Harried commuters might mistake it for the rumble of trains, only to stop in their tracks amid the hustle and bustle inside New York City's Grand Central Terminal this week. The Teen Masters bowling tournament was to hold its national championships on a single lane, with manual pinsetters, in one of the country's busiest transportation hubs on Wednesday and Thursday.
Champions in the boys' and girls' high school and under-14 divisions will emerge from a field of 180 bowlers from 31 states. The event, which has produced top pro and collegiate bowlers since 1997, was created by Gary Beck, a ninth-grade science teacher turned corporate headhunter turned bowling promoter. Is a bowling promoter anything like, say, a boxing promoter? "I used to have hair like Don King," Beck says. "That's probably the extent of any comparisons."
Beck, 58, appeared in FACES IN THE CROWD in May 1975 after winning the NAIA national championship while at Harding College in Arkansas. He then found himself in a rat race—much like the passersby in Grand Central—until reconnecting with his passion. "People talk about what they want to do when they retire, and it's like [until then] they're serving a prison sentence," Beck says. "I'm not unique; I'm just lucky. I wanted to hold the tournament on a significant stage, and I don't think there's a greater one to elevate the sport of bowling."