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

Volume 2, Issue 41, The 93th Edition
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

      My apologies to any T.S. Eliot scholars who will no doubt take offense at the notion, but I've said it before: T.S. Eliot should have been a bowler.

      So taking a cue from T.S. Eliot, this is the way the World Bowling Village ends--not with a bang but a whimper, as Bowling, Inc. quietly ended its involvement with lobbying efforts aimed at passage of legislation that would have provided tax breaks to sport businesses that brought jobs to the state of Florida. The Florida State legislature adjourned earlier this month without so much as voting on the project, which left it dead in the water two years running. Without the proposed government handout, Bowling Inc. wisely dropped the matter as being unfeasible.

      Am I surprised that the Florida lawmakers said no? Not really. How much MORE tourism does Florida actually need? Judging by the commercials the Disneys, Universals, and the rest show out here, they're doing fine without giving a handout to the powers of bowling. I'm a bowler, yet if someone brought legislation like this to the state of California, I'd be staunchly against it. Somewhere along the line, education and water usage rights are far more critical issues than building a bowling center and office complex.

      The allure of a premiere bowling venue housing both a tournament site and the entire headquarters for all the acronyms of bowling certainly has appeal. But reality says we already have a stadium, why aren't the folks in Wisconsin focusing there? And, personally I'd like a kind of summer/winter "house" situations with stadiums on both coasts, but since bowling wasn't the Big Game winner last week, one will have to suffice.

      Bowling already has a stadium. The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority owns the National Bowling Stadium, financing it through bonds that are paid for through the 11% room tax. So in essence, we're paying for the stadium every time we go bowl there, even on the days we're not bowling. And so far, the arrangement is working. Year after year, the numbers of participants in the national tournaments peak in Reno years and slip in the other two before returning to Reno again. No offense to people who live in say, Billings, Montana, but Reno is a LOT easier a sell to my teammates and traveling companions. People vote with their wallets and bowlers' wallets apparently like Reno.

      After asking delegates to raise dues this year just to keep the organizations operating, I'd be mortified to go back and tell bowlers we needed to raise them AGAIN to pay to move the folks from adequate digs in Wisconsin to a balmier Florida. Honestly, if Bowling, Inc. wants to relocate, I seriously wonder how much thought and planning has gone into moving Bowling Inc. to Reno. When you figure in what we pay to fly people out and stay in hotels for a month at a time to staff these events, it sure makes more sense to move the entire headquarters to Reno-Sparks than spread everyone farther out across the country than they are now. Other businesses, including dotcoms, are moving in droves to Reno, so opportunities are there.

      The NBS needs more events to be profitable, not fewer. The last thing in the world I'd want to see is Bowling Inc. competing with the NBS with a stadium on both coasts and having one go under. Bowling can't afford it, and Reno doesn't deserve it.

Gotta Split,


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