Enough is Enough! By Jim Salisbury



    "Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport - the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, the human drama of athletic competition..." ABC's Wide World of Sports Introduction

    Every Saturday, when I was a much younger soul, like clockwork this poem recited. After the bowling match reached its conclusion, the last "so long" from the bowling venue ushered in these fine words. So familiar was its chant that you could close your eyes and just imagine the terrible spill that each week on cue, the unfortunate ski jumper would undertake.

    And yet the true meaning of these words, the true heartbeat of sport itself, has flat-lined in the last three decades as applied to the sport of competitive bowling. It has been an eye opening experience to witness just how many prominent players in the sport have deemed it lifeless.

    Dead. No pulse. With just as many of them expressing the opinion that the game that remains is not worth resuscitating. How awful indeed to witness such a beating and to report such a morbid declaration from those who once rode success to the very pinnacle of the profession.

    Friends of the sport of bowling take heart, it remains far from dead. It is impossible to kill a sport - to do so would require the execution of emotion. It would mandate the suspension of human drama as a belief, the end of the definition of winning or losing.

    For as long as there are human beings in existence, the idea and the basic instinct of competition will attract us all. There will be the victors and the vanquished.

    You can hold a sport hostage, locking it away until a commercial or proprietary ransom is paid. You can water down a sport, holding up the house of cards that remains, spending excess time and money on the illusion.

    One can turn their backs on a sport, ignore it by redefining such as purely a "recreational activity". The failure to oversee, care for, and regulate may be the left hand, all the while handing out self-congratulatory awards and honors for a job seemingly well done the right.

    Foolishly, you can borrow against the credibility of the sport for short term gain until exhausted, the victim seeps functional bankruptcy.

    And finally you can betray a sport and all of the fine people behind it who have worked their entire lives promoting such by the callous and unbelievable allowance of the consumption of alcohol during the highest levels of competition.

    In direct violation of the vision statement the "leadership" has cast their lots upon the clothes of the sport. For shame!

    Financial insecurity is no excuse for this profanity. The sport of bowling has existed for more than a century in this country. Throughout good times and bad, two world wars, a great depression and subsequent periods of recession, the sport of bowling has and will endure.

    The excuse, "Wait and see, this is a trial run." holds no water and reveals one of this panels greatest shortcomings. Government by reaction is an invitation to utter failure. The care and nurturing of anything worthwhile requires constant vigilance.

    Being proactive in oversight must be an absolute in preventing the erosion of the credibility of any sport. The reactionary government reveals a stunning lack of planning.

    An opportunity exists now to renew the sport of competitive bowling. We have a comprehensive plan and willing volunteers, driven by their passion to help fine tune and implement it.

    The general outline of the plan is based on the six areas of remedy that have been previously published. The end result will be a refreshing concentration on the revitalization of the sport with emphasis on the long term health.

    The risk of doing nothing, of business as usual is profound. After declining for a period of four decades, the sport of bowling is poised to enter an extended period of its dark ages. By allowing it to do so, we will have to spend much more effort, time, money and resources to undertake an eventual renaissance.

    We ask to speak in front of the entire delegation assembled in Reno to explain our proposal. Then it will be up to these delegates who wish to stand up for all of us and take back their congress and our sport from the mirage that is the current "leadership" of the USBC.

    We are running out of places to play!


    Editor's note: The author is a bowling center owner in the United States. Contact Jim Salisbury at park_lanes@peoplepc.com