As the director of "It's Not Just a Game: The Last Place Champ," I am proud to present a documentary that shines a powerful light on the struggles and triumphs of professional female bowlers, particularly those who are minorities. This film is the first of its kind, bringing needed awareness to a sport that is not, largely, seen as a "real" sport - one with dedicated athletes who give their all on and off the lanes.
Gazmine's story is one of determination and perseverance as she strives to make a name for herself in a sport that has long been dominated by white men. Through her eyes, we see the challenges that women and minorities face in the world of professional bowling, and we gain a deeper understanding of the inequalities that exist within the sport.
This film captures the devoted and dynamic spirit of the bowling community, one I'm proud to be a part of and that inspires my work as a documentary director. We hope this film sparks conversation about the need for greater equality, opportunity, and recognition within the sport for BIPOC and female athletes. By amplifying the voices of Gazmine and other female bowlers, we aim to inspire change and encourage others to join this vibrant, exciting community.
- NAJAH OWENS
Despite being a sport whose origins can be traced back nearly 7,000 years, it is still rife with inequity. Over 70% of bowlers are white, and nearly 75% are male.
At the professional level in 2018, for example, the top male bowler won nearly $300,000 in earnings from the PBA tour, while the top female bowler in the PWBA tour (which runs significantly shorter and does not air on ESPN) earned just over $60,000.
It's Not Just a Game's mission is to highlight the battles that many bowlers are fighting: for long-overdue equality, opportunity, recognition, and to change the game for women and people of color in the sport.