Hate / GOAT

By Michael Cousins

With all of the hate going around regarding sports (whether it is Brady, LeBron, Crosby, etc.), I thought we’d talk about the hate going on within our own sport, bowling.

I think it is pretty fair to say that most people today fall on one of two sides: pro-two-handers and anti-two-handers. Sure, there are some that are indifferent, but it seems that, in most cases, people have pretty strong opinions on the matter.

And more specifically, people have strong opinions on Jason Belmonte.

At this point in time, I think it is pretty crazy to try to argue that Belmonte is overrated. I think its unfair and inaccurate to try to argue that he isn’t great. I think it is wild that anyone can argue against the fact that Jason Belmonte is the best bowler in the world. But they do.

And, honestly, I don’t even think that is fair. Belmonte is clearly the best bowler in the world. That has been the case for years and years now, but I still don’t think that does his greatness justice. We aren’t just talking about the best bowler in the world anymore; we’re talking about one of the best bowlers ever.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I totally understand he and the two-handed delivery are both enigmatic. But you cannot discredit, question, or downgrade his talent, credibility, and acknowledgements.

The guy has dominated his era of bowling as impressively as any bowler ever. And you can argue that bowling is “easier” or “less competitive” or “watered down” or whatever other argument you’d like to make. But the fact is that modern bowling is modern bowling; it is what it is. And Belmonte is better than anyone at the modern game, and he’s as good as anyone has ever been at their era’s game.

You can’t compare eras. It is impossible. I would never say that Jason Belmonte is better than Earl Anthony. I’d never say he’s better than Walter Ray or Pete Weber. It just isn’t something that can be done with any form or semblance of accuracy.

That being said, I will 100% say that his prime and the dominance of his era rivals anyone.

I do not personally understand how anyone can watch Belmo bowl, see his statistics and achievements, and his overall ability and dominance and objectively say that he isn’t good or that any one bowler — ever — has been better than this guy.

On the other hand, I also cannot say — with any real objectivity — that Belmonte is better than any of the other greats. But he’s there. He’s in the discussion. And he should be.

He’ll never come close in terms of overall titles. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible with the shorter tour season and the lack of events, but, in my opinion, he will finish his career with the most Major Championships ever (he’s currently one behind Weber), which says a ton, especially when you consider that he’s bowled significantly less seasons than Weber, Anthony, and Williams Jr.

Is he the “GOAT?” Maybe. Maybe not. That isn’t for me to say. But is he in the conversation? Absolutely.

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