"Who do you think you are? I am!"
Those eight magical words were dropped by pro bowler Pete Weber on Feb. 26, 2012, in a fit of victorious rage after he'd won his fifth US Open title.
When you read that quote, it makes little sense. When you hear it out loud, it makes less sense, and it'll even cause a laughing fit. Technically, the quote has punctuation, but Weber says it like it doesn't. It's a lot funnier if you write the quote in all caps and without punctuation, like it's a tweet from a weird Twitter account.
"WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE I AM"
The first time I saw this video, I had little context for what happened -- I knew Weber won the championship match in a bowling tournament, that he had a lot of energy in him when he won, that he dropped a "goddamn it," that he flubbed a braggadocious, nonsensical victory quote and that I couldn't stop laughing the first time I heard "Who do you think you are? I am!" But it wasn't until I watched the whole event that there was actually more to love about this moment than I thought. By the grace of the Professional Bowlers Association and their YouTube channel, you can watch the whole thing, too:
This is what made me appreciate Pete Weber's finest moment even more:
1. It took place during the 69th U.S. Open tournament.
2. This was Pete Weber's chance to pass his late, great father's record.
Seven years before the event, Dick Weber -- a Hall of Famer, a PBA founding member and Pete's father -- passed away. Dick had four US Open championship titles in his career, the most any bowler has ever had until Pete tied his record in 2007. The 2012 tournament was Pete's chance to both pass his father's record and become the only bowler to hold five US Open championships. It puts Weber's win and famous quote in a different light, an aspect that got lost when the video first went viral.
3. Pete Weber entered the event as the lowest seed.
It's important to note this because the US Open has a "stepladder" format, meaning that the lowest seed has to defeat seeds No. 3 and 2 before getting to the championship match. So, the odds were pretty much stacked against Weber to begin with, although he handily beat Ryan Shafer in the first match. In the second match against Australian bowler Jason Belmonte, Weber got a crucial break when, in the 10th frame, Belmonte missed two pins in the final roll, giving Weber some leeway to win. The third match was even closer, with Weber barely beating Mike Fagan with one point on a final strike.
4. Pete Weber's theme music is Triple H's theme music.
It caught me off guard for a bit when I heard a WWE theme song during a bowling tournament. I didn't know if it was the PBA trying to mess with fans or if it was truly the song Weber wanted to play every time he scored a strike. And then I noticed something in the first few minutes of the show:
That's right, he crotch chops like he's part of D-Generation X. It turns out Weber is a huge wrestling fan, and his favorite wrestler is Triple H, and when you think about it, that fandom makes total sense. So much of Triple H's personality has rubbed off on Weber, and because of that, it makes for compelling television. Everyone else is prim and proper -- at least, as much as you can be in a bowling alley -- while Weber has seething intensity inside him, covered by sunglasses he's wearing indoors. You can't help but want to see what he'll say or do next when he's playing. His personality may be off-putting, but he's the reason why you'll keep watching bowling on television.
5. At one point, he starts getting chippy with an audience member.
It kind of makes sense why someone would get mad when they get distracted during a bowling match -- it takes patience and concentration, two qualities that I don't possess when I bowl. When it happened to Weber, it was incredibly uncomfortable and confusing, because no one had any idea who he was talking to. The first instance actually happened during the fourth frame in the first match, after Weber was struggling in the first two frames. He scored a strike, then looked to his left, visibly upset that someone distracted him:
From then on, it would be near-confrontational, with Weber continuously pointing at the person, asking the judges to move them if they kept distracting him and dropping hot lines like "It's called sportsmanship, pal."
Interestingly enough, this confrontation played a role in his famous line because ...
6. "Who do you think you are? I am!" was actually directed to the distracting person.
In an interview with Storm Bowling, Weber revealed why he bragged in the first place and what caused him to flub:
"I guess what everybody wants to know is where did I come up with 'Who do you think you are? I am!' Well, being caught up in the moment of throwing the strike and being as excited as I was, I had a kid rooting against me during the match, and he was doing it just loud enough for me to hear. And it kind of made me mad, and people know ... don't make me mad on TV, 'cause I'll just get better.
"But what I really wanted to say was 'Who do you think you are rooting against me? I'm the man of this tournament!' That's what I really wanted to say, but as everybody knows, it's 'Who do you think you are? I am!' ... which, it caught on! It's a worldwide catchphrase now."
It usually takes one weird moment to overshadow everything else. We know this because we live on the Internet, and we treat every weird moment with a lot more scrutiny that it probably deserves. Yes, it was a flub, and a funny one at that. It's the one moment from the 2012 US Open everybody remembers the most, earning him the No. 1 spot in ESPN's "Not Top 10" list.
But when you take a step back, and watch everything that came before "Who do you think are? I am!" it doesn't feel like a blooper. It feels perfect. Pete Weber defeated three guys in one night with two close wins, with Triple H's music blaring with every strike, with a kid trying to ruin his night, on the nicest annual of the US Open, with the loving spirit of his late father blanketing him. He earned the right to brag, no matter how awkward it came out of his mouth.
I appreciate and fear you, Pete Weber. You are.