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Bowl Opinion -August 2016 - Hangin' with Peyton


By Jim Goodwin

How did you spend your summer vacation? CJ and I spent ours rubbing elbows with Peyton Manning.

It was a small intimate affair we shared with only a few thousand others who attended BPAA International Bowl Expo in Las Vegas this year. But our grandkids are very impressed with celebrities and can hardly believe that we were in the same room with such a famous person as the guy who won the 2016 NFL Super Bowl with his Denver Broncos team.

Manning delivered the Keynote Speech at Expo as well as he delivered the victory for his team in Super Bowl 50. He was down to earth, sincere, and funny. After delivering his prepared speech, he sat down with BPAA President Tom Martino for an informal interview on stage.

Martino did a great job. It was like two old friends having a friendly conversation. I told him later that he missed his calling; instead of being a bowling center proprietor, he should have been a journalist. He asked all the right questions, and Manning gave straight-forward honest answers. What was even more amazing is that the interview, in front of the Expo General Session audience, lasted 35-40 minutes, and not once did we get the feeling that Manning was anxious to end it.

Sports jocks usually don't like to spend much time answering questions, but Manning obviously felt very comfortable talking to Tom. Being retired might have had some- thing to do with it, but more likely it was sim- ply the fact that he is a nice guy who has always respected others throughout his career.

. . . Which is why he has been my favorite pro football player for many years. I am a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan because I have followed them since 1960, but no player on the Cowboys team has equaled Manning since the days of Roger Staubach, who incidentally, was also an Expo keynote speaker a few years ago.

What Manning has in common with Staubach and many other very successful quarterbacks is tremendous leadership ability, and it will serve him well in his next career in business or whatever he chooses. Staubach's business career is even more impressive than his Hall of Fame football days, and Manning seems a sure bet to have that same level of impact no matter what he chooses to do in the future.
One of the key questions Tom Martino asked him was about his future career path, and the answer was that he just hasn't had enough time to decide. Manning also shared many more interesting and amusing stories and anecdotes from his 18 year career in the NFL, in College, and even high school.

He talked about why he wore the number
18 - a tribute to his dad Archie Manning and his brother Cooper, whose career was cut short by injury. He talked about his own neck injury that sidelined him for an entire season and ended with his trade from Indianapolis to Denver; and he revealed the player who hit him the hardest - Baltimore's Ray Lewis. He shared a funny story about how he tried to make friends with Ray at the Pro Bowl, but it did not work.
One of his funniest stories was about the word Omaha. He said it is simply a code word he used to let his team know that the play was changing; but it has earned a life of its own when people talk about Manning, and when he actually visited the city of Omaha he said "I was a really big deal there - they even gave me the key to the city."

Manning also shared personal stories about his wife and kids, and his close relationship with his brothers. He talked about why he stayed in College an extra year after graduating in three years. He risked injury and delayed his pro career because he followed his Dad's advice to stay in Tennessee to truly appreciate the college life.
"My dad always told me to make a decision and don't look back," said Manning.

That is good advice for all of us.
In comparing football to bowling, Manning described both as "Relationship Businesses." He said he will most miss the camaraderie of the locker room and the everyday interactions with coaches and teammates. He said that pro bowlers face the same challenges as other athletes; and that they must maintain focus and discipline, and have great practice sessions to be successful.
Manning was just the latest in a long line of incredible people featured at International Bowl Expo. It seems that sports celebrities and people in politics and the entertainment business are proud to be associated with bowling.

Some of the old timers like the late Chuck Pezzano and Pat McDonough used to talk bout great baseball players like Babe Ruth, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, and many others hanging around bowling. One of my earliest memories of sports stars brought in by BPAA was the campaign involving Olympic star Mary Lou Retton back when Jamie Brooks was BPAA President.

Through the years, the list has grown and become even more impressive, especially since the proprietors annual get together be- came Bowl Expo in 1995. For those looking to rub elbows with famous people, International Bowl Expo is a good place to start.

Here is a list of those who have made speeches and appearances at Expo, in no particular order - Jerome Bettis, Jay Leno, Terry Bradshaw, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhart Jr, Richard Petty, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Jim Bouton, Ed McMahon, Rudy Giulani, James Carville, Mary Matalin, The Tuetles, Fred Thompson, Roger Staubach, Mark Kelly, Indra Nooyi, Magic Johnson, Neal McCoy, The Commodores, KC and the Sunshine Band, LeAnn R i m e s , Kool and the Gang, REO Speedwagon, The Jersey Boys, Mike Ditka, Bill Cosby, Larry King, Dan Quayle, The Beach Boys, Suze Orman, Johnny Cupcakes, Kenny Rogers, Bob Costas.

And I am sure I missed a few; not to mention the NFL greats who appear at the annual Super Bowl fundraiser or those who may drop in to the International Bowling Campus in Arlington. Not that celebrities are an indication of any special status, but they do bring a very good amount of attention to bowling, and that is
what matters most.

CJ and I were very sad when we heard the news that The Orleans Bow ling Center Manager Bobby McVey has passed away in Las Vegas.

As part of the staff that operated the Mini Eliminator Tournaments and other events for many years at the Orleans, we worked very closely with Bobby, Mike Monyak, Jeanette Robinson, and all the other great people. We always found them to be professional and terrific to work with. Bobby was a very good guy, and we sincerely enjoyed working with him and sharing a friendship.
He will be missed very much.

Article was posted with permission from Stars & Strikes, America's Bowling Newsmagazine.