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Thread: Draft Letter to USBC

  1. #1
    Bowling God Aslan's Avatar
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    Post Draft Letter to USBC

    No, this is not another letter to the USBC about the Motiv scandal. I've resigned to the fact that bowling is just not important enough in the big scheme of things for enough of the general public to care if cheating exists or not.

    But, after trying to practice this afternoon and finding the conditions so dry and pointless...I decided I need to reach out to the USBC and at least make my voice heard. They likely will not be able to do anything, given the state of the sport and the relationships with ball manufacturers and the BPAA...but I'm fed up at this point and considering just quitting and finding another hobby.

    To Whom it May Concern-

    I am writing this letter to ask that the USBC consult the BPAA and propose the USBC add a section to their rule book that mandates centers to oil their lanes for league conditions before and after every league, event, and tournament.

    The reason for this request is that the remaining "sport" bowlers (bowlers that consider bowling a sport, not just a drunken bar activity) are unable to "practice". Given that modern bowling has become more about lane conditions and ball technology than actual skill; the lane conditions are a vital part of the sport of bowling. How is a bowler supposed to practice if the conditions they face on league night differ so greatly from that which we have access to during practice sessions?

    Today, like many other times, I tried to practice. I wasn't overly concerned with scores, but could never find a line that any of my 3 resin balls could stay right of the pocket. I finally realized there was no sense in practicing my strike shot as every ball in my arsenal was going Brooklyn or worse. I decided to spend the remaining two games just shooting at corner pins with my spare ball...but on two 10-pin attempts...the plastic spare ball hooked left of the pin.

    In order to "practice", I am forced to participate in a $20 weekly tournament. If I can't make it...then I can't practice. And realize, I am not a thumbless bowler, a palm bowler, nor a 2-handed bowler. I'm a stroker/tweener with a moderate amount of speed.

    How can we call bowling a sport and ask the Olympics to recognize it as such...when you can't even practice the sport?! Most bowlers only can "practice" in the 5-15 minutes before league play.

    So, my proposal is simple;
    1) A center MUST apply a fresh pattern before league play. That pattern cannot be altered by open bowlers prior to league play.
    2) Once the last team has completed their games, the center is required to apply a fresh pattern again. This will allow players to practice on a fresh or fairly fresh pattern.
    3) Before the next league starts, the center must apply a fresh oil pattern again (unless there was no bowling on the lanes since the post-league oil was applied).
    4) As with #2, once the league is completed, a fresh pattern is applied.
    5) This continues throughout the day. A center with 3 leagues and 2 tournaments on a given day, may have to oil their lanes 5-10 times.

    Someday, I'm sure the technology will exist so that a bowler can come to a pair of lanes and enter in a specific oil pattern...and the lane would oil itself according to the request. Bowlers could practice on a wide variety of patterns. But until that technology exists, if the USBC truly believes in the sport of bowling and that bowling isn't just something drunk young adults do while out for a night of partying, I strongly urge the USBC to take a stand and work with the BPAA to push back against entities such as Bowlmor that has no interest in sport bowling.

    Perhaps some centers will decided their lanes will remain unsanctioned and they will use oil scarcely and at their own discretion. That is their choice. Many Bowlmor centers are canceling leagues and turning their establishments into family entertainment centers with arcades and lazer tag and glow bowling. I think that development is troubling, but it's their choice. And it is my choice not to reward those centers with my patronage. But there must be some way to ensure sport bowlers can practice on AT LEAST a fresh or semi-fresh house shot. And I feel that the USBC is the organization that must push for this. If bowlers can't practice, then bowling isn't a sport. If it's not a sport, then it doesn't need the USBC.

    The PBA has no interest in stamping out cheating (such as the Motiv scandal). Centers are being bought up by Bowlmor and ruined; and ultimately sold off for their land value. And the ball manufacturers continue to sell more powerful equipment that requires heavier oil and wider/longer patterns. So, reluctantly, this falls in the lap of the USBC. If the USBC cannot work with the BPAA to ensure the sport's survival by realistically allowing bowling athletes to practice on fresh conditions, then the USBC is conceding the death of bowling as a sport.

    Thank You in advance and Kind Regards,
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  2. #2
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    LOL Yep, that's not going happen.

    "Someday, I'm sure the technology will exist so that a bowler can come to a pair of lanes and enter in a specific oil pattern"

    That would be like the scoring consoles with the little thermal printer on them, so the bowler could printout their games.

    Every time you tried them they were out of paper, the house stopped refilling them because people used them up like toilet paper.

    You'd have to have a tanker truck of oil with a fire hose connected to the building pumping the oil in.

    "Hey i don't like this pattern, let's change it. I don't like this one either change it again................."
    Last edited by bowl1820; 07-10-2016 at 07:25 PM.

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  3. #3
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    I agree with the points of fresh oil on leagues, but I don't think they can force the owners to have fresh oil for practice. Would be nice, but don't see it. Centers that do, will get the business from the ones who don't.
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  4. #4

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    A few weeks ago, one of the centers where I bowl league bought a new oil machine. Within the first week, something broke on the machine and, while it ran down the lanes, it didn't put down a drop of oil. The center not only apologized, but they refunded our lineage for the day (adding it to our prize fund). Bowling went on, and while the lines were certainly different, it was the same for everyone, and everyone realized it. I averaged 196 for four games, using a plastic spare ball exclusively for three of the four, and a reactive ball on one side only in the final game. The point is that practicing on used lanes is not only useful, it sometimes becomes a big advantage for those of us who will do it on a regular basis.

  5. #5
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    As for oiling before league, that's somethimg that can be voted on before the league start. Although I have never bowled anywhere that doesn't give the league a fresh shot. I bowl a few centers that fill the whole house and shut down open play like an hour before league to dress the lanes and then don't allow anyone on them until the league starts. As for oiling after, that's not gonna happen. Keep in mind that bowling on different and difficult conditions will only make you better. Larger tournaments don't oil between squads/blocks. The U.S. Open has you bowl one of your squads on "double burn" which would have 16 games then multiplied by however many bowlers were on a set before you even step on the approach. So if they have 6 bowlers to a set, the set of lanes would have 96 games on them before you start your 8 games. Chances are a very high majority throwing resin balls.

    If you want a center that keeps oil on the lanes, I'd suggest finding a different center. Chances are there's another center in town unless you're in a small town. I know we have 8 and some places like orlando seem to have them on every corner.
    Last edited by JaxBowlingGuy; 07-10-2016 at 09:33 PM.
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  6. #6

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    Take that opportunity to learn to be a shotmaker. Many times when i practice i will get lined up and try to score for a few games only. Then i will pick a ball and line that i know will require all aspects of my game to be almost perfect in order to strike. In a sense try to out bowl my bad ball reaction. I was talking with a guy one day that won the abc masters in the 60's. He said during one of the days of qualifying he had to play 5th arrow. Go out and try that with a black diamond. That would be the definition of shotmaking there.

  7. #7
    Bowling God billf's Avatar
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    As of now the it's up to each league to negotiate the who and when of oiling. We had one women's league that said they didn't need it the first year. After that they sure did. All the players with reactive balls complained ad naseum about the lack of oil and how they were paying for it. Eventually I got tired of hearing it and told them their league officers were given a price to rent our lanes for a specific day and start time for three games and we were told they didn't need nor want it. This league's officers used plastic, throw straight(ish) and knew this would be a huge advantage for them.

    Have you discussed this issue with any of the center manager's? Not sure why so many don't get it but if you oil they will come.
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  8. #8
    Bowling God Aslan's Avatar
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    Okay, a couple things.

    1) When I stated that someday the technology would exist for people to make their own pattern choice...I envision it as part of the scoring system...far simpler than what Bowl1820 envisioned.

    Each time the person purchases a few games or the lanes for an hour or so, they would have a ONE TIME option of selecting a pattern. They would be able to choose from every pattern ever used in the history of the game. When they select it, and confirm their selection...the pin deck tilts back and the pins fall into the back and the oil machine comes out from under the pin deck....moves to the foul line, then back to the pin deck and under the pin deck. The pins are then reset. Each lane would have it's own machine under the pin deck. The center could oil all lanes or pick and choose which ones from the control desk. But, during open play, bowlers could choose a pattern if they wish.

    It would likely cost an additional amount. I predict the scoring machines will offer a great many options in the future...your own lane music, lighting, and even oil pattern. You would slide a credit card and pay for certain things you'd like. Maybe having your own lighting costs $1 per game, your own music costs $2 per game, and choosing your own oil pattern costs a one time fee of $25. Or, maybe, all those options would be free...just like newer centers with newer scoring equipment offer you choices on monitor backgrounds and animation.

    Next...yes, I know there is value in getting exposed to different patterns. This isn't an old league bowler whining because one house shot is harder than another. I've already been there and done that. This is NOT a harder condition or harder pattern. If it was up to me, every sanctioned house would be forced to select the USBC Red, White, or Blue pattern for all sanctioned leagues and events. One of the stupidest things the USBC ever did was allow centers to "do their own thing" with patterns. If anyone thinks this is whining, I'd be perfectly happy if my next league voted to do sport shots, PBA animal patterns, or USBC masters patterns. I DON'T CARE how hard the pattern is. I will figure it out.

    NOT oiling the lanes is NOT a "tougher pattern". It's a center taking advantage of the sport's decline by cheating their customers out of any ability to practice on a pattern.

    I threw the Dark Encounter standing 25 and targeting 12...it hooked brooklyn and left the 1-2-8. I tried to move left...altered my axis tilt...finally balled down to the Lethal Revolver...pretty much the same. Finally I was standing about 30 and targeting 15-17...with the Loaded Revolver...still going Brooklyn. I tried to practice the 10-pin...both times the shot looked on line and the plastic Ebonite Maxim hooked away from the 10-pin. I finally started using my plastic ball as a strike ball...it also hooked Brooklyn when I was standing 25 and targeting 16-17.

    This isn't about "learning to adjust" or preparing for adversity. This is a center that oiled those lanes at 7:15PM on Saturday....is open 24 hours...and when I decided to go practice at noon Sunday...they hadn't been oiled for roughly 17 hours. The lanes on the other side were oiled at about 6:30AM for an event that morning...but even so, these lanes are very old and they are known to transition a great deal over the course of a series. The odds that after 3 games of bowling...those lanes were still semi-fresh...possible, maybe...probably not.

    The bottom line and point of the letter is simple. IF bowling is a SPORT...athletes that want to get better need to practice. I'd also suggest they research and take lessons. But every person that has ever played a sport has had to practice. I can't think of any sport or even hobby...where someone gets to be great at it...but says, "I don't ever practice and never have. Runners don't get "15 minutes of practice" prior to a marathon....and the rest of the year they just sit around. If bowling is a sport...and right now there are probably more arguements that it IS NOT than there are that it IS....if bowling is a sport, athletes must be able to practice.

    The game and the bodies that govern it, in their infinite stupidity and partially because of the decline in the game...have decided that bowling is just matching up equipment to lane conditions. The game has become SO dependent on technology and patterns...that it's on the border of losing it's "sport" element. And when that finally happens...I think bowling will be about as popular as curling. The ball manufacturers will all dry up...a product of their own doing. And centers will try to hold on...but bowling alleys are rather expensive to build and operate. Might be more economical to build a bar with some video games or one of those elevated shuffleboard tables...maybe some air hockey or darts...something other than bowling to entertain drunk idiots. Thats what bowling has become. Something for drunk people to do when there isn't kareoke available.

    The USBC keeps trying to fix things...but one thing we can all agree on...is they will only go so far. The shot over the bow at Motiv was surprising...but their hands were forced. I'm sure they'd have loved to NOT have gotten that box of Jackals with the note on it. They had to go after a significant sponsor...in some little spat between sponsors. The USBC keeps trying to revive the game that was once almost as dominant as baseball. But they only take 1/4 measures. They issue rules and standards...but largely rely on centers and ball manufacturers to police themselves. They try to get the youth involved...but not by really getting involved with the schools or partnering with the industry...they just give em a discount during the summer...which the centers get back by charging the parents more for their bowling and for food.

    The letter is simply a request for the USBC to address practice conditions. They likely will respond...they were the only ones to respond to my Motiv letter. I give them credit for that...they recognize that I'm a member, I pay dues, and I at the least deserve a response. More than I can say for DV8, the cowards at the PBA, and the dishonest folks at Motiv. But, thats old news.

  9. #9
    Bowling God billf's Avatar
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    How odd, I've always had my questions answered by DV8
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    While the letter makes some good points it also has a few tangential thoughts, like referencing the Motiv scandal and PBA - Neither are a large concern of the USBC. I think you would have a better chance lobbying you local association reps. They know the bureaucracy of the USBC and how to possibly position this for an actual vote. Honestly, even if this was compelling, an open letter won't get far enough to ever be discussed as a potential rule change.

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