California Bowling Writers

July 6, 2008

BPAA’s Bowl Expo Continues the Vision
by Mary Lynly

Bowling Proprietors Association of America’s outgoing President Joe Schumacher shared his enthusiasm for the new bowling campus being erected in Arlington, Texas where the United States Bowling Congress, National Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame and BPAA will come together to govern the sport of bowling. He appealed to the bowler, the proprietor and local and state leaders saying, “You are the bridge. No one knows the legacy of bowling better than you. Look for opportunities to promote new forms of bowling.” It appears the mold of BPAA leadership has been set as the affable President-elect Jim Sturm said, “We are on the cusp of something big.” We complimented Sturm on his presentation and he said, “When I realized I would be required to speak a lot, I decided to take a course on effective speaking and first and foremost they tell you to speak slowly and articulately if you want to get your point across.” It works.

Bowl Expo is all about education and recognition and a coming together of nearly 5,000 proprietors, vendors, and journalists from throughout the world – this year in Orlando, Florida. Activities included the “Salute to Bowling” reception and silent auction benefiting the National Museum and Hall of Fame and bowling’s outrageous block party “Universal City Walk” featuring Neal McCoy, Dread’1, Connis Vanterpool and the Commodores. The pouring rain hampered some but it was just a momentary slow down.

USBC President Jeff Boje said, “The greatest challenge for us is getting people to drop the “I” and start saying “we” so we can show bowling to millions like they have never seen it before. Inspiration and aspiration are what have been missing.” He said it won’t be easy and it will take unity to turn opportunity into success.” Many people who make things happen are “A” types and vie to be in charge but do not always work well with others.

Fred Shreyer spoke on behalf of the Professional Bowlers Association and the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the PBA including its history and future. The greatest 50 bowlers list was unveiled and there will probably be some favorites that are not there. Eventually, the greatest bowler of all time will be selected.

Bowlers Journal President Keith Hamilton presented the BJ Proprietor of the Year award to Cathy Cooper for her creative and unique innovations in challenging times. BPAA’s Kathy DiSoccio presented the “Educator of the Year” award to Stephanie Legacy of Maryland who used the In-School bowling kit equipment to teach 4-year olds math, spelling and more plus an early introduction to the game of bowling.

Chris Schenkel was the BPAA Hall of Fame honoree posthumously. Schenkel of ABC Sports was the voice of bowling on ABC for 36 years, one of the longest TV runs in history. Accepting for the family was renowned bowling historian Chuck Pezzano who said, “I feel like a novice nun being asked to sub for Mother Teresa.” Toasted as the Golden Voice of our time, Schenkel had been honored in 14 Halls of Fame. Pezzano noted, “Many sports writers tell it like it was but Schenkel told it like it really was.”

Howard Baum of North Carolina was the 2008 honoree in the BPAA Hall of Fame. Baum has achieved a lot in his 50 years of service to bowling but credits his family for their encouragement although he was gone a lot. He lauded BPAA for their leadership and innovation in turning BPAA conventions and membership around resulting in growth and prosperity.

Bowling’s charitable endeavors netted $1,300,000 to the Susan B. Komen Foundation and bowlers have donated over 35 million to BVL benefiting our current troops, VA and Military Hospitals and Outreach Centers.

World renowned Instructor Dick Ritger received the 2008 BPAA Coaches Award and joined such trailblazers as Lou Bellisimo, Buddy Bomar, Loretta McCutcheon, Ned Day and more. Ritger humbly accepted the crystal pin award as just “one” of the thousands of coaches all over the world.

Frank DiSoccio, BPAA Vice President of Sales and Activation, said, “Bowling has become trendy again.” Showing a variety of clips from around the U.S. included one with PBA Hall of Famer Bo Burton who commented that, “coming together should have been done long ago. You’re on a roll and it’s going to get better.” Once again, National Bowling week will be in August where we can showcase and promote the 67 million who bowl each year. There will be an opportunity for associations to vie for a $1,000 prize for the most innovative promotion. DiSoccio said participation is up and lineage is up 1.8% across the U.S. BPAA will renew its connection with WWE again. The renewal affiliation with Anheuser Busch increased their bowling center sales by 35%! We are urged to patronize the sponsors: Sara Lee, DHL, Indiana Popcorn, WWE and the newest sponsor Wachovia who will be the BPAA bank of choice.

BPAA continues to stay close to their vision and pursue goals learning with each misstep and just getting better. There are people who have a job and perform the technical duties and then there are people who have a job and perform miracles. This is John Berglund. Without John’s expert management of staff and his willingness to facilitate making things happen, BPAA would not run as smoothly as it does and would not have made the progress it has. John Berglund is in charge but he is also an expert in working with others – this is the difference. He is always the first to credit others but it is his drive and leadership that propels BPAA.