FORT WAYNE – As a relatively new professional athlete, one would think E.J. Tackett would be doing nothing but honing his craft, which in this case is bowling.
But if you think he eats, drinks and sleeps bowling, then you don’t know the Huntington native.
Tackett has always had several interests – he was a college golfer at IPFW – and doesn’t want to get burned out.
Honestly, I don’t practice that much, he said. I really don’t. I never had to in my life, never had to practice that much. Some people who don’t practice don’t bowl good. My philosophy, though, is you can get overpracticed and mentally fried.
Tackett, 20, has come close. Last winter, shortly after deciding school wasn’t for him and that he’d take the leap everyone knew was coming for years – joining the Professional Bowling Association – he was playing in nine leagues to get ready.
I got fried, he said. I now understand how that happens and it can happen very easily.
Tackett has long been a phenom in two sports: bowling and golf.
He was on the United States’ junior bowling team in 2011 and 2013 and on Team USA’s big team in 2011. He competed in the U.S. Open that year and finished 20th.
Meanwhile, on the golf course, he was almost as good. He was the Pepsi Tour Indiana Player of the Year in 2010 and tied for fifth at the IHSAA state finals in 2011.
He competed for IPFW for a year and a half before calling it quits.
I’ve just never been much of a school-oriented person. It wasn’t the school, IPFW, it was me. And I decided to go down a different avenue, said Tackett, who still works at Orchard Ridge Country Club when he’s in town.
But that’s not often.
Every week, he’s in another city, taking part in the bowling practice rounds, pro-ams and competitions that go with being on Tour.
In nine PBA events, he’s earned $7,260 this season. He’s won the PBA Baldo Campana Central Open in Lorain, Ohio, on May 18 with 3,437 pins and a 6-2-0 record. That earned him $2,000.
At the Lucas Oil PBA Wolf Open in Milwaukee on June 1, he finished fourth with an average of 238.07 and an 11-6 record, winning $3,100 and getting on CBS Sports Network.
I think at some point, I will be able to make a living doing this, he said from Delaware, where he was readying for a pro-am. The money is OK. It’s good for my situation.
I’m still living at home and don’t have a ton of bills to pay out every month. In a year or two, if I can pick up some more sponsorships and get more money that way, it will truly be a living.
Tackett enjoys having time in northeast Indiana every week, even if he spends much of it working. He said he does find time to play in a golf league.
I (prefer) to take two days off and get physically rested and be mentally sound. That’s just my philosophy, he said.