Jay Young competed in professional bowling tournaments for 20 years, until about 10 years ago when he turned 40.
A veteran of national and regional PBA events - he won a regional tournament in the 1980s - Young hit 50 in January and decided to make a comeback on the PBA National Senior Tour.
“Today’s kids are too good, too young and too physical, and the game passes you by,” Young said. “When I got to 40, I didn’t think I could be competitive anymore. There’s a certain time when you look yourself in the eye and say I passed it by. At 50, it’s kind of reversed. Now I’m one of the younger guys and it’s been an advantage.”
Young, a Pemberville resident who coached Eastwood’s girls bowling team to the state championship in March, is the owner of Varsity Lanes in Bowling Green and Deshler Lanes in Deshler, Ohio. He then competed in another Senior event at Capri Lanes in Dayton last weekend.
Young said his game has changed over the years.
“I’m a lot straighter,” he said. “I can’t hook the ball as much as I used to. My speed’s down a little bit. You just learn different ways. You try to get more behind the ball and get more forward roll so it doesn’t react so much to the different lane conditions. Seniors is kind of a different game. The young kids are a game of power, and Seniors is more of a game of finesse that is similar to golf.”
In Jackson, where he had never bowled before, Young qualified 18th and made the match-play finals. He had a high game of 280.
“I bowled pretty well,” Young said. “I was happy for my first time back out. It was a lot of fun to bowl competitively again at that level and it was nice to see some of the guys again. I saw guys I hadn’t seen in 10 to 15 years and we reminisced about old times. It was neat to be in that atmosphere again. You don’t realize you missed it until you’re in it.”
Young qualified for the match-play finals with a 236.1 average through 18 games. He made the cut to the top 32 to make the finals, but he was eliminated three games to one in the first round.
“It was fun to be back into it,” Young said. “The competitiveness to get back into that atmosphere again was pretty cool. I practiced a couple of weeks leading up to it. I was still pretty sore and mentally worn out after that.”
Last Saturday through Monday at Capri Lanes, Young had a 196 average for 18 games but did not cash or advance to match play.
“I didn’t bowl horribly,” he said. “The scores were a lot lower than the first tournament. My carry wasn’t very good and I was a little bit mentally worn out. I had trouble staying focused in the tournament. I wasn’t quite prepared for (bowling) two weeks in a row, just because I hadn’t done it in so long.”
Young said he plans to continue to bowl on the Senior circuit every so often.
“I would like to continue, but they go to North Carolina this week and then California,” he said. “The tour comes back this way the first of August with one in Indiana and some in Illinois. I’m not traveling to Florida or North Carolina.
“I have one daughter who plays golf and one who plays softball and I enjoy going to those games in the summer. I’m not going to take time away from the kids, so it’s still part-time for me,” he said.