Spring’s the time for a tuneup – PBA Diary – professional bowler comments on his surgery for bone spurs, and other issues – Column
IN MARCH, I HAD SURGERY. I finally took care of a nagging injury that’s been bothering me for three years. Yes, three years. I can’t believe I was injured so long and still able to finish eighth in PBA tour points this past season.
For those who didn’t know, I had bone spurs on my right big toe, which is my push foot. Dr. Robert Mohr of UCLA Medical removed the spurs on March 21. He also did Shaquille O’Neal’s toe surgery last fall.
I was in a boot for four weeks and couldn’t drive. I was barely able to get around. Now, about two months after the surgery, I can already notice a big difference in my foot. I have more mobility and way less pain in the toe.
The bone is still healing, so I’m still feeling some pain. But overall I am hoping that this will extend my competitive bowling career, and hopefully a healthy right foot can help me become No. 1 in the world.
I was somewhat skeptical of undergoing surgery, but after my second cortisone shot last September didn’t take, I knew it would have to be done. I remember bowling the Wichita Open last October and thinking, “How am I gonna get through this year?” because the pain was so bad.
I competed in Japan at the start of last season, and after the Dream Bowl, I had my second cortisone shot. That one did not take, either–and here I was thinking it would at least keep me pain-free through December. It didn’t, but somehow I did make it through the season and ended up bowling pretty well and making a few shows.
With the injury, I wasn’t able to do any exercising. I couldn’t even walk up and down steps, much less run to stay in condition. I would make myself go to malls and walk as much as I could, but that wasn’t enough to keep my legs up to par to compete on tour. I got really physically fatigued the last five weeks. My mental game is what got me through. I knew I was not any better than 50% physically. Now I can’t wait till the new season begins because I should be in pretty good shape for the year.
The good news is that I was able to keep pretty busy after surgery. I got my new shirt line in order for my fan club Web site. I’ve also been doing a lot of updating on the site, adding pictures and journal entries.
Once I was able to drive, I got out to see some of my local friends play in their bands. I got up on stage with ICU and Silvertung and did the song “Bodies” with them. That’s always a crowd-pleaser. I like getting the crowd involved in the song, and I have gotten more and more comfortable on stage. It’s a lot of fun, and for someone who really never sang karaoke, it’s a blast. I guess all the miles we do on tour means the car singer in me is coming out.
I also have been ordering up parts on the Internet to update my Mustang Cobra. I ordered some Billit pieces for under the hood and got the intake and other items professionally polished up. People like to see shiny parts under the hood, and to go along with being spotless I need to get more shine under the hood. I will look into adding a supercharger, but not this summer.
I have a few huge car shows to go to, including the Carlisle All-Ford Nationals in at the end of May. It’s a three-day event, with more than 3,500 cars and 40,000 people attending. Hopefully, with all the press and important people involved in this, maybe someone will notice and I’ll get featured in a car magazine.
I also have been meeting with my wonderful friends Bernie and Debbie Kuhn. Debbie has won a WIBC title back in 1991, among other outstanding achievements. We started working on her game and Bernie’s about two years ago.
I have known Debbie longer than anyone else in bowling. We used to bowl after league when I was seven and she was 10. My father would keep score for us, and I always wanted to beat her because at the time she was averaging 150. Now, some 28 years later, I work with her.
I have tried to get both of them into a better position at the bottom of the swing for more revs. I had to break down both of their games and incorporate new pieces for the puzzle in order for them to improve. Both had used wrist bands (now gone), and both had learned to bowl with old-school methods. The transition of their games has been pretty cool to see, and when I leave and come back from the tour, it’s always interesting to note how their games have progressed.
I received a call in early May from Ray Lewis’ publicist. Yep, that Ray Lewis, the All-Pro football player from the Baltimore Ravens. I was asked to work with Ray on his bowling, and of course I said I would. I figured we could work a deal out: I would help him with his bowling if he showed me a few things to do once I am able to work out and get into shape. I really haven’t been able to train much for the last year because of my toe injury, so this was nice timing.
Ray is a novice but has bowled off and on over the years. He wanted to sharpen a few aspects of his game for his charity auction/bowling event held in Baltimore. This event attracts many of the Ravens players, along with other NFL stars and friends of Ray’s, like Evander Holyfield and Deion Sanders.
We only worked for three days, two hours a day, but he understands from his experiences in football that you have to practice to become better. I am sure over the summer we will hook up again to work. For someone who is well-to-do, Ray is a very personable, friendly guy, with only 3% body fat. He’s built like a train.
I never previously took more than a month off, but it will be two by the time I am able to bowl. I have that urge to go throw some, but I know that I can’t.
In the meantime, I have some new equipment from Storm, Roto-Grip, Dynothane, and Brunswick to drill. Without rolling regularly, my thumb has shrunk five sizes. I will have to work it back up so I can get back into my old stuff, which is huge on me right now. When I am able to practice, my doctor told me I’ll feel funny, but not to worry. He told me to build up to it, which I will do.
Danny Wiseman finished the 2002-03 PBA season as the eighth-ranked bowler in the world: To learn more about Danny and his fan club, log on to www.dannywisemanbowling.com.
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