by Fred Eisenhammer
VENTURA – Let’s see Walter Ray Williams Jr. do it or Pete Weber or Norm Duke or any of the top pro bowlers.
Let’s see if any of those famed pros can do what up-and-coming 22-year-old bowler Adam Seligman did in a recent one-week span.
Before breaking down the memorable events, the highlights were back-to-back perfect games in league play at Buena Lanes in Ventura and a matchplay victory over five-time Professional Bowlers Assn. Tour champion Mike Fagan in a Scratch tournament in Las Vegas.
Bowling coach Andy Clark, who once instructed 900 bowler Jimmy Schmitzer, has worked with Seligman for three months.
He calls his protégé an extremely hard worker who always wants to bowl more and more games. Clark says Seligman’s “mental focus is good and has never seen him get too upset.”
Clark adds that he likes Seligman’s potential and, when prodded, delivers a headline-grabbing compliment.
“I would put him up against Belmo,” Clark said.
“I would like to see them go head-to-head in a match.”
Belmo happens to be Jason Belmonte, a three-time Professional Bowlers Assn. Player of the Year. Seligman, like Belmonte, is a two-handed bowler.
Some might say that’s where the comparisons stop because their credentials are miles apart. Still, Seligman is swiftly adding to his resume.
Now, about that amazing week: It started Oct. 30 when Seligman, a Newbury Park resident, crushed a career-best 846 series (246, 300, 300). The next night, Seligman followed with another stellar performance at Buena Lanes with games of 277, 279 and 205 for a 761 series. Then on the weekend, he took on Fagan and defeated him by racking up strikes on his last four shots.
Beating a seasoned pro meant a lot to Seligman. “That was right up there with my back-to-backs,” said Seligman, who does volunteer work in the Buena Lanes pro shop, which is run by seven-time PBA Tour champion Robert Smith. “I look up to [Fagan] because he’s a really good bowler.”
Seligman makes no secret of the fact that he wants to compete on the PBA Tour. And there’s no disputing that he puts in the work. He bowls in four leagues at Buena Lanes from Monday to Thursday. And he estimates he puts in 50-60 games of practice during the week – and that doesn’t include the games he bowls in tournaments during the weekend.
“I love everything about the sport. I really do,” he said. “I put 110 percent into it. It’s kind of an addiction. I can’t really get rid of it. It means that much to me.” He added that if he lived in Las Vegas with 24-hour lanes, “I’d probably be there at 3 in the morning.”
Seligman admittedly has high ambition, but he also has a genuine respect for the game and its leading performers.
When told about his coach’s desire to see him play Belmonte, Seligman said: “That would be awesome. I would be frozen a bit. I’d be scared. But that’s one of my dreams as well.”
Seligman, who has blasted 12 sanctioned perfectos and abouta half-dozen 800 series and won a recent tournament title in Azusa, still marvels at his perhaps career-turning week.
“It’s a feeling you can’t imagine,” he said. “It probably won’t go away in a year.”