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Brad Miller wins Sportsmanship Award

Ed Townsend - Columnist
Posted 12/30/20

Brad Miller, of Lee's Summit, Mo., was voted by his fellow PBA Tour competitors as the 2020 PBA Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award winner in recognition of his sportsmanship on and off the lanes. …

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Brad Miller wins Sportsmanship Award

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Brad Miller, of Lee's Summit, Mo., was voted by his fellow PBA Tour competitors as the 2020 PBA Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award winner in recognition of his sportsmanship on and off the lanes.

“It's nice to be accepted within an organization I'm passionate about,” said Miller. “The PBA is the coolest place in the world in my eyes. I'm just trying to do the best I can and play my part. I really love trying to promote everyone involved and I think people have realized that.”

Although the 2020 season was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 30-year-old Miller still managed to have the best year of his career, qualifying for two televised finals appearances in addition to advancing to the round of eight in the PBA Playoffs. Miller finished the season ranked 10th in earnings, doubling his previous year's total, and 11th overall in competition points.

“This whole year was so difficult in so many ways, but I think it's a good turning point for me,” added Miller about receiving the award. “This is a nice little reminder that there is still work to do.”

Off the lanes, Miller serves as chairman of the PBA Players Committee. A group of touring players that share input from the entire membership on a variety of programs that impact professional bowlers. Along with Kyle Sherman, Miller also runs the Brad & Kyle YouTube channel, which gives their fans insight into PBA life through the players' eyes.

“There's only a small list of people that find joy in traveling the world trying to see how well they match up to the best and potentially make a few bucks,” said Miller. “It's a special group. When the shoes come off, everybody has respect for each other and it's pretty easy for me to cherish.”

First presented in 1966, the PBA's sportsmanship award honors Steve Nagy, a PBA Hall of Famer and founding member who was instrumental to the success of the PBA Tour in its early years.

Miller was chosen by his peers from among four other finalists: Martin Larsen of Sweden, Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, South Carolina; Canada's Francois Lavoie, and Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill.

Ed's Outlook

A New Year Bowling Gift

ForeVR came out of stealth last week as a company dedicated to developing mass-market virtual reality games for all ages and geographies. The startup has raised $1.5 million, and its first game is a VR bowling title.

The company was founded by industry vets Marcus Segal and Mike Pagano Doom, who both worked at Zynga. They are developing their first game, which is scheduled to be released in early 2021 on Oculus VR headsets.

Segal said in an interview with GamesBeat that the market is about to enter a new stage with the increasing accessibility and affordability of VR technology, thanks to the launch of the Oculus Quest 2 wireless headset. On top of that, he said VR should benefit from the need for socially distant entertainment options and the nostalgia for group games. The team aims to translate the most popular and classic “in real-life” games into addicting and compelling games you can play with friends and family, he said.

“I love VR. And I've been waiting for the right time, which for me was when there is a device that everyone could access,” Segal said. “And I think that the Oculus Quest 2 at just $300 blows this opportunity wide open. Bowling was really instrumental for the Wii, and we think that kind of game, where you could play with one hand, is exactly what VR needs. You pick up the ball and bowl. It's a great place to start this accessibility revolution for VR. I was able to get my 81-year-old dad into it.”

ForeVR Bowl will debut in 2021. Overall, the company believes sports games will be a big opportunity in VR.

“Accessible games are really in my DNA from Zynga. I wanted to make games where we could basically make the audience for VR bigger,” Segal said. “If you look at what Zynga did for web games, we were able to make games that the grandparents could play with their grandchildren. And I really want to do that for VR, I want to make games where you can make a case that there will be a VR headset in every household. And the only way you do that is if you can make a game where the family could play it, like bowling.”

The seed funders for ForeVR include Galaxy Interactive Fund, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear, Twitch cofounder Justin Kan, and Zynga founders Mark Pincus and Justin Waldron. The 10-person team is based in San Francisco and Los Angeles and includes senior creatives and strategists from Glu, Disney, Electronic Arts, and Zynga.

Sam Englebardt, the managing partner of Galaxy Interactive, said in an email, “Marcus is at the top of a very short list of people I'd do almost anything to back. He made the decision even easier when he pitched us the idea for ForeVR and told our team he was partnering with Mike Doom. Their first game's early build is already too addictive to put down, so I can't wait to see what they do next. Whatever it is, it's going to be really fun.”

Segal, who previously worked at Zynga, believes the opportunity is similar to the moment when the Nintendo Wii made games more accessible to everyone from toddlers to grandparents. Wii Sports was a huge hit on the Wii, and it's no accident ForeVR is working on a bowling game, he said.

Bowling Tip

By Mike Luongo

As we enter the new year here are several great tips to improve your bowling game.

Bowling Arm Swing: Your arm swing is crucial for consistency in today's game. The direction of the swing greatly impacts your release and initial ball direction.

Ball Release and Speed Control: One of the most important adjustments any bowler can make is the ability to change your ball speed…practice and use different speeds to see what the different speeds do to your release of the bowling ball.

Relaxed Bowling Grip Pressure: Two of the most important aspects of bowling are ball fit and bowling grip pressure. Most important tip here is the importance of keeping a loose and relaxed grip.

Using bowler's tape can help get the best fit possible to prevent bowlers from squeezing and other physical game issues.

Mike Luongo is a Certified IBPSIA Pro Shop Operator, Master Instructor, USBC Silver Level Coach and an Advisor-Special Events Assistant with the Storm and Roto Grip Bowling Ball Company. Have a question, email him at mike.luongo@stormbowling.com.

LOCAL SCORES

KIAMESHA LANES

Monday Men's

Robert Feeney Jr. 213, Bob Feeney Sr. 235, 232, 656, Bob Sze 247, Richard Bivins 224, 606, Russell Bivins 208, 600, Kevin Stackhouse 226, 245, 662, Charlie Tuttle 232, 656, Vinny Collura 246, 624, Pedro Agapito III a 290, 241, 750, Gene Smith 216, Bill VanAken 223, 606, Dan VanAken 221, 233, 224, 678, Allan Jones 214, 221, Tom Belgiovene 243, 279, 708, Jonathan Wilhelm 267, 622, Jaryl Scott 268, 683, Jon Wilhelm 237, 609.

Tues. Mixed Firefighters

Petro Agapito III had a great night of bowling scoring a nice 817 series off single games of 239, 279 and 299. Jonathan Wilhelm 234, 609, Jon Wilhelm 279, 651, Shane Cunningham 237, 615, Steve Belgiovene 227, 232, 629, John Hoffmann213, George Kelly 213, Wendy Swan 164, Ailene Washington 165, Loretta VanAken 162, James VanAken 221, Dave Graham 232, 220, 659, Daniel VanAken 268, 235, 704, Anne Kaplan 164, Charlie Tuttle 238, Keith Smith 237, 639. Kathy Bradley 172, Tammy Bennett 192, 197, 212, 601, Connie Beach 187, Rick Bradley 251, Karen Martin 161, David Doty 204, 238, 234, 676.

Friday Mixed

Esther Barber 198, Lisa Cartwright 196, Mikayla DeGraw 171, Nicole Feller 179, Anne Kaplan 168, Michele Macedonio 214, 518, Victoria Sawall 177, Charlie Tuttle 242, 237, 685, Bill Schubert 257, 650, Keith Smith 236, 237, 683, Kevin Stackhouse 226, 631, Pedro Agapito 243, 229, 239, 711, Shane Cunningham 263, 640, Harry Dennis III a 225, 607, David Graham 274, 671, Philip Norris 221, 241, 627, Jason Rogers 233, 217, 644.

FOX BOWLING CENTER

Wednesday Independent

Doc Bolduc 248, 641, Al Bullis Sr. 254, 231, 653, Andrew Bullis 238, 600, Brian Drumm 233, Chad Gardepe 279, 662, Ben Green 246, 635, Pete Green 236, 623, Dan Keesler 211, 249. 660, Karol Mech 248, 621, Mitch Persbacker 225, 225, 671, Doug Phillips 235, Scott Wahl 246, 616, Roger Widmann 212, Zuke Wormuth 225, 218, 621.

Friday Couples

Samantha Card 188, Dale Conklin 213, 214, 634, Melinda Conklin 180, Shane Dirig 206, 203, 601, Mike Dufton 235, Janet Ellis 182, 504, Scott Elllis 279, 682, Dennis Leonard 245, 606, Julie Martin 183, Mindy McElroy 212, 534, Brianna Meres 190, 203, 518, Rick Mills 216, 224, 603, Dean Price 235, 631, Scott Wahl 212, 612, Dan Wormuth 247, 641, Jeremy Wormuth 245, 659.

Saturday Morning Youth Mixed

Landon Fuller 134, 148, 158, 440, Ashbee Gately 101, Cooper Wormuth 113.

Sunday Mixed Fun

Landyn Fuller (youth) 137, 102, Donnie Marino 247, 236, 225, 708, Garry Mills 202, Rick Mills 224, 600, Gabe Rynearson 262, 225, 648, Fred Shakelton 533, Paul Siegler 533.

Ed Townsend is a Public Relations Consultant to the sport of bowling and brings over 60 plus years of sports journalism experience writing and compiling the information for this column. If you have league or tournament information, bowl a 300 game or 800 series, let Ed know at 845-439-8177, email at bght75@gmail.com or fax to 845-205-4474. View this column and Ed's photos at https://bght.blogspot.com We are also on Facebook and Twitter.

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