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A Look at WIBC, French Bowlers, SARS Scare, Ebonite, Storm and eBay

April 18, 2003

The Women's International Bowling Congress' delegates will have a rare opportunity to step up to the plate April 30 and hit a home run for the sport of bowling.  If the delegates gathered in Reno, Nev., vote for the controversial Single Membership proposal then they would be in the driver's seat and would steer bowling into the future.

But that will be no small matter. First the WIBC delegates will have to vote to rescind a decision they made last year in Milwaukee to delay the Single Membership vote until 2004.  Then they would have to cast a two-third vote in favor of going ahead with plans to join the Young American Bowling Alliance and USA Bowling in forming the new United States Bowling Congress.  Such a daring vote by the WIBC delegates would leave their predominately male counterpart the American Bowling Congress out in the cold since the ABC delegates voted down Single Membership during their March convention in Knoxville, Tenn.

The leadership of the Bowling Proprietors Association of America and the United States Olympic Committee are on record as supporters of the proposed United States Bowling Congress.  They carry a great deal of clout.  Apparently most WIBC and ABC delegates seem to favor some kind of combining of organizations and leadership at the national level since it would be a great cost saving maneuver, but they refuse to give up their local authority.

Stay tune to see if the WIBC delegates are ready to lead the bowling industry into the 21st Century.

     French Head Tourney  

What with diplomatic problems and the war in Iraq, Paulette Watson earlier this month was worried that the anticipated large French bowling delegation would not be showing up for the 16th Greater Miami International Tournament at Cloverleaf Lanes May 3-10.

Not to worry.  "Only two French bowlers canceled out on the tournament and it had nothing to do with current world problems," said Watson, executive director of the Miami International Tournament. "Thirty-four French bowlers and eight guests will be making the trip to Miami once again."

In all, 72 amateur bowlers and 20 guests are expected for the singles and doubles competition.  They will hail from 13 countries - Germany, Holland, Ireland, France, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Canada, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Jamaica and the United States.  

The victory party following the competition will be held at the Miami Shores Country Club.

     SARS Concern

Although no bowling company has expressed concern yet, all are keeping their eyes on the SARS epidemic that has originated in Asia.  A lot of bowling companies do a lot of business in Asia and in addition the Professional Bowlers Association annually stages late- summer tournaments in Japan.  "We will continue to monitor the health issues closely, but a final decision is more likely not to be made until August," said Steve Miller, president and CEO of the PBA, in reply to my inquiry.  "And even then, it may become at the players' discretion."

Let's hope the SARS problem is solved quickly.

     Ebonite and Storm Excel

From where I stand, Ebonite lately seems to be doing the best job of promoting bowling with all of its novel approaches to all aspects of the game.  Every time you turn around Ebonite is introducing new programs that should have universal appeal.  And Ebonite does a yeoman job of getting its message out to the general bowling public.  Don't consider this an endorsement for any product, just consider it a pat on the back to Ebonite for daring to be different from a promotional standpoint.  

Likewise, I would have to say that in my book Storm has become the best known bowling ball company just simply because of its name  Storm  and it's policy of sponsoring bowling events. Everywhere you turn you will find the name Storm atop giant and small bowling events.  Last year Storm even sponsored the City Tournament here in small Daytona Beach.  You might say Storm has blown away the bowling public via its very active tournament involvement.

     eBay Boon for Bowlers

Did you catch the small Associated Press story about bowling lanes being purchased via the Internet?  The story read: BUSHNELL, Fla. - The Sumter County Youth Center officials went to eBay to find a deal on the eight-lane bowling alley they wanted for their new family fun center. The entire setup cost them around $20,000 while the cost of shipping was less than $10,000. They needed three semitrailers to move all the equipment to this Central Florida City from Glenwood, Minn.  The purchase came complete with shoes, balls, lockers, chairs and even two pool tables.  Carpenters from Gulf Coast Bowling of Sarasota will install the eight lanes in an old Wal-Mart building.