When I woke up Monday morning and read the news, I guess I honestly wasn’t too “gold, silver or bronze” happy about things regarding the sport of bowling.
The Japanese organizing committee for the 2020 Olympic Games will submit five sports to the International Olympic Committee that they would like added to the menu of sports at their games. The five chosen from eight discussed were announced early Monday — baseball and softball, along with youth-oriented sports such as surfing, skateboarding, karate and sports climbing.
Baseball and softball is considered one-sport group, and I do like that because it was a shame when those two events were removed in the first place. Bowling, squash and something called wushu (a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts) were not sent to the IOC for approval.
I’m sure squash fans are not happy, but I am really surprised bowling didn’t get its chance to go to the party with the number of participants in bowling in Japan and the fact that Japan hosts a major world bowling event every year. Plus, bowling has been a part of events like the Pan-Am games for years.
To qualify as an Olympic sport, the IOC requires that the sport be “widely practiced by men in at least 75 countries and on four continents, and by women in at least 40 countries and on three continents.” Bowling has no problem there. How does one of the world’s highest participation sports not get the call?
In a statement on 11thframe.com, PBA Commissioner and CEO Tom Clark said: “We fully support World Bowling’s efforts, share in the disappointment, but as a sport we will get right back up from this. The PBA’s World Series of Bowling is the ultimate international professional bowling tournament. Already 20-plus countries have players entered for this December’s event, with its main event, the PBA World Championship, live on ESPN. We will spotlight the greats of the game, the true athleticism, talent and skill at the absolute highest level of sports on the leader in sports broadcasting. The Tokyo Olympics would have benefited from bowling being part of it, and it’s tough to take, but there is much to look forward to.”
So there, who needs the Olympics for the sport to be successful? We’ve gotten along without it this long (except for that exhibition in 1988 in Korea). But then there is that 11thframe.com headline “It’s official: Tokyo 2020 crushes bowling’s Olympic dreams.”
Bowling has been starting to build a nice momentum. The ratings were up tremendously on ESPN and the network will show the World Championship live in December. The U.S. Open will be live on CBS Sports Network in November and how about the return of a women’s bowling tour, bringing its own group of international stars.
But there has been one phrase to describe the events chosen by the Tokyo group when mentioning sports other than baseball and softball and that is emerging youth-focused events.
Despite the amazing number of participants in Chicago for Junior Gold, the amount of scholarship money being offered and the great young college stars being developed, our sport tends to show its age when it comes to demographics and ad sales. That’s a problem.
I’m disappointed and surprised bowling didn’t make the cut for this particular Olympics and one has to wonder when the chance to come up within sight of a medal will happen again.
City tournament coming up
Hard to believe that the Greater Baton Rouge USBC city events are coming up in a month. The events will be held Oct. 31-Nov. 1 and Nov. 7-8 at Circle Bowl. More importantly, the entry deadline is Oct. 20. Entry blanks are available at the local centers. Shifts are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each of the four days. Both events are four-member team events in the open and women’s events.
The youth city tournament will be held on the same weekends as in past years.
Honor roll notes
There has been some Olympic type bowling the last couple of weeks with Brian Yoches rolling perfect 300 games on consecutive weeks (Sept. 17 and 24). Justin Bui had a 300 on Sept. 24. Then there was Duke Koontz and Eric White at All-Star. Koontz had 300 in a city best 793 set, while White rolled 791 with his perfecto. Tristan Senegal had 722 to lead women’s bowling, while Tyler Lewis rolled 661 to post the top youth score. In the senior leagues, Louis Branch came in with a 696 set, while Deborah Zeringue had 564.
Senior bowler Sylvia Smith rolled 100 pins over her average with a 209 and 525, while Sheila Barton and John Klein were 50 pins over average. Cheryl Bennett gets congrats for a 157 triplicate.
So someone hit the Olympic theme until we return Oct. 13 … Oh never mind on that. Until then, good luck and good bowling.