ELBURN – Mabel Cummins had never been on live TV before.
Well, there’s a first time for everything.
The Kaneland High School sophomore was in Houston on Feb. 5 to be part of the Professional Bowlers Association Terrell Owens Super Clash. It just happened to be her live TV debut as she subbed in for former NFL player Chad Ochocinco, who was late in arriving to the event.
“It was on live TV, so that made me a little nervous,” Cummins said. “The last show I was on was taped, so being live threw me off a little.”
After going live in front of the cameras, Cummins, the 2016 Teen Masters girls champ, later teamed with pro and 12-time PBA champ Jason Belmonte for a special exhibition.
PBA pro EJ Tackett and 2016 Teen Masters boys champ Kirk Mowl were the other team in the exhibition. Wearing football jerseys and bowling as representatives for the New England Patriots, Cummins and Belmonte topped Tackett and Mowl, representing the Atlanta Falcons, 19-18 in a four-frame match that used a special football-themed scoring system.
The whole weekend, from making her live TV debut to bowling with elite pros and participating in a special event, was something special to remember.
“I really loved being on TV,” Cummins said. “It was exciting and energizing. With everybody there in the crowd cheering for you, it fills you up with energy.”
Cummins’ success on the youth bowling stage, which included her Teen Masters championship as well as a Junior Gold Championship last summer, opened the door for her Super Bowl Sunday opportunity.
“Gary Beck [founder of Killer B Promotions, which operates Teen Masters] emailed my dad to say he had this opportunity,” she said. “I never thought I’d be on live TV.”
This won’t be the last major bowling event for Cummins, who trains with Webber International University (Fla.) coach Del Warren and Will Clark of River Rand Bowl in Des Plaines.
Still to come is the Illinois Youth Open in May, the Illinois Youth Bowling All-Star Shootout in June, and the Teen Masters and Junior Gold nationals in July.