Changes coming to the PBA?

Jack Hammill - Guest Columnist

Do you all remember Y2K?

There were many that hugged their loved ones on New Years Eve for what they thought would be one last time. Certainly the world was going to end as the clock moved past 11:59:59.

We are at another crossroads of sorts as the rumors are strong that sometime today the ownership of the PBA Tour will pass to Bowlero Corporation and the professional tour as we know it will be forever changed.

My email has been hit with so many recent messages from the USBC Discussion Forum on social media that I finally blocked email notifications from the site.

The majority of the messages have not been very praise-worthy of Bowlero citing the tendency of the corporation in some locations to de-emphasize league bowling in exchange for birthday and corporate parties. They would have you believe that soon you will be watching the competitors in a PBA event with a birthday party going on right next to them. Some have even opined that we could have a scenario where a PBA event was cancelled because a high profile corporation in the area of the event wanted to have a get-together.

These concerns may sound crazy to some but they are the feelings of people who have commented within the forum. Generally feelings come from life experiences. We are blessed that in our communities we have families and not corporations that run our bowling establishments. Certainly we hope that any action today will not impact the PBA50 stop at Delphos in a little over a month and the future tournaments to be held at Coldwater. Neither are Bowlero houses, nor to they plan to be at any point in the future.

One of the positive elements of the Bowlero organization is the Elite Series that they hold. TaSean Peters, clearly one of the better bowlers in our area spoke this concept briefly this past weekend. It puts regular league bowlers, okay real good league bowlers, in position to go up against members of the PBA in televised events for prize money up to one million dollars. They are in partnership with NBC Sports Network for the challenge. The next televised event September 11, 2019 at 7pm.

It should make today fun for fans of the PBA tour – if Bowlero and NBC can put this event together then perhaps they can generate more prize money for PBA tour members in national and even regional events. It would be a valuable shot in the arm for the sport. In most if not all pro events the Cashers round is just that. In the recent Coldwater tournament, 96 bowlers rolled in the qualifying rounds and 32 made it to the Cashers round. Appearance money has reportedly evaporated, especially for regional events. This is not to say that more individuals should or will cash in a tournament but it the cash pool is larger for those eliminated in the Cashers round then ultimately there will be more of an opportunity for money to carry over for the bowlers who may have been successful in other events.

The other thing that I was thinking/hoping if this takeover occurs is that other companies or organizations who have a vested interest in the sport may be able to navigate the hoops and join in the endorsement fun of the PBA. Could this be the chance for acceptance of MOXY Bowling by the PBA? I would love to see it for Doug and Lorrie Davidson and the gang at The

The invasion of social media into my email this past week has been an interesting diversion but this is generally one of the busiest times of the year for all of our local bowling centers. Leagues are forming and I would wager that there are still openings at the bowling centers in our area. In real short order, if not already in the case of Delphos Bowling and Recreation, you will see the posting of the different bowling tournaments that are going to be held this season. When you take into consideration how little we get for what is paid to the USBC, local tournament action is clearly your best bang for the buck. To quote PBA50 and Hall of Fame member Harry Sullins – “You pay your money, bowl in the tournaments!”

I will not name names but I had a great conversation today with an individual who has paid more than his share of money to the ABC, USBC, PBA, and different tournament organizers. We did the math – 450 league bowlers x$20 [the USBC sanction fee] = $9,000 … hmmm that’s a whole lot of money – more than enough for rings and awards – even things for the youth.

Another conversation this past week focused some on what would happen if more individuals in our community got together as families and friends and open bowled. We mutually decided that it would lead to stronger families and friendships. Yes this conversation was held in a bowling alley, but I challenge you to find a hole in the logic. The individuals who I see at bowling related parties are generally having a great time – IF - they are actually on the lanes rolling the ball –or at the lanes helping a small toddler roll the ball down the lane. Get to a center near you and give it a try.

Finally let me give a shout out to a long time friend and reader of this column, John Gwinn. John gave me a playful tease when I saw him this past weekend. He shared that it was the fist time that he had seen the word moxie used in quite a while. John shared that he does not bowl. John may not bowl but he has certainly developed spiritual moxie.

Jack Hammill

Guest Columnist

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