Web Special / June 18, 2002

Thoughts from the Wright Side

I have always enjoyed syndicated bowling writer Chuck Pezzano's "Idle Bowling Thoughts." I always thought that was his way of making everyone think a little more, maybe debate a little more, and give his opinion without necessarily making his column an editorial.

One thing is for sure: Bowlers do have opinions, and they are not at all afraid to express them. If you don't believe that, look at what the delegates did at the WIBC Annual Meeting when they voted to delay the Single Membership Organization (SMO) vote by a year.

I came across a few opinions recently and decided to add my two cents worth. Pezzano calls his "Idle Bowling Thoughts"; I'll call mine "Thoughts from the Wright Side."

Let's look at the ladies' vote on SMO. I know all the integers want it to happen and happen soon. But, I have to tell you, I am not hearing that from the bowlers. Most bowlers not affiliated with their local association or subscribing to bowling magazines have little knowledge about the SMO. As a life member of my association and a past president, what I am hearing is, "Hey, it's gonna happen, so we might as well get on with it."

Many members of local associations don't want it to happen but feel we will be force-fed SMO whether we want it or not. Personally, I see nothing wrong with a unified headquarters for ABC, WIBC, YABA, and anyone else you want to toss in there. If there are broken associations, let's look at fixing them. If we have too many, let's look at reducing them.

Maybe, just maybe, we should listen to the women voters.

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Pezzano recently wrote, "Averages are becoming less and less a barometer of a bowler's ability. There could be a gap of 30 to 40 pins per game between a soft home lane condition and a difficult, testing tournament shot."

Well, I went to and pulled up the scores of my local bowlers, and Pezzano was right on the button. The local big guns were water pistols. One local bowler described it this way: "The ABC Nationals is always a humbling experience." I probably would have said "embarrassing experience." I'll hear how bad the lanes were but no explanation on why a record 60 perfect games have been bowled.

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The National Bowling Stadium (NBS) in Reno has been getting a lot of publicity for various reasons. The locals want to make it a multi-use facility, bowlers complain about the facility, the city, and the general location. Some would rather see a World Bowling Multiplex. Bowlers simply want to bowl.

I love the NBS concept. I'm not nuts about Reno. I don't gamble and Reno has very few shows, so I end up flying to Reno, bowling and flying home. My wife and I usually schedule our vacation around either her WIBC Nationals, or mine. When the events are in Reno we never go together.

The World Bowling Multiplex is a good idea, and cities like Chicago, Detroit, and St. Louis were mentioned. They would not be my selection if for no other reason than the weather. I was stationed at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, and February on Lake Michigan leaves a lot to be desired. I would prefer San Antonio, Nashville, or New Orleans.

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I was watching the Senior PGA tournament on television and made a few mental notes about the difference between golf and bowling other than the obvious.

Some golfers, like some bowlers, appear to be quite out of shape. But the golfer doesn't have to carry his equipment. He has a younger, in-shape caddy do that for him. Golfers get assistance from their caddy on club selection; they line them up, help them with distance, and basically serve as a coach. A golfer hits it in the water gets to drop another ball and take a penalty. A bowler who rolls a gutter ball gets a zero. But I never hear a golfer complain about course conditions.

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Finally, if you're reading this you're reading some bowling newspaper that some hard-working editor, publisher, and staff spent many hours putting together. Recently, one such publisher was honored with induction into the Fort Worth Bowling Association (FWBA) Hall of Fame. Joe Gennaro, publisher of The Bowling News was honored by the FWBA in May of this year. Joe has had a tough year with some health problems that have slowed the 76-year-old. However, his paper was turned out every week as it has been for the past 45 years. Imagine publishing a paper on a weekly basis for 45 consecutive years devoted to a single topic. That's what he has done.

I remember the first time I met Joe. We were at a media luncheon for the Quaker State Open at Forum Bowl in Grand Prairie, Texas. I was writing for the Killeen (Tex.) Daily Herald, and Joe approached me and asked if I would write for him, and it was the beginning of a great friendship. I respect Joe, and I know how hard he works to make The Bowling News a great product. The FWBA made a great choice in honoring this fine gentleman.

See you on the lanes.

Don Wright, a member of the Bowling Writers Association of America, currently serves as president of the Southern Bowling Writers. Visit his Web site.