---- — The economy has caused a major hit on our sport of bowling. Not more than five years ago, the City of Firsts USBC Association had close to if not more than 2,000 members. Today, the membership is around 1,000 at most. Among the possible reasons tossed around are the cost of bowling and the cost of being sanctioned.
The main reason is more likely that people have to work two jobs to make sure that there is a roof over their heads and food on their table.
It is not only here in Kokomo, it is everywhere — the big cities and the little towns. Bowling membership are down everywhere. In Kokomo, when our major factories started having their problems and major layoffs, bowlers started dropping out. Yes, it was understandable. When you have children, they should come first and they are a very important part of your life. I, as a small part of the education system, am proud of all the parents who put their children ahead of their selves.
Many people are working two jobs because a lot of the employers in our surrounding area have decided to cut employees back to 30 hours or less because of the insurance issues. So people have had to get a second job to make ends meet. So now there is no extra time to bowl because that other employee may not be able to give them the time they need to bowl. Many people work when they can.
The cost of bowling is because the centers have to cover so much expense of which bowlers really aren’t really aware. Insurance that covers all the equipment, cost of repair to equipment like ball returns, pin setters and all the computers. Carpet, tables, chairs and internal repairs such as air conditioning, heat and lighting. Then you have their employees and if any of you have been paying attention to what the government has been doing with the minimum wage, this is their cost, too. Taxes keep going up on them, too. Personal insurance in case someone falls on the property and gets insured is a must.
Sanction fees are set by the USBC for tournaments, awards and the general running of the national board.
A lot of people who left the sport of bowling to support their children because of jobs have never come back. These people are the ones we need to get back into our sport. They need to get back to adult time and have fun. I am not saying that they are not having fun with their kids, I hope they are having fun and having time that they will never forget. Maybe just come out for some open bowling and see what you have been missing and join a summer league and get ready for a fall league next year.
This is the first year that Kokomo has not had a women’s city championship tournament. There was not enough entries to warrant a tournament. There still is an open tournament going on and there are a couple of women’s teams in it.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
The City of Firsts USBC Annual Meeting is 2 p.m. March 30 at the Kokomo Eagles on Lincoln Road. They are still taking application for directors, president and second VP. All applications must be turned in to Don Sparks 24 hours before the meeting. Don also is taking applications for the association manager, which is large position that includes running win labs, knowledge of computers, doing all sanction cards, awards, sanction of leagues and all league information. Tournament knowledge and set up is helpful, too.