One great thing about bowling, at least to the casual fan, is that even if you only bowl a 100-game, hitting a few strikes can leave you believing that maybe someday you'll be good enough to be a pro bowler.

I've seen guys with beer guts put such sweet spin on a bowling ball that you thought it was going to slip into the gutter before hitting for a strike. It's a sport where many can dream of bowling with the pros.

I know it's not as easy as it looks, and for the newest winner of the Professional Bowlers Association World Championship, he sure makes it look easy in a Cinderella story that's going to give hope to the unemployed everywhere.

Tom Smallwood, 32, of Saginaw, Mich., won the championship on Dec. 13, earning him the top prize of $50,000. Smallwood was laid off a year ago by General Motors, making his victory that much sweeter.

He searched for work after losing his job, but didn't find any. The recreational player finished third at a qualifying tournament in May, earning a spot on the pro tour for one year. He's since made about $30,000, according to a Detroit News story.

Unlike poker, where winning a national tournament can make you a millionaire, bowling champs have it a lot harder. Smallwood drives to tournaments, and plans to drive 34 hours to California in January to play in more tournaments. Poker champs, I'd guess, fly.

I imagine Smallwood is just happy to have a paying gig. So much the better it's in his favorite hobby.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Getting out of debt

Everyone hates debt. Get out of it.

View Course »

How Financial Planners go Grocery Shopping

Learn to shop smart and save.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum