JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
As has been an annual tradition here, civilian and military personnel got the opportunity Saturday to share the bowling lanes with some of professional bowling's best of the best.
Pro bowlers Randy Pedersen, Diandra Asbaty, Jason Belmonte and Mike Fagan spent an entire day at the Skylark Bowling Center instructing aspiring bowlers, signing autographs, and bowling with JBSA's own professional-amateur bowlers during the 'Bowling With The Stars Pro-Am League' event.
Pedersen, who participated in the event previously, said he jumps at the opportunity to visit military installations when available. Currently a bowling commentator for ESPN, the Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer said he doesn't get the opportunity to visit the troops as often as he did when he was a full time bowler.
"Everybody wants to be here to meet us," Pedersen said. "(Visiting military installations) doesn't make it a job for us anymore, it makes it a pleasure for us just to hang out with the men and women of our armed forces."
Pedersen said he helped attendees improve on the nuances of their game.
"Some players tend to turn the ball a little early when they should try to keep their hand under the ball," he said. "I talked about the "less is more" theory when trying to get gravity to control their arm swing as opposed to muscling the ball. You can only do so much in a couple of hours trying to teach so many people. They come away with a lot of information that hopefully they can apply somewhere down the road."
Instructing people on the mechanics of the game is old hat for Asbaty. The 11-time Team USA Bowling Team member is a United States Bowling Congress certified coach who teaches youth, collegiate, and adult bowlers. She hopes to conduct seminars at other military installations in the near future.
"It's always different when you meet new bowlers and they have issues with their game," Asbaty said. "Everybody has a different style so it's always a challenge (helping everybody out with their game)."
One attendee was grateful for this opportunity to learn from bowling's best of the best while spending time with his son.
Eric Penalver, a contract services coordinator at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, who has attended the event previously, said he could not a put a price on the learning experience he and his 8-year-old son Julian received during the seminar.
An avid bowler since he was his son's age, Penalver said he appreciated learning from professionals with various styles like Belmonte, who is an accomplished two-handed bowler.
"When I was growing up, you were taught to bowl with one hand," Penalver said. "By providing a different aspect of bowling, it opens the mind of our youth to more than one style of bowling."