Danny Wiseman is passionate about giving back to the sport that made him famous.
Enshrined in the Professional Bowling Association Hall of Fame and winner of 12 PBA titles, the Dundalk, Md., native has generated more than $90,000 in college scholarship money for area youth bowlers during the past five years. His annual two-day tournament in October is the largest in the Mid-Atlantic region, and $25,000 will be given away this year at the event being held at AMF Country Club Lanes in Dundalk.
"It means a lot to me," Wiseman said. "Hosting and working for four months on this event each year is my way of giving back to the youth bowlers and to the future of our sport. My sponsors deserve a lot of credit -- especially Charis Contractors LLC, who've been with me from the beginning."
The sixth annual Danny Wiseman Youth Scholarship Tournament is a two-day event, beginning Oct. 7 with the qualifying rounds. The top 32 bowlers in each division will then enter the double-elimination finals round Oct. 8. The tournament will be held at the AMF Country Club Lanes in Dundalk.
"It's an all-day affair, both days," he said.
At press time, more than 235 players have signed up for 342 available tournament spaces, according to Wiseman's fan page on Facebook. Tournament information can also be found there.
"Last year, 240 was the max, and my guess is that we'll get 300," Wiseman said.
This year's tournament is in association with the Pennsylvania Junior Bowlers Tour, and the organization will be handling all scholarships through their MAPS financial system.
"Bowlers earn scholarship money and a junior bowler's account is created," Wiseman said. "They can use the money for books or anything to do with their education."
In the under-20 tournament, there will be a scratch division and a handicap division for more advanced players. There will be three squads with 114 bowlers in each.
"It's just kids," he said. "There will be 5-, 6- and 7-year-olds as well as college-age bowlers. A whole variety of levels."
Wiseman became a Hall of Fame professional bowler through hard work and a desire to be the best.
"I didn't go to college, I went on the pro bowling tour," said Wiseman, 49. "I started bowling duckpins when I was 5 or 6 at East Point [in Dundalk]. Then I went over to Fair Lanes Dundalk with the bigger balls. I cleaned lanes with a Lino-Duster and oiled them down all for the chance to bowl for two hours."
From there, Wiseman won enough tournaments to join the pro tour.
"I got my ass handed to me in the late ‘80s," he said, referring to his early days on tour. "I was like a Single-A ballplayer among major leaguers. It's not like today with the Internet. ... I worked beside the legends. I took what I saw and created a physical game. I became a better technician."
Wiseman said bowling is focused on micro details, and you can learn the tricks on the internet -- something he couldn't do in the 1980s.
Wiseman, who developed a persona in the 1990s with a mullet and a shirt with flames on it, has seen the sport evolve over the years. Now, more collegiate bowling programs are cropping up.
"I was into heavy metal music and wore the flame shirts," he said. "People ask me, ‘Where's your flame shirt?' I tell them to get one on the website. It's not about me anymore. With more collegiate bowling programs, kids have something to go for. Players are faster and stronger. They are the future."
Wiseman's advice to tournament-bound youth bowlers: "You are going to fail more times than you are going to succeed. Don't expect to win. Figure out a way to win.
Issue 237: September 2017