Lead, Follow or get out of the way!
By John Baker Sr.
It’s time, time to get on the soapbox. We see many things written about the state of bowling in this day and age. The demise of our best players to want to advance, the demise of the sport in general, the sad state of the PBA. All of these pundents talk a good game but what about the actual problem, FIXING IT? Do you really believe that our sport will disappear completely, will we ever become a sport that is played in the Olympics? Bowling centers everywhere looking like a set on a Madmax movie (wastelands)? Every sport has its ups and downs, maybe it is time to revamp our sport to grow with the times! We all need to help with this. There are tournament clubs doing things right, right now.
Let’s really think about it, we could all go back to the 1950’s with rubber and plastic balls, uneven wood lanes, hand done pin sets, bowling balls coming back at you, on-top of the lane. Having to pay a greasy teenager to keep score. ( I was one, once) . Scores in bowling continue to rise, same as golf drives surpass 400 yards. The PBA does need to be redone, a serious update, make it more exciting to watch on TV, hell at least publisized better. Yes, I believe that the ball manufacturers need to step up as well as the Bowling proprieters, promoters and beneficiaries. There are smaller companies that could benefit by the PBA allowing the little guys to showcase their goods as well.
With our support as well as new ideas is how things get fixed. We can all talk until we are blue in the face but action speaks louder than words . Support your local pros, pro-shops and even a fellow bowler with tournament funds, lets help the PBA get back on its feet, talk to ball reps and tell them your opinions, stories and problems with equipment. That is what they are there for….right?
Show your local THB’s the benefit of competition, that throwing telephone numbers every night can get old, is learing to be a good all around bowler more satisfying than just a one trick pony? We all are responsible to pass on the good habits to less informed and new bowlers . Teach them not only etiquitte but lane play as well.
Talk to your local center manager to see if there is any interest in starting up “A become a better bowler” league, where you could help in coaching as a player . Take responsibility, stand up and be noticed and HELP, rather than complain and do nothing. I am sure the center will either take notice or ignore you completely, but if that is so don’t give up since this is the ONLY way we are going to be able to save our sport!
PBA competition is growing smaller but do we write, emails or do a letter campaign to the powers that be voicing our disappointment? There must be more of us showing up on the PBA’s radar, the more they will notice, since it is their pocketbook your talking about. It is expensive to bowl PBA but the more that try or support the pros the more things will get better . Ask why the major ball companies have an exclusive with the PBA , would’nt it be better for all to showcase their products this way it would be a more competitive feild. Companies would get the exposure at the higher levels and then maybe turn a profit, therby putting it back towards player development and research and of new products without having to mortage the farm or go under. Like any sport new developments are the cornerstone of an advancing sport.
Lower the entry fees for PBA events and they will come. Find smaller sponsors and spread the costs around the whole field. You have to go back and start small as you rebuild. The cities used to get involved , hold tournaments at smaller venues and get the local center involved again, as well as the local hotels, restauraunts ect. Start small work your way back up PBA. It is time for a change but we have to make that changes happen? . We all can do it just GET INVOLVED and STAY INVOLVED! As I said LEAD, FOLLOW or GET OUT OF THE WAY ! Eventually, all of our combined voices will ring out like a great choir and they won’t be able to shut out the sounds.