Let's hope Sarah Palin does her bowling homework before Bowl Expo By Dick Evans



    ColumnistDickEvans.jpg I may be a minority of one but, when I go to any sports convention I expect the keynote speaker to be the Billy Graham of his/her sport and extol the virtues of that sport and charge up everyone in the audience.

    In my way of thinking, the keynote speaker should be an expert on the sport or business and he/she should deliver a fiery speech while pointing out the problems and offering solutions that will produce passion among those in attendance.

    So imagine my surprise when I read that Sarah Palin, the GOP's vice-presidential nominee last year, was going to be the keynote speaker during the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America's Bowl Expo next June in Las Vegas.

    I almost got ahead of myself and wrote she was the presidential nominee last year.

    I know she is a good speaker, has written a book that is a hot item and she may have more bowling ability than President Obama displayed on the campaign trail last year when he almost made a fool of himself.

    However, in all fairness to the president, I have heard that he is improving because he is bowling with his girls and wife on the rejuvenated bowling lanes beneath the White House.

    Palin may have a lot of first-hand knowledge about bowling because it's one of the few sports that you can compete in year round in Alaska and the PBA's senior Player of the Year hails from Alaska of all places.

    I realize that she may produce a lot of interest when she speaks to the proprietors and probably will result in a lot of press attention.

    In my mind, the only way it would be beneficial press attention for the bowling industry would be if she says during her keynote speech that she will give all proprietors a big tax break if she is elected.

    I would jump up and yell BRAVO if she said she understands that, unlike other sports (golf, tennis, softball, basketball, football, shuffleboard, boating, etc.), bowling has grown into America's favorite participant sport because small businessmen/women have invested their money and lives in building bowling centers for the American citizens' leisure and pleasure as a sport or recreation.

    And then Sarah would preach to the BPAA members about how important it is that they sanction every league in his/her center. She could explain that BPAA members could guarantee that every league was sanctioned with the USBC by hiking league fees for every bowler about 65 cents per week and using that money to sanction every bowler in the center.

    It would take an initial investment of each proprietor, but the money would be recouped through the extra weekly fees.

    Palin could spellbound the audience about how the BPAA needs the USBC more than ever since they became joined at the hip when they decided jointly to build the International Bowling Campus in Arlington, Texas.

    When you live in Alaska, you learn how to thaw the ice between organizations so she could point out that BPAA members would benefit by banking the prize fund of each league until the season ends. That way proprietors would be collecting interest on the prize money during a season, which hopefully runs at least 30 weeks.

    She would have done her homework and would be aware that the USBC may face future financial problems if membership continues to decline like a skier on an Alaska mountain slope. So she could point out that the BPAA needs to help the USBC in every way possible.

    If Sarah Palin or any other politician would jump in and help bowling become stronger financially, I would vote for her or him.

    But to be honest I think I am dreaming. Politicians don't seem to give a hoot about championing the great sport of bowling and that bothers me when politicians who know nothing about bowling are invited to speak at a bowling convention and barely mention the sport.

    I would venture a guess that a keynote speaker at Bowl Expo earns between $25,000 and $50,000 for maybe 25 minutes of jokes and their beliefs about what is happening in the country...views they probably have expressed numerous times on numerous cable and network TV shows.

    In the old days, before 24/7 political related cable shows, I was interested in what politicians had to say at political rallies because that might be the only time you got to hear them speak on national issues.

    Now you can't turn on TV without hearing one political candidate or another speak so I have found three political candidates telling BPAA members the same thing they have been saying on TV for 12 months while serving as keynote speakers at Bowl Expos over the years.

    The two most inspirational speeches I have heard at any BPAA convention were delivered by two bowlers -- Jeff Boje and John Petraglia.

    I wanted to stand up and cheer when Boje told his fellow BPAA members what trauma in a family really is before he was installed as president of the BPAA.

    John Petraglia accepted his BWAA award during a Columbia/BPAA press dinner in Las Vegas last June. He told heart warming stories about fellow Hall of Fame bowler Parker Bohn in such an elegant and funny way that I couldn't stop applauding.

    I may be old fashioned, but, when I was covering religion for The Miami Herald and went to a tent revival of a faith healer, I didn't expect to hear a Christian Scientist reader being introduced and the keynote speaker.

    I have covered virtually every sport and bowling is the only sport that likes to boast that a golfer, tennis player, football player, baseball player, NASCAR driver or basketball star likes to bowl.

    So what? If it were a smart promotion, then all the other sports would be promoting a star like Tiger Woods if he happens to like playing tennis or Peyton Manning if he happens to like playing table tennis or Shag if he happens to like playing volleyball.

    Bowling takes a back seat to no sport when it comes to the number of participants and that is its greatest promotional tool in my opinion.

    And that is why I think the entire bowling industry needs to start promoting bowling all the time and in every way possible. The bowling industry needs to make heroes out of it great bowlers and occasionally have the most articulate and famous bowlers (men and women) as keynote speakers at the BPAA or USBC conventions.

    Bowling promoting Hall of Fame bowlers, what a refreshing concept.

    Remember, this is only my opinion. It doesn't make it right, but it might make you think if you read this far.


    Email Dick Evans at Evans121@aol.com