As states, counties and municipalities across America begin to loosen up their restrictions on business operations and the guidelines for their start-ups, bowling has been at the bottom of the list for consideration for a shopping list of reasons.
Each of those reasons has a parallel with some other business type that has received a green light, while bowling patiently waited.
Professional sports have been heavily hit by the unending changes and contradictions of restrictions, ordinances and executive orders, by state governors. Schedules have been delayed, then suspended and then cancelled altogether, only to be reinstated in short forms and strange guidelines for games and practice sessions.
The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) was recently purchased by Bowlero, only to have its investment shut down by coronavirus. First, the season schedules were suspended, then pushed back and then cancelled for the balance of the year and then just recently, reincarnated with short seasons and stops without spectators. The PBA50 Senior Tour has scheduled dates in Florida at the Villages; a series of dates heavily attended by senior citizens but now with no spectators at all. The schedule then moves up into the Carolinas for a couple of stops then to the Midwest and, finally, the Dick Weber PBA60 Super Senior at the end of August. Speaking with management at our local Harvest Park Bowl, the PBA hasn’t as yet decided on a West Coast swing.
Harvest Park is the longest running PBA stop. It started hosting regular PBA events shortly after opening in 1992 and started hosting the PBA50 Senior events just a couple of years later.
I really can’t speculate what the rest of the year looks like for the professional side of the game, there’s just too much politics involved to make rational observations. We’ll just have to wait and see.
On the recreational side, centers are heavily promoting “short” format Leagues for the summer with full schedules.
As a director of the county association, I can say that these will probably be nonsanctioned leagues with no United States Bowling Congress membership required. Right now, centers just want to get people off their couch and out in public again. Bowling is a great way to do it.
I expect the only restrictions to be reasonable spacing and limits on customer numbers based on established fire codes. As all centers serve food and beverage, mask guidelines will probably be in line with those exemptions.
I look forward to having a closer venue for coaching than my private venue in Danville, where I’ve had a rotation of 60 students at a private estate for about two years now.
It’s a coach’s dream come true to have access to a state-of-the-art pair of lanes and a lane machine to put out patterns of my choice without encumbrances, obstacles or permissions.
The downside is the 40-mile drive. Small price to pay in these times to be “immune” to the current restrictions.
The grand reopening for Harvest Park Bowl in Brentwood is July 1. Get your equipment ready, it’s time to go bowling … again! A reservation is suggested for the first few days of operation.
Wilson is a U.S. Bowling Congress Silver Instructor and an International Bowling Pro Shop and Instructors Association ball technician.