Wiseman carries on despite adversity Local pro looks to settle down after father dies of cancer

July 03, 1992|By Dave Glassman | Dave Glassman,Contributing Writer

For more than 30 years, Albert Wiseman worked as an optical lens grinder for the same Baltimore employer.

In the past 2 1/2 years, his son, Danny Wiseman, has worked on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, traveling back and forth across the continent and in Puerto Rico.

Their occupations gave them vastly different lifestyles: Albert with deep roots in Dundalk, Danny roving the highways from one tournament to another, towing a mobile home. But for years they were together, and they shared a common dream for Danny.

"The last two years I didn't see him much," Danny, now 24, said recently. "But, from the time I was 16 to 22 and went on tour, I took him everywhere. He loved to watch me bowl."

Albert was watching in Akron, Ohio, in April at the Firestone Tournament of Champions, bowling's most prestigious event. The national television audience heard ABC's Chris Schenkel say that Albert, seated in a wheelchair just a few feet from the lanes, had terminal cancer, and that his son, who had performed brilliantly all week, was desperately trying to win one more tournament for his father before his death.

"It was a big deal the whole week," Danny said. "People knew what was going on. Everybody wanted me to win the tournament and was cheering for me."

All week the big-event pressure and personal emotion didn't faze Danny. "If I could bowl every tournament like that. . . . It's a you-know-you're-gonna-win feeling," he said. "Just like Baltimore in 1990, my first win. You still have to have confidence and make the shots. It's a feeling one step above that."

But it didn't happen.

Wiseman beat Tony Westlake, but in the semifinal match, Marc McDowell edged him, 248-235. There were hugs for Albert from Westlake and McDowell, and sincere words of consolation. For everyone but McDowell, the eventual winner, the rest was anticlimactic. Wiseman collected $24,050 for third place.

He didn't win in his next three tournaments, either. Then, in Riverside, Calif., on June 12, the call came from Commerce, Texas, where Albert was being cared for by Danny's sister, Cathy Riley, and her husband. Albert had died. Danny bowled poorly, then withdrew from the tournament he had won in 1990. (( He and his wife, Lisa, left California on Saturday morning and arrived in Baltimore, where the funeral was held Sunday.

"I wanted to win for him before he passed away," Wiseman said. "I called him every day. . . . I feel like I failed, but I know I didn't. My dad knew I did my best."

The emotional quest is over, but Wiseman, winless in 1992, doesn't think the added pressure he placed on himself hurt his performance. "It kind of helped," he said. "I'm bowling really well this year."

Indeed, the numbers suggest the same. He stands 10th in money earnings on the PBA Tour with $60,815 and is 10th in average (215.84). He has earned a check in 14 of the 19 tournaments he has entered, reaching top 24 match play eight times. He has appeared on the nationally televised stepladder finals three times, finishing third in each.

Still, one last win for his father never came, though he wasn't hoping for more opportunities. "I didn't want it to go on," he said. "I didn't want to see him suffer."

Are there regrets?

"Yeah, but I know he'll be watching down," Wiseman said. "I accomplished my goal four times, and that made him happy."

Wiseman's hometown friends and fans lent support during Albert's illness. "I had a lot of people from the area who showed concern for me that I'd like to thank," he said.

He'll be back in town occasionally. He's on the professional staff of Faball, the Baltimore bowling equipment manufacturer, and there's the annual Fair Lanes Open here.

But he and Lisa are looking for a home base. "The last two years, Baltimore really hasn't been," he said. "We're grown up, and we want to buy a house. I've been doing this for 2 1/2 years. I want a place where I can relax and get away from it all. . . . I've got some money in the bank now."

After Albert's funeral, Danny and Lisa headed to Lake Havasu, Ariz., for two weeks. They liked the real estate prices there and planned to look for a house.

This week, Wiseman returned to the tour, bowling in the Tucson Open. After the first round, the standings reflected the latest change in his life. It read, "No. 37, Danny Wiseman, Lake Havasu City, Ariz."

Danny Wiseman on tour


Danny Wiseman's finishes this year on the PBA Tour:

Date .. .. .. .. .Tournament .. .. .. .Fin. Earnings

Jan. 7-11 .. .. ..Torrance, Calif. .. .. 29 ..$1,370

Jan. 12-18 .. .. .Las Vegas .. .. .. .. .40 .. 1,080

Jan. 21-25 .. .. .Sacramento, Calif. .. . - .. .. .-

Jan. 28-Feb. 1 .. Grand Prairie, Texas ..36 .. 1,130

Feb. 4-8 .. .. .. Erie, Pa. .. .. .. .. ..- .. .. .-

Feb. 11-15 .. .. .Peoria, Ill. .. .. .. .12 .. 3,200

Feb. 18-22 .. .. .Baltimore .. .. .. .. .16 .. 2,100

Feb. 25-29 .. .. .Winter Haven, Fla. ... 32 .. 1,070

March 3-7 .. .. ..Homestead, Fla. .. .. ..3 .. 7,000

March 10-14 .. . .North Brunswick, N.J. .49 .. ..960

March 22-28 .. .. Toledo, Ohio .. .. .. ..6 .. 7,000

March 31- April 4 Sayville, N.Y. .. .. .. 3 .. 8,000

April 5-11 .. .. .Canandaigua, N.Y. .. .. - .. ... -

April 14-18 .. .. Windsor Locks, Conn. .. - .. .. .-

April 21-25 .. .. Firestone (Akron, Ohio) 3 ..24,050

May 19-23 .. .... Dublin, Calif. .. .. ..18 .. 1,800

May 26-30 .. .. . Seattle .. .. .. .. .. .- .. .. .-

June 2-6 .. ... ..Portland, Ore. .. .. . 42 .. ..870

June 9-13 .. .. ..Riverside, Calif.* .. .28 .. 1,185

* - withdrew in middle of tournament

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