By TONY EIERDAM | firstname.lastname@example.org
No matter what the size of the tournament or city it is played in, former Mineral Wells Ram D.J. Archer, who has competed on the Professional Bowlers Association tour for 10 years, will be there.
A tireless worker, Archer tries to compete in as many tournaments across the country as possible, whether it is a large-purse event in Las Vegas or a small, regional tournament in Abilene.
No matter what, Archer, who has only made the TV cut (top four bowlers in a PBA tournament) once, can be seen plugging away on alleys across the country.
"This time of the year I compete in a lot of local, regional tournaments because it is the offseason for PBA," Archer said. "But the (PBA) tour starts back up in November, and we will start in Las Vegas."
Archer was pleased with his accomplishment in 2012, winning an important tournament – the USBC Masters – along with two regional events including the WTBA International Open and The International Mini.
"I finished in the top eight (in August) at the Greenville (Texas) tournament, and I finished in the Top 16 the two previous weeks before that," Archer said of recent accomplishments.
Archer is coming off a wrist injury – a serious injury for a bowler – he suffered two years ago. The injury pretty much wiped out his 2011 season.
"It's hard to get back after an injury like that," he said. "And (in 2011) when you are not bowling you aren't making any money. But I feel fine now, and the wrist has been good the last three or four months.
"Right now I am taking it easy before the grind starts again in November."
Archer said his sport is not unlike golf where if he is not competing at a tournament he is honing his game on alleys across the nation, preparing for that next tournament.
"Like golfers have swing coaches, I also employ a coach," he said. "Sometimes my timing gets off where I may get to the line too quick and release the ball a little bit behind me, and there are a couple of people I work with who I trust that notice these things. If I feel like I am having issues I go to them. That is also something I do on the side, I teach bowling, and I teach kids."
Archer said the life of a professional bowler is "hotels and bowling alleys" as they are always on the road.
"Once the PBA gets going, we are constantly traveling to the next tournament," he said. "At least when we get to Vegas in November, we will have three tournaments in three weeks in or near that town. But most of the time it is week-to-week, city-to-city.
"As a result I don't get many chances to come back to Mineral Wells and visit. I do cherish the time I can spend here."
Archer, who played baseball at MWHS, said when he is in town he likes to drive around town and visit his former haunts and, of course, he sees family and friends. This past visit he spent time at Mountaineer Lanes, where he is local legend.
"I also go by and see the three houses I lived in when I was growing up," he said. "I like to drive around and look at places that remind me of my younger days here.
"I like driving by the little league parks and by the high school baseball stadium. I actually threw the first pitch in the new stadium in 2000.
"There are also a few restaurants in town I always eat at when I am back in town. I like to see old friends, although I have lost communication with a lot of old friends because I can't come back as often as other people."
Archer said his goal for the 2012-13 PBA season is simple: to win.
"I need to win; to be competitive," he said. "I am at a place in my career where I know what it takes to win, and I want to win.
"I will never give up, and I am always practicing. You can always find me on the lanes. I have never won a (PBA) title, and that is something I have always wanted to do – to win a PBA national title.
"Hopefully that will come some day, but the guys on tour are good. I like to make the comparison of bowling to golf. In golf, there are about 50 guys who can win in any given week.
"But in bowling it's different. There are about 5-10 really, really good players that you have to beat each week, and 25-30 who are on the cusp. That's where I put myself.
"I feel I am close, and I need just a couple of things to go my way. Every time I get close, something bad seems to happen. So I ma going to look to try and change that.
"I have spoken to a sports psychologist a few times, and I continue to put in a lot of time practicing. All that helps, and we will see what will happen this season."
Hopefully, all of Archer's hard work an dedication will come to fruition in the 2012-13 PBA season.