Over the years I have seen many leagues fail and many bowlers not return. It was never over lane conditions, powerful balls or inflated averages. It was always about the prize list.

I will only write about senior leagues, but this applies to all leagues and league bowlers. None of us bowl league with the primary thought of making money. Most leagues are formed for the social networking and just getting out of the house. Oh, we want to be competitive, but making money is an absolute joke.

However, when it comes time for a prize list and voting on a prize list, I see a certain amount of apathy and a little greed. Handicap leagues are usually made up of lower-average bowlers and a few higher-average bowlers, but primarily there are more recreational bowlers than competitive ones.

The USBC has basically got out of the business of awards and most of the prize lists consist of team money only, with no individual awards. Subsequently, a low-average bowler who rolls the league-high game or series is not recognized. High average, high series and most improved get zilch.

With a prize list that pays first and second place the most money and those finishing third through 25 all make exactly the same money, it doesn’t take any effort to compete.

Win or lose you won’t lose any money. So what is the incentive to compete, other than personal satisfaction? What about those people who like to sandbag. It’s open season for them. They are going to get the same payoff win or lose, third or 25th. If you calculate how much money you pay into the prize fund week after week and then you divide your winnings at the end of the year, you will find you lost money.

Again, I fully realize you will hardly ever get your money back. However, a handicap league should be able to award those who had a personal best and may never do it again. This is especially true in senior leagues.

Every bowler puts money in the prize fund throughout the season and every bowler should have the right to bowl his or her own choice. And the prize list should be approved by the total number of votes, not just by team. My team may vote for one prize list and I may not agree and want to vote for a different one. If you only count teams, you have 25 votes. Whereas if you vote bowlers, you have 100 votes.

Too often people don’t like to sit through a meeting, and when voting comes on league rules it’s usually “let’s go with last year’s constitution and get it over with.” Then when the prize list is passed around, they don’t look at it, don’t discuss it and vote wherever the most signatures are. After it’s all approved, it’s too late.

My senior league was very upset over the prize list that was selected this year. I have to agree with those unhappy because I think it is a completely unfair dissemination of the prize money. It’s too late now to try and change anything, but I sincerely hope the league members remember this and do a better job next year on the constitution and prize list.

The Centex Men’s Traveling Classic Bowling Association is underway and has 12 teams competing.

As of Sept. 22, Sparetime holds down first place in District 1 with a record of 12-4.

Lake Country and Lake Air Strikers are tied for first place in District 2 with a 12-4 record.

John Manibusan has the league high game and series of 279 and 717.

Next stop is Sunday at AMF Lake Air Lanes in Waco.

The unofficial standings for the Harvest Tournament have A Family Affair in first place with a score of 3,312. The team consisted of Chance Blackman, Tyler Blackman, Shane Lassiter and Lisa Blackman.

The PBA Young & Pratt Austin Southwest Open will be held at Dart Bowl on Oct. 11-13. The event will be on the Viper pattern, a 37-foot long, multiple angles pattern that normally yields medium to high scores. Bowlers will need to place a premium on the ball traveling straight through the front part of the lane when the lanes are “fresh.” Once Viper breaks down, multiple angles are available for attack.

Viper is the most versatile of the five named patterns and can be used on any lane surface. The champion on Viper will be the bowler who can outsmart their opponent playing multiple lines.

Good luck to our local PBA member Josh Maxson.

The Greater Killeen-Fort Hood USBC Open Tournament is scheduled for Oct 26-27 and Nov. 2-3. The team event will be at Phantom Warrior Lanes, with doubles and singles at Killeen Bowlerama. Entry forms can be found at www.bowlkilleenforthood.org and entries close at midnight Oct. 13.

The Greater Killeen-Fort Hood USBC Association will hold its board meeting on Oct. 19. The meeting starts at noon at Hallmark Lanes.

I want to give a shout-out to Don Wollek, who rolled a 642 series on the Barbara’s Golden Agers League on Monday. He marked in 34 of 36 frames and said as he left, “I haven’t bowled that good in a very long time.” 


See you on the lanes.

Don Wright has been sharing insights on area/national bowling with Herald readers for more than 25 years. Contact him at wrightdk@hot.rr.com

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