Pete Couture is gone. I have been trying to process this over the past few days since I learned of his passing from his best friend June 30. For you younger folks we were married 1989-1994. We met through bowling. He was my first ‘real’ coach as some would say. My early years just prior to becoming a pro were work 2 jobs and in between, every weekday at Bradley Bowl in Windsor Locks CT I would drive an hour and practice with him. He was new to coaching so we both worked out the rough spots during those years. I was lucky to have his eyes behind me. We then traveled to weekend tournaments, me to WASAs and he to PBA regionals. These were lean years. He was in PBA Purgatory, a bit too old to compete well on the “regular” PBA Tour, and a bit too young waiting on his time to enter the PBA50 Tour. Then there was me, trying to get ‘good enough’ to go bowl on the PWBA Tour. I trusted his eyes, and I will never forget the day we drove back from Wallington Lanes NJ from a WASA where I made it to a rare finals, able to compete against LPBT stars of the time Nikki Gianulias and Alayne Blomenberg. I didn’t win the tournament, but most importantly it was the moment Pete announced he thought I was then ‘good enough’ to try going pro. It was too much money for him to go with me to live my dream, so before internet I was on the phone with him after every block; we were trying our best from a distance to make this work. It must’ve worked because with his help and a bit of luck I became the 1991 LPBT Rookie of the Year.
Pete and my parents had an existential relationship. They were his ‘in law’ parents and yet they were the same age. My father was a bit skeptical but when he saw us together he understood and accepted Pete as family. Pete was there with my mom to tell me my father passed away in 1988. He was just always there. Not just for me, but for anyone asking him for help. But, you had to ask. He was highly introverted and struggled every day to ‘get out there,’ which he did because he had that strength.
He had the heat inside him that he never ever ever liked to lose. He said he mellowed with age but it took days to typically debrief from a big loss when we were together. In later years many including myself tried to hone his marketing skills to develop his coaching business, to no avail. He was better local, one-on-one. He was a the kind of guy that liked looking you straight in the eyes, and knew talent, or lack thereof, straight away. That was one of his best talents, a natural eye for the sport. He had a very sarcastic humor, one which I loved but not everyone understood. He would get a sparkle in his eye when telling a joke which not everyone got.
After our divorce and my quick retreat away from bowling in the Summer of 2004 I had lost myself for a while. I found Tommy Adler, we were married, and it was he who said I needed to find my way back to bowling I had to reach out to Pete. We both struggled with an uncomfortable phase post-divorce to work together on the lanes, but I am in total gratitude to Tommy for getting Pete and I back together. He was the kind of guy who you could pick up with after being away on the road for months…just where you left off. He could eye a catch in my physical game within minutes of us working together.
I used to be annoyed that Pete only loved bowling. He slept, talked, thought of bowling 24:7. I now understand. And I am proud to have been part of his bowling tribe.
Pete Couture, June 30, 2018 RIP