Letter from the Editor in The Foundation Bowling Newsletter by June Davis
When I wrote my editorial regarding the Women’s US Open last month, I strictly spoke from the point of view that the talents of elite athletes should be showcased. With the easier lane pattern that was used during the USWO, scores were literally through the roof; there were several perfect games and, if you watched the TV show, you saw that there was some area to play the lanes.
I stand by my opinion and what I wrote 100%.
However, I thought about it some more and continued to wonder why the Bowling Proprietors Association of America (BPAA), the group running the most prestigious event in women’s bowling, would want to “lighten up” the lane conditions. And it occurred to me that I had already written the answer. I mentioned the BPAA Executive Director Steve Johnson had addressed the Bowling Writer’s Association during the annual meeting. Johnson said they “wanted a tournament like no other; a tournament that would break the records.”
When I think about what Johnson said and that the BPAA is an organization comprised of bowling proprietors, I begin to understand perhaps why the lane conditions were made a little “softer”. The bowling proprietors own bowling centers and they are in the business of getting people; any people; into the centers to spend money bowling. They are in business to make money and if people aren’t coming into the bowling centers, then the proprietors aren’t making money.
I suppose they were trying to get people interested and show that bowling is exciting. I just don’t personally feel that by using an easier pattern that allows mistakes to be made on the lanes will put our athletes in the most respectable light…especially at a prestigious tournament like the US Open.
Scoring records and participation records may have been broken, but did that really help attract more women or more people to bowling? I can’t answer that and I suppose we’ll have to wait until next year to see if the entries improve.
On a side note…it took a while for the numbers to be released, but it turns out the USWO television show also broke the record for live attendance. I wonder…did we break any records for television viewers?
Comment: Bowling has been losing participants to the tune of more then 10 MILLION in the last 15 years, all the while lane conditions have gotten easier and easier. Don't know who said it but "Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it."