D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Near Perfection at Plano Super Bowl

On Bill Fong's magical night.

We called it the “Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever,” because that’s what it is. Our Michael J. Mooney wrote about Bill Fong, who for one night in January 2010 came so painfully close to perfection that it nearly killed him.

After appearing in the July 2012 issue of D Magazine, it became one of the most popular articles ever on our website. The story was selected to appear in the Best American Sports Writing 2013 and a documentary short based on the piece, which played at April’s Dallas International Film Festival and is now making the rounds at other festivals, was made by a director from Florida. And now, of course, we’re recognizing it as one of our 40 greatest stories ever.

I asked Mooney for an update on Fong. Here’s what he said:

Bill Fong still bowls almost every night of the week in Plano. After the story came out, it was picked up by a lot of places, Deadspin among them. (One site even designed a t-shirt and iPhone case with art inspired by some of his indelible quotes.) So he got a lot of attention. Strangers were coming up to him at the bowling alley with copies of the magazine, asking him for autographs.

I was at the Dallas premiere of the short documentary with Bill and a few of his bowling friends. (I’m listed a producer, but Joey Daoud, a really good director who lives in Miami, did all the work.) Bill believed he would never get the respect he deserves for his utter dedication to bowling. He compared himself to Rodney Dangerfield actually. (When I first contacted him about the story, he thought I was playing a trick on him. He was convinced that night was the worst night of his life.) So seeing him there at the movie, walking the red carpet, watching himself on the big screen, it was one of those surreal moments in journalism. Plus the film was dedicated to one of Bill’s friends, who was killed by a drunk driver not long ago, and I know that means a lot to him. And every night he has league bowling, which is most nights, Bill is out there, still dreaming of perfection.