Volume 2, Issue 40, The 92th Edition
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez
By now, everyone knows that ABC and WIBC delegates have raised the dues at their respective national conventions. Members will be waiting for state and local associations to vote on any additional increases, but the final outcome will be that come fall sanctioned bowlers will be paying more for membership cards. ABC members could pay up to $16, and WIBC members could pay $18 if their state and locals went to their respective maximums. While no one likes to pay more, it's been quite awhile since either organization got a raise. I can't say I've worked that long without one.
Some folks are already predicting the end of the world bowling-wise, and threatening to quit sanctioned bowling entirely. Will people leave after the increase? I'm sure they will. But our sport has been losing members even without the increase. Before bowlers leave, however, I'd ask them to reconsider. Heck, I'm paying for TWO sanction cards, so I can bowl with friends at tournaments as both a WIBC member and an ABC member. But if someone refuses to see a glass as half full and can only see it as half empty, so be it. Nothing I can say will change that.
But being the kind of person I am, rather than whining about the fact I was going to pay over $30 rather than the just over $20 I did this year, I sat back and decided it was time to figure out what more I can get out of my membership dollars. Just on face value, I'm talking about paying less than $3 a month to be a part of the sport I love. I hate to say this, but I spend more than that each DAY visiting Starbucks. For bowlers who only sanction in one organization, we're talking about $1.50 a month, or 40 cents a week. I could find that much in the cushions in my couch. More than that falls out of my son's pants when I do laundry. Bowl more than one league a week, and now we're talking literally small change.
OK, I broke it down, and you got my point. I'll change my slant a little. You're probably going to pay for the sanction, but how can you get MORE out of it? As someone who uses coupons like they're a form of currency on their own, and a person who believes that barter comes close to religion, getting more out of the same membership dollars is music to my ears.
Of course, there are the tournaments. If I don't dual-sanction, I can't bowl the National tournaments and the Festival of Bowling. Right there, I get my money's worth. I also know it's foolish to whine about my yearly dues when I spend a couple thousand dollars on the vacations around these events. If you're not participating in the world's largest participation sporting events, try it one year. East, west, north, and south, there's a tournament that will get close to you at some point. And if National events are a bit too far, there are state and local tournaments to bowl in.
Another way to get your money's worth is by staying informed. Bowling has moved into the Information Age by creating more ways to share information between its members and its offices . If you have a computer and you're online, remember these letters: bowl.com. Bowl.com is still in its infancy, and some of the pages don't always work, but read that site weekly. They have posted entire reports from the convention as well as voting results and bowling news. It's a great site to get information about current tournaments, get results, and find the latest news through the eyes of our sanctioning bodies. Along with the website, comes email. From experience, responses take around 48 hours, but it's giving members direct access to the rule department among others, via email, where you can take the time you need to fully explain the situation. Ask your local association if they have a website and email too. It's a great place to make sure you're on top of things.
Make no mistake, in a perfect world, I could bowl for free, get sanctioned for free, drive a free sports car, live in a free mansion...I'm getting carried away. The point is I don't want to pay more than I have to, so I'm going to speak every chance I get for creating a UNITED Bowling Congress, and merge the two organizations. In the meantime, my two sanction cards are worth every penny.