Old Crystal Ball predicts that Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum's move to Arlington will get green light By Dick Evans

    05/20/08

    Column

    Seven Inductees during USBC Hall of Fame Ceremonies in Kansas City entertain Delegates and Press

    ColumnistDickEvans.jpg My old crystal ball has been going wild over the weekend urging me to give anyone 10-1 who odds wanted to bet that the Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum wouldn't be moving to Arlington, Texas, after today's meeting.

    The date of the Hall of Fame committee meeting in Arlington was announced as May 19 during the USBC Convention in Kansas City May 7-10.

    I fed all the information I knew and heard in Kansas City into my crystal ball and it came alive Sunday and announced the odds were a short 1-to-10 that a tough decision would be made Monday to move the Hall of Fame from St. Louis to Arlington sometime this year or early in 2009.

    Six months ago I didn't think the suggested move would happen, but a lot of things have happened since the arrival of 2008 that changed my mind.

    First, the leadership of the United States Bowling Congress and of the Bowling Proprietors Association of America made some monumental monetary decisions that changed the face of bowling with the USBC decision to move from its longtime home, the Greater Milwaukee area, to Arlington.

    And that meant that the proposed International Bowling Congress campus also would feature an ultramodernistic training and technical building feature from 12 to 24 Brunswick lanes.

    About the same time, the Hall of Fame committee was entertaining an attractive offer to move from its current site to a revolutionary setting in a prominent mall nearby in downtown St. Louis.

    Unfortunately, that attractive deal apparently started to unravel to everybody's chagrin.

    I was one of the many who attended the opening of the Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Louis and still have a postage stamp they issued for the occasion. But I predicted in a column in The Miami Herald after I flew home that the Bowling Hall building could become a White Elephant despite its charm and history because it was located in downtown St. Louis and not on Interstate 70.

    To the best of my knowledge, the Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum never has made money and has cost the membership organizations a pretty penny over the years.

    It may not make money in Arlington, but if promoted properly it has a chance since it will be located in a tourist-oriented area within walking distance of Six Flags, the Rangers' baseball stadium and within a short taxi ride of the under-construction Cowboys Stadium.

    But make no mistake, my crystal ball has been wrong before...My grandfather said the same predicted the Confederates would win the Civil War in 1861 and I know the same computer picked the Patriots over the Giants in this year's Super Bowl.

    So that is why I am taking the Crystal Ball's betting odds about the move to Arlington with a grain of salt, and sea salt at that.

    I want whatever is best for bowling and the Hall, no matter where that site may be in America.

    For years, I thought the Bowling Stadium in Reno would make a great home for the Bowling Hall of Fame since that site almost would guarantee it 100,000 visitors two out of every three years.

    But my crystal ball always has been silent on my Reno vision.

    I guess I am no visionary.


    Hall Inductees Shine


    Speaking of the Hall of Fame, I was happy to read that the Professional Bowlers Association is going to consider some bowlers and meritorious service candidates for its 50th anniversary celebration during the 2008-09 season.

    I also was impressed with the PBA's 50th anniversary logo and some of the unique programs the PBA is planning to unveil.

    And that thought brings me to a senior moment -- I planned to write about the USBC Hall of Fame inductions ceremonies during my USBC Convention roundup last week but I forgot. I forgot so big time that I didn't think about it until Hall of Fame member Mark Jensen sent me an Email and told me how delighted he was to see so many Hall of Fame members in Kansas City.

    The Hall of Fame lineup -- led by former Budweiser teammates Bill Lillard and Ray Bluth -- was awesome and featured both male and female members. But in my opinion, great bowlers like Lillard and Bluth are the cream of the old Hall of Fame crop.

    And that brings me to the seven inductees at the Kansas City Municipal Auditorium on Friday May 9.

    Since I sit on the USBC Hall of Fame board, I was proud of the people who got 70 percent of the vote from the board or Hall of Famers/writers for induction this year.

    The late Martha Burton was truly a pioneer since she loved the sport of bowling although for many years she was prohibited from competing in WIBC Leagues because of the 'white only' rule that stood until 1950. She was the first Black-American delegate to a WIBC Convention in 1954.

    I knew Roger Dalkin when he was a scholar-athlete at North Miami High School. After he was named executive-director of the ABC and then USBC, I always felt he had an uncanny ability to speak on his feet. During his talk in Knoxville about supporting the merger of the ABC and WIBC I discovered he was brought to tears by the crusade. At the Hall of Fame ceremonies he also was tearful at times. He deserves a lot of credit for the merger.

    Everyone always knew that Mike Hennessy was a talent at all kinds of bowling endeavors. He was so much fun to work with when he served as executive director of the BWAA and I was president of the Bowling Writers Association of America for two years. But few people knew what a great stand-up comic Mike really is until his acceptance speech in Kansas City. He would have brought the house down if everyone could have heard. nfortunately, the acoustics in the old convention center wasn't anything to write home about if you were near the stage area.

    Leanne Barrette Hulsenberg always will be Boomer to me, her nickname on the women's pro tour. She could really boom her bowling balls and from her speech I figure they all were Ebonite balls. The thing that surprised me the most was that she was so entertaining and humorous since she always had seemed so serious in my eyes. She won a million dollars on the pro tour, a testimony about how good she really was since big purses were hard to come by at PWBA events.

    Carolyn Dorin-Ballard wears so many hats that it is hard to know which hat is speaking at what time. She was one of the all-time great bowlers and may be one of the elite bowling speakers. She was entertaining and informative and you hated it when she ended her speech. One thing is sure, she knows how to work an audience almost as well as she knew how to knock down pins.

    Parker Bohn III throws a bowling ball with his left hand but was right on the mark with his speech. He made no bones about that he owed a lot of his great career to Brunswick and even took time to thank John Jowdy, who was in the audience, for giving him free instructions when he needed it. I was very impressed with his words about his family. Parker is one of the classiest bowlers on the pro tour and his $2.6 million in earnings proves it.

    Brian Voss always will be one of my favorite PBA members because he gave me one of the greatest bowling interviews of my career one year in Las Vegas. And success did not change his personality. He appears to know no stranger and looms one of the best of the super stars when it comes to coaching. I was a little surprised that several times he teared up. To Brian's credit, he didn't miss a chance to thank his best friend on tour, Norm Duke, for flying to Kansas City to share in his USBC Hall of Fame moment.

    Duke's presence was a tribute to Brian and hopefully reflects his high esteem for the USBC Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, which will move to Reno next year.

    Over the past 30 years, I have been to many ABC, WIBC and PBA Halls of Fame ceremonies and I would say without hesitation that the seven who spoke briefly in Kansas City were the most interesting group I have heard.

    Many years I have sat watched the minute hand on my watch slowly move as Hall of Famers reviewed their achievements and thanked everybody and anybody. If you had three speakers, you knew one was going to be long.

    I was never bored by any speaker during the USBC Hall of Fame Class of 2008 graduation ceremonies.

    Each and all new USBC Hall of Famers should take a bow.

    But the big question as we left Kansas City remained: When will Del Ballard be voted in since next year he will be pitted against Mark Roth and John Petraglia. No matter what any writer wants you to believe, it really is tough for each of three candidates to garner 70 percent of the votes.

    Email address: Evans121@aol.com