The saying “Who do you think you are I am” is probably the most iconic phrase in bowling. But how, does it even make sense? I am not sure to be honest. But the phrase was said by Pete Weber after he struck to win the 69th U.S Open. I bring this up because bowling had a major problem. League participation has been going down since the early 1990’s. But thanks to social media, the sport of bowling looks like its on the rise with more events, tournaments, and money available then every before.
10 years ago, Pete Weber ushered that iconic phrase and since then. If you type, “Who do” into google the phrase is the 7th option to pop up. If you searched it under Youtube it’s the second option that pops up. For an industry that had struggled to get people bowling this phrase caught a lot of attention and went viral. The Youtube video has 9 million views and 111 thousand likes.
The reason I find this so important is that the phrase put bowling on the map in social media. Even last week when watching football an announcer referenced it as a player was running down the field. Bowling was the forgotten sport and in the last 10 years people are fascinated with bowling. The rise in 2 handed bowling and the constant work being put in online has brought a lot of eyes to the sport. Jason Belmonte arguably the greatest bowler ever, has 162 thousand followers on Instagram and 155 thousand on Facebook. He is just one of many that post his events, equipment he throws, tips, and tricks. These posts are free marketing for an industry in need.
As a result of all the hard work on social media the PBA (Professional Bowlers Association) is now paying out the highest prize fund it has ever given out. Largely due to the ratings that have increased on TV which are the highest since the 90’s. Junior Gold one of the largest youth tournaments has benefited from strong social media campaigns and grew the event to 4000 youth last year. (www.juniorgoldinfo.com)
It feels wrong to talk about all the positive aspects of social media has given the bowling industry without going into some of the negative aspects. With 155 thousand followers on Facebook, there will be haters. Below I am highlighting a negative comment handled brilliantly on Jason Belmonte’s Facebook page with a following comment that proves just how much his presence is idolized by an up and coming younger bowler.
Before Jason Belmonte every bowler threw the ball with 2 fingers and your thumb in. Now most young kids throw it with his style referred to as “2 handed bowling”. And with Social media if you want to learn his style there are hundred of post and videos that can teach you exactly how to do it. Something that didn’t exist 25 years ago.
So with the iconic phrase “ Who do you think you are I am” at 9 million views to the hundreds of different accounts on TikTok, Youtube, and Facebook dedicated to every aspect of bowling. And with people out there like Jason Belmonte. Thanks to social media bowling will be around for decades to come.