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Kelly Kulick: Bowling Champion and Class Act

It’s easy to forget that there are some firsts that women haven’t achieved yet. I’m not out there burning my bra about it, because God knows I need it, but I really had a “huh?” moment when I heard that for the first time EVER a woman, Kelly Kulick of New Jersey, won the Professional Bowling Association (PBA) championship.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t follow the PBA. I give it a passing glance as my grandfather bowled professionally a wee bit before the fact that he wasn’t making any money and his real life called him back. Still, I’m seriously stunned it took this long for a woman to take the top spot.

I suppose it has a great deal to do with traditions, the “hey meet me in the girls’ gym” sort of traditions that no one ever seems to realize are a very modern version of separate but equal. And thus, wrong.

So when I realized that a woman had won it – finally here in 2010 – I was a bit taken back.  There are a lot of sports in which women would and do struggle to compete at the same level as men, given physical differences alone. I am never going to be as tall as Lebron James (but I can thwop a water bottle just as effectively, by God). I am never going to be able to stand head-to-head against any offensive line in the NFL – unless I am prepared to get squished upon the snap.

But bowling is a game of skill rather than strength so it amazes me that it took a woman this long to pick up a championship.

I certainly had never heard of Kelly Kulick, but in watching her ESPN interviews and reading the myriad comments about the tournament one thing is for certain – someone respected as well as a talented bowler won the PBA and that’s a nice thing to see regardless of gender.

Now, who has that list of other championships women are capable of but hasn’t won yet?