a 16-pound ball on both his first and second shots. When playing in a regional event, Bohn takes about 8-10 bowling balls with him. On the national tour, the number can range from a minimum of 6 balls at a single stop, and anywhere on the low end of 20 balls to a maximum of 40-50 balls by the end of a given tour season.
When asked if he's ever bowled duckpins, candlepins, fivepins, or bocce, Bohn states that he's done them all at one time or another. As he reminisced about the small ball games, he recalled living in Boston for about a year, and he had bowled candlepins about 2 or 3 times.
An amusing story came to mind for Parker regarding a PBA tour stop that was to take place in Windsor Locks, CT. Bohn said he had about 2 hours to kill before the tour stop Pro-Am, and he and a fellow professional, Duane Fisher decided to bowl some candlepins. Parker remembers that they both looked pretty pathetic during the first couple of games, until they realized that in order to score, they had to pretty much just rare back, and go right at the headpin with their deliveries. Bohn says that their scores weren't anything to write home about, but they did better as they went along. When he and Fisher were done, they proceeded on to the tenpin Pro-Am event. Parker said that his game got out-of-whack, and he ended up rolling games of around 140 and 150. Laughingly, he added, "But I did beat Duane in those 2 games". Eventually by the 3rd game, the two pros started getting their tenpin bearings again. His fivepin and duckpin exposure came during an exhibition in Montreal, where he was teaching junior bowlers the finer points of tenpins.
While watching one of the wonderful ESPN Classic telecasts of PBA Bowling from years past, I heard one of the announcers make reference to a moving human interest story that I just had to ask Parker about. The circumstances had to do with a lengthy drive on the night before the PBA finals in which Bohn visited a terminally ill patient in the hospital. Parker elaborated on the story.
It seems that Danny Wiseman knew a gentleman who had done a tremendous amount of work for the sport of bowling, and the man was terminally ill in the hospital. There was a PBA Regional event going on in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Danny asked Parker if he would pay the gentleman a visit. Wiseman is a friend of Bohn, held in high esteem, and Parker said that if Danny asked him to do something like that, it must be important, so Parker's reply was, "You get me the address and I'll show up." Bohn was scheduled to bowl in the finals of the regional event the next morning, but putting that aside, he drove to the hospital and spent a quality visit with the ailing fan. Parker later left the hospital, and drove back, arriving home at 1:30 am. He was able to get a minimal amount of sleep, and returned back to the lanes in time to bowl at the 8:00 am start time—and Bohn won the event.
I quizzed Parker as to his recommendations to bowlers when they're struggling with their games. Parker says that he's a prime example and follows the philosophy of the acronym, "K.I.S.S.", meaning "Keep It Simple, Stupid". Bohn says this advice will go a long way for players in the sport of bowling.
One other recommendation that Parker lives by is something that applies to all walks of life. Bohn emphasizes "Never burn any bridge on the way up. No matter how high you get—never burn any bridges."
In 2008, Parker Bohn III set a new precedent by winning $150,000 in a PBA special event, the "Motel 6 Roll to Riches", which at the time put him over the $2.7 million mark in career earnings. Always a gentleman on and off the lanes, Parker is a living example of "good things happening to good people", and is a true credit to not only his athletic profession, but a credit to the human race.
As the French would be hasty to proclaim, "Bohn est bon."
Go Back or Close Window
(To execute a 'BACK' command after clicking on a photo to enlarge, right-click on a white area on the screen that follows, and then select 'Back' from the menu that will appear)
|If you like this article, give us a quick click on the 'Google +1', 'Facebook Like', and/or 'Twitter Follow' below|