Laid-off autoworker rises to professional bowling elite

Tom Smallwood had every reason to think he would be just like the thousands of people who have lost auto industry-related jobs in Michigan.

Smallwood lost his assembly line job two days before Christmas 2008. He could have panicked. He could have collected unemployment and hoped for the best in a state that spent much of last year well into double-digit employment figures.

Instead, he got busy at the bowling alley and, wow, did it ever pay off.

Smallwood scraped together the funds to begin enter bowling tournaments. He and his wife were avid bowlers but actually trying to make a career out of it seemed like a far-fetched idea amid ordinary daily life.

An ABC News story documents how Smallwood made it through bowling qualifying school (I knew there was such a procedure for golf, but for bowling?) and eventually to the national championships in Wichita a few weeks ago.

The short version is that he won and assured a spot on the tour for at least the next two years.

For all the news we continue to hear about how slow and uneven the crawl out of recession is going, stories such as Smallwood’s serve as inspiration of taking the best out of a bad situation and turning it on its head.

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