The Dominion Post  

Former PBA champion Williams hold clinic in Morgantown

Created on:   Mon, Feb 5, 2018   9:56 PM

Last modified:   Mon, Feb 5, 2018   9:56 PM

The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — PBA Hall-of-Famer and Suburban Lanes resident pro Larry Lichstein still remembers the first time he saw Walter Ray Williams Jr. bowl.

It was 1983, and Lichstein was an official with the Pro Bowler’s Tour, when bowler Barry Asher brought him to see Williams bowl.

“Asher says, ‘Larry, take a look at this kid, he’s going to be the next superstar,’ ” Lichstein said. “I watched him throw a ball, and I said, ‘You’re crazy, he’ll never make it. He doesn’t have what it takes.’ ”

Fast forward 35 years, and Williams is the leading money winner and leading title winner in PBA history, and Lichstein admits without hesitation that he was wrong.

“I was so wrong, that when I told Williams the story, we literally laughed about it for years,” Lichstein said. “If someone told me in 1983 that he’d win more PBA titles than Earl Anthony, I would have taken every dime I’ve earned and bet against it. I was wrong.”

Recently, Lichstein and Williams met up at the National Trade Show, in Las Vegas. Though it’s up in the air whether Lichstein’s first impression of Williams was a topic of conversation, Lichstein did invite Williams to Suburban Lanes to run a clinic the next time he was in the region.

“I got a call from him about six months ago, and he said he was going to be driving through, and I thought, fantastic,” Lichstein said. “At that point, we set him up, we had 16 people come in and he did a great job. I got another call from him three weeks ago, so we got him again.”

On Feb. 5, Williams made his second stop in Morgantown in the past year, and another 16 bowlers turned out for a two hour clinic with the legendary talent. Lessons were $125 per person.

“It’s nice to give back,” Williams said of the opportunity. “I’m glad I can help a few people a lot, and the others a little bit. Hopefully I helped them a little bit to become better and enjoy the game, because it’s something you can do your whole life.”

For many of those in attendance, such lessons are a once in a lifetime opportunity packaged at affordable prices. The event attracted bowlers from across the region eager to learn from an industry icon.

“It went well, he was working with me on timing and getting a better start to my approach,” said Jenna Snyder, an 18-year old bowler from Kingwood. “It means a lot to me to get this chance, it’s a great opportunity.”

The event is just one of many that Suburban Lanes has hosted recently, an example of their exemplary work to bring recognition to bowling in the region, cultivate exceptional talent, and provide the best experience possible for their customers.

“It’s amazing that we could have someone of his caliber to come here and give lessons,” said Justin Malik, manager of Suburban Lanes.

“For us to have the greatest bowler that ever lived in our center, we’re thrilled. We’re honored,” Lichstein said. “it’s very important to us to continue to change the culture and bring the best to Morgantown.”