Numbers matter when it comes to USBC and Reno, but does it really!!!!!
When USBC decided back in June to sign a new deal with the city of Reno to continue holding their Open and Women's championship tournaments thru 2030, I wasn't too thrilled with the idea, especially when I read the press release. We as bowlers pretty much knew that USBC was going to renew the deal. Biggest reason being was because then USBC President Jim Sturm decided to up and leave after 5 short months to assume a new position as Executive Director of Bowling Operations for the Tri Properties Hotel and Casino group in Reno, Nev. It was pretty much writing on the wall that Reno was going to be in USBC's future for years to come. I don't have a problem going to Reno because for one, I have relatives there and it's sure nice to see them so often, but I have concerns with this deal.
First of all, when Jim Sturm announced that he was taking the job it was a conflict of interest being the President of the USBC board of directors. Not until later he announced his resignation from his post and by doing this it made him look bad in several ways. He should of resigned first before taking the job to begin with but instead he took the job and created a negative buzz. Bowlers then knew their would be something in the works between the United States Bowling Congress and Sturm's new employer. Either way you look at it, it makes USBC look bad..... here you had a guy in Sturm five months earlier saying that one of my goals is to get our national board more engaged in the business side. He should of said he was bolting to Reno to create more business for USBC and the city of Reno. In the end it was a win, win, win situation for USBC, the City of Reno and Sturm's pocket book. I'm sure he thinks he can help the situation for everyone and make it better, but it's my opinion he may have caused more harm than good.
Let's be honest with ourselves, is this new deal with USBC and Reno a good thing for the bowlers who support them. It's good for USBC because they are taking the up front money that Reno is offering. It's good for Reno because they get more people into the city to spend more money. But what real good is it for the bowlers who continue to show their support to a poor governing body for the so called sport of bowling and a city who can't get people from California to come up a gamble like they used to. Oh!!!!!! I forgot we as bowlers get something, we are guaranteed a 15 million dollar upgrade to renovate the National Bowling Stadium. We get increased entry fees now only 180 dollars, yea..... (up from $150) and we continue to go to Reno a bunch of more times. 15 Million dollars for an upgrade over time to make the stadium more feasible for bowlers. I know it's sure nice but is it really worth it!!!!!! I say no and this is why.....
First thing I want to say is that I can't believe people are such dum-dums. I guess people just don't get it, you would think the people in charge that could make a difference would be more interested in creating ways to entice bowlers to come to the great city of Reno. But instead, they make decisions to turn people away!!!!! You might as well blame those delegates first of all who don't know any better..... you know the people who vote everything down at the convention every year and waste everyones time. I guess you can't blame USBC after all for raising your entry fees and going to Reno almost every year at the Open Championships. You the delegates have caused some of this you know. So now we are off too Reno again and again because you can't increase dues a little, geezus!!!!!
I still think there are better ways to fix the things that are wrong with the tournament and make it more of a success even if you have to go to Reno almost every friggin year. The new upgrades are nice but it won't fix the dwindling numbers of bowlers who refuse to go to Reno anymore unless you bribe them. Hey USBC..... Reno bribed you didn't they? Why can't you bribe the bowlers to come bowl your tournament? Why can't the city of Reno bribe the bowlers? I mean why can't the bowlers have a slice of the pie too, why are bowlers always left with the crumbs..... There are ways to attract more bowlers but the last time I looked it wasn't in my job description to do so. But because I feel so sorry for you guys I will give you some suggestions on what to do!!!!!
USBC, instead of putting 15 Million dollars into the stadium, couldn't you have talked Reno into putting 14 Million into it and sign a contract that states the city would add 1 Million dollars into the prizefunds to entice bowlers to show up for years to come. Heck, that is roughly 100 thousand dollars per tournament between the Women's and Open Championships tournament for the duration of your newly signed contract. You have to try something don't you! More bowlers at the tournament means more money for the city of Reno and USBC too! Can't you throw some our way for once since we have to go to the same place so often!
You can blame the economy for half for your decrease participation because Reno has dropped 20% over that time compared to 10% drop off at other tournament sites. USBC has always been afraid to pull the trigger on doing something new unless it means instant income into their pocketbooks. They allowed you to drink alcohol you know, but this would of never happened unless USBC got some kickback. They can raise entry fees every 5 years you know without hestitation, heck they need too.... they are losing bowlers as fast at this tournament as they are losing members in their own organization. Give the bowlers a reason to show up to your tournament, then they will come..... A new venue, oil pattern, increased entry fees in a city that we have seen way to often doesn't entice bowlers to show up. Especially the ones that have no chance at winning anything which according to USBC is about 1 out of 3 who bowl in this tournament.
Bowlers like myself will go every year regardless where the tournament is held, but most bowlers aren't that way because probably 90% of them have no chance in doing much in this tournament. Since the tournament has made so many insignificant changes over the recent past, (except for the fresh oil thing) maybe the USBC tournament team needs to look at why bowlers aren't showing up as much instead of worrying more about why they need to take the up front money from Reno so often. USBC will make more money in the long run when it can figure out how to entice bowlers to show up to there tournaments they run because obviously they are failing with that in my opinion. If USBC heads to Las Vegas or Orlando in the near future and that 20% increased participation mysteriously shows back up, then you know who's fault it is because I don't see the economy getting much better anytime soon.
I remember back in 2011 when I was in Reno getting ready to compete at the Open Championships tournament that year, I was approached by Brian Lewis at the El Dorado buffet in the salad bar section. He basically let me know that they were looking at going to fresh oil conditions for all squads at the Open tournament. I wondered why he needed to let me know that, did he think I was going to praise him for such a logical solution to restore more integrity within his tournament.....lol.. This should of been done long ago, in fact it took them at least 9 years of talking about it for him to pull the trigger. I wonder back in 2006 if he remembered Jane and I bringing up the fact that they should have a side event in the same building with the same condition as the Open Championships. The reason being is if you have to release a graph of the lane pattern why not give everyone that same equal chance to bowl on the tournament condition (because not every bowler has that capability). Now last year they did a coaching and team practice with the same so called condition (eventhough it wasn't even close because of the warmer temperture upstairs). But the same condition will never play the same on any lane, but can't you have a coach or a press release stating that fact.... USBC is the governing body, can't you give bowlers information so they can understand this game and where your coming from. The new perks are nice for the bowlers but it won't mean that we are going to now show up because of this...... AND I WILL SAY IT AGAIN Reno isn't the answer to making this tournament a success in the future UNLESS YOU BRIBE THEM or give them an offer they can't refuse. Don't see that happening anytime soon, unless of course they read my article.....
I can't get on USBC's official forum about the Open and Women's Championships on Facebook to express my 10 cents worth to them. They deny me that right because they are afraid I might speak the truth or something. People and past friends have been mad at me because I do speak the truth so bluntly. Well at least I ask or bring up factual questions, heck most of time all these people can do is hide behind a screen name get mad and call people names like a 12 year old because it makes them feel better. Because I guess that is all they no how to do..... All I can say is DON'T WORRY IT WILL BE OK.....Lol
So I will ask my question to you on here USBC...... I get the partnership between Reno and yourself, two struggling partners trying to stay afloat in struggling economic times but what about bowling as a whole. Why is it that the bowlers are the ones who always having to suffer the consequences with every decision you make. It's a good chance my question won't be answered but it was worth a shot..... I guess money is more important than making your bowlers happy. Until next time........
October 3, 2011
All Numbers should have some meaning......shouldn't they!!!!!!
I listened to a few of the above180.com radio shows in the past year and the show with Neil Stremmel was very interesting to say the least. In case you didn't know Mr. Stremmel is USBC's VP of the NGB which means Vice President of the National Governing Body. He talked about a league that he is bowling in where they bowl on White patterns in the first third of the season (roughly 8-1 oil pattern ratios). Then they bowl on Blue patterns which are similar in oil ratios as Kegel Challenge patterns (4 1/2 to 1). Then for the last third of the league they bowl on the USBC Open Championship Pattern which is less than a 3 to 1 oil ratio. It sounds like a great league for the bowler who wants to test their ability.... But I had some questions so I decided to e-mail Neil for some answers.
Here is my e-mail below:
Neil, I enjoyed the show!!!!!! Have a ton of respect for what you do!!!!! But I have a few questions of concern? This league that you talked about where you bowl on white pattern first, then blue, then sport conditions seems like a good idea to me? But how do you determine a bowlers average fairly, especially if this is the only league he competes in...... because his average will be much lower than on a normal house condition? I e-mailed Wunderlich about all these leagues around the area, (especially Chicago) where they continue to bowl on tougher conditions but don't care to sanction them as a sport league.... Then they come up to bowl handicapped tournaments under a false ability level only for the tournament director in almost every situation to do nothing about it.... Haven't heard anything yet from Steve..... interested in your thoughts and possible answers to my questions... Thanks take care Greg Thomas
Mr. Stremmel's response:
Hi Greg - Tournament managers have the authority to adjust anyone’s average they believe is not conducive to his/her ability – per rule 319c.
I know that doesn’t really answer your question. Actually, I’m not sure why more don’t use rule 319…? From a White and Blue pattern standpoint, the problem is we do not have any definition of what a tough shot league is compared to a normal house condition (Red is considered a house shot) and we do not require tapes to be taken on every pattern that is put out every time.
What we have told associations and tournaments, if they know what leagues typically have bowler’s whose averages do not necessarily reflect their abilities, to specifically state in the rules bowlers from those leagues must report the average from that league for possible adjustment under Rule 319c. The rules must state the leagues they know to be “tough” and cannot state anyone whose average is from a “tough condition” league will be adjusted because, once again, there is no definition of what a tough condition is.
This has been a potential issue long before White and Blue patterns came out and we still must rely upon tournament managers (and league officers) to utilize the tools and rules we have in place. Also we continue to be “lucky” that most people that bowl in Sport or tough leagues do bowl in more than one league – so it has been a relatively small problem. I hope that helps a bit…
This is why the game of bowling can't be considered a sport.... the only rule in place is a rule starting with a number 319 which has no meaning.... I mean in a way his comment is saying..... well all we can do is leave it up to the tournament directors because in essence we don't really know what anyone's true average is...... Lol...... Remember!!!! Neil these tournament directors make up much of the same mindset as all those delegates do that attend USBC's national membership meeting..... remember the meeting where nothing ever gets accomplished.....
I'm sorry to say this but I have to be my truthful self....... But what is USBC actually governing. Aren't they just saying that if a guy is averaging much lower than his ability the tournament director has the right to re-rate. These tournament directors don't know any better and are they going to turn away an entry into their tournament by pissing off a so-called customer eventhough he is really cheating the flawed system.... The problem is that the governing body is leaving it up to the tournament directors who basically are only interested in the bowlers entry and all those brackets they enter to make the tournament a success financially.... USBC and the tournament directors are throwing all integrity out of the game by doing this......Is that why USBC has changed it's Mission statement it used to read...... The United States Bowling Congress, as the national governing body, ensures the integrity and protects the future of the sport, provides programs and services and enhances the bowling experience. Now USBC has changed it again to this: To provide benefits, resources and programs that enhance the bowling experience... and their Vision is to create lifetime bowlers..... And don't forget that USBC stands forvalues that include: credibility, dedication, excellence, heritage, inclusiveness, integrity, philanthropy and sportsmanship.
If the USBC currently stands for this, how come the governing body has failed to institute a slope rating for the game of bowling so it could truly be called a sport.... Now with Sport bowling they took the time to add a Sport adjustment scale for their Sport Bowling program.... I mean honestly what have they really governed over the past 30 years or so..... They have allowed softer conditions and allowed steroid bowling balls for all those years, which ruined the integrity of the game for so many years without really even trying to do anything to resolve it. And now they have created Sport Bowling and the Red, White and Blue without actually having an accurate way to determine what an average actually is with those patterns...... Now you have a growing list of bowlers each and every year that are fired up about bowling on these tougher patterns to see what kind of level their bowling ability really is...... but you allow the centers not to sanction because they are to lazy to take a tape reading or the bowlers are to cheap to pay the extra cost to have it sanctioned......To me it sounds like the Sport is messed up.....Lol....
I mean shouldn't numbers have some kind of meaning..... Now numbers matter when it comes to money with USBC's financial situation.... Numbers matter when your membership is in jeapardy to dip below the 2 Million mark.... I ask the governing body when an average in the game of bowling will ever have a meaning or when this number will ever matter..... Because right now it means nothing!!!!!!!
Yes Neil...... I guess I should now ask you what USBC has really governed when it comes to the sport of bowling...... Rule 319 is only a number with no really meaning because no one knows exactly how to use it or won't use it for a variety of reasons.... Maybe your delegates will let you change some things.....if they ever come to their senses. Doubt that would happen.....to many dum-dums involved with bowling today. Still hoping for the day when everyone involved with bowling will finally wake up......
I guess I wasn't really straight forward with Mr. Stremmel in a way when I wrote him an e-mail. I mean I respect him as a person.... but what is actually being governed with our Sport. Especially when you know there is a problem with the sport as I stated to you above but nothing has ever been done or even mentioned on how to fix it. Those guys at Kegel are pretty smart. They invented drop brush technology to make those sport patterns play softer than they were designed for in the first place. Maybe they can suggest a method for instituting a slope rating for the Sport of bowling. Would it hurt to even ASK !!!!!
Yeah, there was a time years ago when a 300 game mattered.... Now not so much!!!!
Yeah, there was a time when a 200 average was great..... Now not so much!!!!
Yeah, still wondering what the governing body is actually doing..... Now not to much!!!!
Hopefully sometime down the road, numbers will have a meaning. Hopefully at this rate of time, I will still be alive to see it happen.... See you next time, I hope!!!!!