Terrell Owens is a six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver. In his 15 seasons with NFL teams he racked up nearly 16,000 receiving yards, but now he’s starting over in a new sport. And that sport is bowling. Owens joined Bill Littlefield to discuss his new passion.
BL: After all those years in the National Football League, why choose bowling?
TO: I’ve never really been an avid bowler or anything like that, but growing up as I got into high school, college I remember surfing through some channels and seeing bowling, but I’m just like anyone else and at that age you just flip the channel. You don’t really pay attention to it. It just so happens I was in San Francisco my first couple of years, and we had an event and Norm Duke was there. I asked Norm what the basics were, and I just started bowling and that’s kind of how it started. So I went and got me a ball made up and some shoes, and I was kind of on my way. I just kind of liked bowling.
BL: You liked it from the start. It’s a wonderful idea that a guy who grows up to be a star in the National Football League some of his idols are bowlers.
TO: Yeah, I wouldn’t say that they were idols at that time, but they are my idols now.
BL: You are the owner of the PBA’s Dallas Strikers. Was it the fun aspect of it that led you to want to be a competitor as well as an owner?
TO: Oh yeah, absolutely. Just to be there at the competitions, a lot of people have no idea how kind of intense it is. Just to see some of those guys get fired up, and you can tell like the energy is in the building. I mean these guys are awesome and just to be at the tournament. Dude, it’s like these guys are so good and there’s a reason why they are good because anybody that feels like they can just go to a bowling alley or just because they bowl 240 or whatever. In the league it is totally different. It’s night and day because the pro’s are bowling on different oil patterns every day. I’ve been out here since Friday and every day — Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday — we bowl on a different oil pattern every day. It’s crazy. You have to understand what these oil patterns are doing, the length of the oil patterns 47 feet, 35 feet, and you have to move accordingly. You have to throw you balls accordingly. You have to adjust your feet accordingly.
BL: What’s it been like to actual compete against some of the sports top competitors?
TO: Man it was just awesome to be in the environment with these guys and see these guys work. I mean these are future Hall of Famers I am playing with and rolling on the same lanes as these Hall of Famers. It was equivalent to me going from college to the San Francisco 49ers, being in the same locker room with Hall of Famers like Steve Young, Jerry Rice, William Floyd. I mean playing with a Hall of Fame coach like George Seifert.
That’s how I see the environment that I’m in now, and, you know, I find myself honestly in awe of these guys and they have no idea the appreciation that I have of their sport. By no means at all am I trying to make a mockery of what they’re doing or what their sport — the PBA commissioner Tom Clark has given me an opportunity obviously do some great things with the PBA, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with what might come of this.
BL: When you’re having a bad game do you ever say, “Boy, I wouldn’t mind just knocking that guy next to me down?”
TO: Aw man, it’s funny, the guy who [I] was in a pair [with was] obviously better than I am, but there were moments where I saw he was struggling to find the pocket, as a lot of the guys were, and so he was getting frustrated, and we had a little talk yesterday. And he was like, “Dude, I can’t find the pocket.”
So it got to the point where I got to count on myself telling him where to throw the ball, you know, what angles to release the ball, and he was like, “Dude, I just can’t find the right angle. Can I just line up and you just hit me? You just come tackle me?” And I was like, “Uhh, I don’t think that will go over so well right now.” But I knew it was all tongue-in-cheek. It’s funny. I’m so thankful and blessed to be a part of it, and I’m going to get better with it. Trust me. I told the guys this is a start for me. I feel like I got better. These guys saw that I was improving. It’s just amazing.