At writing time, I have just returned from Tulsa and the Women's Championships at Riverlanes. What a huge bowling center and what a huge crowd.
The 80-lane center was booming. The pro shop was full of customers, the snack bar did a fantastic job, and the food was great. The bar, although small, had three televisions all showing a different sport, from auto racing to basketball to baseball. The beer was cold, and the service was great.
I have to admit that although I have a fairly broad butt, I am not prone to long sessions in the bleachers. Riverlanes had installed bleachers for the spectators, and there was ample seating, but darned uncomfortable.
Riverlanes is a smoke-free bowling center. Unfortunately, they allow smoking right outside the door. This not only made the entrance congested, it was like walking through a burning building to get in, or out. And, I gotta tell ya, more women smoke than men.
As usual, the women run a fantastic event, but I do have a few suggestions. First, if you are going to have a dress code, enforce it, or do away with it. While sitting in the snack bar enjoying a hot dog I heard many of the women complaining that the dress code was not being adhered to, and it was obvious to this casual observer.
Second, the 10:30 p.m. shift needs to be eliminated. To begin with, it never starts on time. But it ends way too late and many of those women travel alone, and it's a dangerous time to be leaving a bowling center, driving, parking and walking to a motel. It would seem to me that eliminating that shift might mean extending the tournament another week, but I would rather see that than run the risk of an incident. Now I am sure someone will say, "In all the years, we have never had a single incident…" Believe me, it will only take one.
Kudos to the WIBC for posting direction signs all over Tulsa. It makes it so much easier to find your way around. Maybe now that the women are part of the USBC the men will let them post the same signs for the ABC tournaments. Remember, men don't ask directions, so please post signs.
Kudos to Tulsa. What a beautiful city.
ESPN'S BOWLING NIGHT -- I want to see more bowling on television. I have even written to ESPN and asked that they include old PBA telecasts on their ESPN Classic program. I don't know if they can do that because I don't know who has the rights to those old shows. But, "Bowling Night" is bad. Watching a bunch of athletes who know very little about our sport roll games of 115 isn't a good TV sports night.
Now, having said that, Norm Duke is great. I listen to Duke and have heard Voss in the booth, and I ask the question, "Why is Randy Pedersen still doing his thing?"
THINGS TO PONDER -- Maybe it was just the weekend I was in Tulsa, but I couldn't help but notice that the WIBC Championship is starting to show its age. I did not see a lot of young women bowling. When I was in Baton Rouge for the BWAA Convention, I saw the same thing at the ABC Tournament. You have to wonder what will happen to both of those events in just a few years.
Sitting in the snack bar at River Lanes, I overheard a lot of conversations. I heard a lot of women say they didn't like going to Reno every three years. I have to say I agree with them. Reno is a very expensive trip. It cost me as much to fly to Reno as it does to fly to Europe. I don't gamble, and Reno has very few shows on the dates I bowl. Plus, it's back-to-back for me -- I go to Reno and the next year my wife goes to Reno. That's a lot of money to bowl nine games.
I am a big fan of Bowlers Journal International and one of the reasons is the Par Bowling column written by Tom Kouros. What a great writer. His column "Lessons from the Slow Lane," in the May edition is a must read.
I like to lurk on the PBA message board on pba.com. Most of the messages are pretty lame, but it lit up when Brian Voss posted his thoughts on "ball sanding." I don't think that incident is what caused Voss so much gas, but personally, I think the PBA needs to address that type of activity, and I don't think ball reps have a place on the lanes.
I bowled in a senior league for the first time this year. I haven't decided if I want to do that again. It's different to say the least.
Our local association is going to go to a four-person team event for the city tournament. Personally, I prefer a five-person team. Actually, I prefer a five-man, five-woman team concept and a two-man, two woman team in a mixed event. I'd like to know your thoughts on tournament team configuration. E-mail them to me.
See you on the lanes.