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The Right Approach...Views on the world of bowling.

Volume 1, Issue 4

By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez

      The numbers of sanctioned bowlers has been dropping every year for some time. Some of the reasons can't be helped--the recession of the early 90s affected people's spending habits. And let's face it, people have different priorities and time constraints. With more and more women working, day leagues are smaller. People face different work schedules, so staying out until 1 AM isn't possible for many folks.

      Families must pitch in to get things done, so there's not a lot of time. And when there is time, there's a lot more to do. You figure, when bowling was in its heyday in the early 50s, television was only being introduced, there was no cable, VCRs, Nintendo, home computers, or online services. People didn't fly cross-country on vacations, and kids didn't have lessons 5 afternoons a week.

      That said, various parts of the industry blame on each other for all the things that caused the drop in membership. Rising costs in equipment, easier lane conditions, and women joining the ABC have all been blamed as chief reasons for the exodus. I'm not going to worry about who's to blame. I'm here to think of ways to support bowling. A few years back, someone came up with the slogan, "More bowlers, having More fun, More often." There are some things we all can do to support that notion.

      When you take your child bowling, take along a nonbowling friend. Same goes for adults when you hear the "Oh, I used to bowl..." line. Take the group to a bowling center, and enjoy it from their point of view. If they really enjoy it, talk them into bowling a league with you.

      Go to centers that care about bowling. When a center lives up to your expectations, tell the manager. Tell your friends. Fill out the survey cards if they have them. Go back. The more you support them, the more they can be there for you.

      Treat bowling like the sport it really is. Dress appropriately. In competition, refrain from drinking and smoking. This is not to say you can't enjoy yourself, but decide whether you are a recreational bowler or an athlete. No one jogs with a beer in their hand or smokes while weightlifting.

      Watch the telecast. When you're watching the tours on television, see who the sponsors are. OK, so maybe you don't need an analgesic or a pair of spark plugs, but Showboat is sponsoring the $1 million prize for a 300 game and Sam's Town has been the PWBA umbrella sponsor for a couple of years now. If you're going to Las Vegas or Atlantic City, stay there. Or visit them. People complain about the CBS show, but find something positive and e-mail them what IS working.

      When you need a new ball or advice, go to a real pro shop. Pick their brain, ask for help. Spend your money there. Don't ask to try on shoes from their inventory, then buy a pair over the 'Net. That's tacky, and when you need them, they might not be there for you. When it comes time to sponsor your team, will the Internet guys come through?

      Most of all, stay upbeat. Talk about bowling as if you were saving souls. Convert the masses. If things are bad somewhere, keep looking, and don't give up. There's a difference between a bump in the road and the end of the world. I think we need new shocks and an alignment.

Gotta Split,


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