Tag Archives: Rules

Leagues & Associations – Why Serve – by David Charron

I have bowled in many different States and in many different Associations within the State of Maine. I have been in every imaginable League Officer Position over the years on various leagues, and recently have become a Board Member on one of my Local Association Boards. There are many bowlers out there who both have been bowling for many years and even some who are very new to the sport of bowling but love it dearly, ask yourself this question, why serve.

For me this answer is easy, I wish for the sport to be on a fair and competitive level and for the rules to be enforced on a consistent basis for all bowlers, all of the time. This is why I have served for many years as a League Officer. Just recently I have made the move into the “politics” of the Local Association Board. Now again for me the answer to why is an easy one, I wish to effect change, I wish to make my Local Association Board be more about the Bowlers it is in place to serve and less about all the other things that make up the “political” side of my local association. The only way I see to effect the change that I feel is so desperately needed is to become involved, now this holds true not only for bowling, but for anything if you really sit and think about it.

Now, I know this opinion is not going to be popular with many people, but it is my opinion. If you are currently a member of you Local or State Association Board, a Committee Member, or a League Officer for any of the following reasons

  • It looks better on your Hall Of Fame Resume
  • You have a Personal Agenda or Personal Vendettas
  • You wish to have Power over your fellow Bowlers
  • Financial Gain – Pay from the League or Board; or other Financial Gain

RESIGN – Resign immediately. You are not serving the Bowler’s, you are serving yourself and frankly that is not what being a League Officer or an Association Board Member is suppose to be about.

Now with that said, these are Voluntary Positions, how do we fill the seats of those who have departed recently, or those with terms that are expiring. Recruit, Recruit, Recruit. If you are a bowler reading this Blog and have always wanted to get involved but didn’t know where to begin. Ask current board members when and where the next board meeting is; you don’t have to be a member to attend these meetings. You will be both surprised and inspired by what goes on during these proceedings. Get involved attend meetings, run for office, become a board member, or even the Member of a Committee (you do not have to be a member of the Board to be on a committee). However with that being said if you are going to serve your fellow bowlers in this capacity, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.

  • DON’T become the Secretary / Treasurer of your League only because the position pays for your bowling, or for other financial gain. DO take on this position because you have the skills and ability to do a great job at it, do it right, and provide a valuable service to your league.  
  • DON’T become a League Officer on your League only because you don’t like the rules and want to try to change them for your own benefit or for your team’s benefit. DO run for these positions if you’re doing so to make sure that everything runs smoothly and that all USBC Rules and regulations are applied fairly and evenly to all bowlers on all teams.
  • DON’T chair a Tournament Committee only because there is pay involved, or only because you wish to control certain aspect of the Tournament (Lane Assignment, Who bowls with who, or what lanes they bowl on, Oil Patterns or Oiling Schedule, etc.) DO chair this committee if you have the time, expertise, and organizational skills to run a successful event for all of the bowlers who choose to enter.
  • DON’T chair or become a member of your Association Board or of any committee simply because you wish to control outcomes with your own personal agenda or wage personal vendettas. DO become members of these very important committees because you wish to serve all bowlers in a fair and consistent manner and have the time to do so.
  • DON’T volunteer to do anything for which you do not have the skills or time to do. It does your fellow board or league members no good for you to volunteer your time to do a job and then not do it, only to have others have to pick up the slack at the last minute. This behavior is counterproductive and not in the best interest of the bowlers you wish to serve. DO volunteer as much as you can, without overextending yourself, your service is needed and greatly appreciated.

In Closing, I urge all bowlers who truly care about this sport to become involved. Go to League Meetings; go to Local and State Association Meetings. If you possibly can, run for office (League or Association) volunteer the time and the energy to keep our sport alive. Please do it and do it for the right reason, your local association needs more people to become involved.

Opinions expressed in this post are solely mine and may not reflect the opinions held by MSUSBC or any other Local Association. As always your comments and opinions are welcome and encouraged. Please post your responses and thank you for reading the Bowler 2 Bowler Blog. Good Luck and hopefully I will see all of you on the lanes or even better at your next Local or State Association Meeting.

League Prize Funds – By David Charron

I have bowled in Leagues for the last 30 Years in many different Associations in Numerous States. I have also prepared Prize Fund Proposals for a majority of the leagues I have bowled on. So I pose the question, what makes a good Prize Fund?

First, the rules pertaining to League Prize Funds. Prize Funds should be presented to the league as soon as possible USBC Rules mandate by week 5. Remember a Prize Fund must have the MAJORITY vote in order to be accepted. What this means is that if you have 16 Teams and you distribute 3 Prize Lists, in order to be accepted one must receive at least 9 Votes. Otherwise, you must drop the list(s) with the least votes and re-vote on the 2 Lists which received the most votes.

Now, you’re preparing a list, what should you include. Most leagues in Maine bowl a split season. Halves, Quarters, or even Thirds. For the sake of this discussion we are going to assume your league has 16 teams and bowls a split season in 2 halves. Your prize fund should pay every team based on standings each half. And then pay the top 2 or 4 teams in a roll-off at the end of the year. Additionally you should pay Team Awards for High Series Scratch, High Series Handicap, High Game Scratch, and High Game Handicap. The awards should be of equal value, and you should pay 2 place in each so that half of the teams in this league will get some Team Award Money. Also, you will pay Individual Awards for the same, High Series Scratch, High Series Handicap, High Game Scratch, and High Game Handicap. Again these awards should be of equal Value, except I would pay 3 Places in each, so that 12 different bowlers will get individual Award Money. There will also be awards for High Average 3 Places, and Most Improved 2-3 Places. Finally, let’s talk Point Money. For those of you who don’t know what Point Money is – it is an amount of money that each team will receive for each point it wins during the regular bowling season – not including Roll-Offs. The reason to include Point Money in your prize fund is for 2 very important reasons. First Point Money will give some of the bottom teams a little extra money which is more evenly distributed than your overall league prizes, because there will just not be as much disparity between first and last place monetarily where point money is concerned. For instance is point money is worth $1 per point, then the first place team may get $160 in point money and the last place team is going to get around $75 in point money as opposed to the $600 For first and $100 for last they are also going to get. The second reason is Point Money is easily adjusted to account for variation in Actual Prize Fund Dollars at the end of the year. As you know most leagues have 50/50, which provides a unknown amount to the prize fund, and therefore you could have a “budget Shortfall or Windfall” at the end of the year, which without point money leaves you with a problem of what to do. With Point Money you have a way to easily adjust the point money to the Actual Amount in the Prize Fund at the end of the year.

Let’s Assume your League has 16 Teams and a Prize Fund of $10,000. This is exactly what I would submit for a Prize Fund

Team Place Awards

First Half                          Second Half                         Roll-Offs

1st $ 500.00                  1st $ 500.00                      1st $ 500.00

2nd $ 300.00                2nd $ 300.00                    2nd $ 300.00

3rd $ 200.00                3rd $ 200.00                     3rd $ 200.00

4th $ 175.00                4th $ 175.00                       4th $ 100.00

5th $ 150.00                5th $ 150.00                      

6th $ 125.00                6th $ 125.00

7th $ 100.00               7th $ 100.00

8th $ 100.00               8th $ 100.00

9th $ 75.00                 9th $ 75.00

10th $ 75.00              10th $ 75.00

11th $ 50.00              11th $ 50.00

12th $ 50.00             12th $ 50.00

13th $ 50.00             13th $ 50.00

14th $ 50.00             14th $ 50.00

15th $ 50.00             15th $ 50.00

16th $ 50.00             16th $ 50.00

Team Awards

High Series Scratch – High Game Scratch – High Series Handicap – High Game Handicap

1st $ 150.00  2nd $ 100.00 

Individual Awards

High Series Scratch – High Game Scratch – High Series Handicap – High Game Handicap

1st $ 100.00  2nd $ 60.00  3rd $40.00

High Average

1st $ 125.00  2nd $ 75.00  3rd $50.00

Most Improved

1st $ 75.00  2nd $ 50.00  

Point Money Estimated Point Money $0.82 Approx Per Point $ 2,525.00

Actual Point Money Adjusted to Reflect Actual Total Prize Fund

Total Prize Fund $ 10,000.00  

I hope this post has been thought provoking, I am sure Some bowler would not vote for this prize fund and others would, but it is meant to be the start of topic conversation. Opinions expressed in this post are solely mine and may not reflect the opinions held by MSUSBC. As always your comments and opinions are welcome and encouraged. Please post your responses and thank you for reading the Bowler 2 Bowler Blog. Good luck and good bowling I hope everyone is having a great Start to the Fall League Season. I’m sure I will see you on the Lanes.

Bowling Shoes & Approaches – Understanding the Rules – By David Charron

Did you know that you are not allowed to apply any foreign substance to the bottom of your bowling shoes during competition? This includes but is not limited to Rosin, Baby Powder, Talcum Powder, Pumice, Ashes, Saliva, Water, Easy Slide (Yes the SHOE Product), Alcohol, Acetone, Simple Green, and Windex.

This is the excerpt from the USBC Rule book that establishes this.
Rule 12. Approaches Must Not Be Defaced

The application of any foreign substance on any part of the approach that detracts from the possibility of other players having normal conditions is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to talcum powder, pumice and resin on shoes, and/or soft rubber soles or heels that rub off on the approach.

Commonly Asked Questions – Rule 12

12-1   One of the bowlers is having a difficult time sliding on the approach and applies a commercial product purchased at the center pro shop to the bottom of his/her shoes. The product is designed to help a bowler slide. The secretary says she has received a complaint from the opposing team and notifies the individual to stop using the substance or the game will be forfeited. Can an officer tell a bowler to stop using the substance and declare the game forfeited?
Commercial products, talcum powder or any substance applied to the shoe or approach could be in violation of Rule 12. If a league participant uses a substance and somebody complains that it prohibits him/her from having normal conditions, the league officer should require the individual to immediately stop his/her action. If the individual refuses, his/her games are subject to forfeiture.

In a couple of my leagues we have had some issues with people not understanding the purpose or the meaning of this rule and how it is applied. There have also been instances during Tournaments when bowlers get on unfamiliar approaches that are either slipperier or tackier than what they are accustomed to.

First, let’s discuss the purpose of the rule. The purpose is simple, its safety and fairness to all of the bowlers who are bowling on that particular pair of Lanes. When you apply something to the bottom of your shoe or to the approach you are changing the approach conditions for everyone, and that is not only unfair, but could be a safety hazard as well. For instance let’s say you are putting water on the bottom of your shoe between shots because your sliding too much, you are carrying that moisture to the approach to the area which you are sliding, now that area is stickier then it previously was, the next bowler sticks and falls because of this. You have created an unfair condition for that bowler to have to deal with, not to mention the fact they could injure themselves by falling or pulling a muscle trying not to fall.

Now let’s talk about the rule and what is allowed and not allowed. Keep in mind the rule states “ANY” substance and the “POSSIBILITY” of other players having normal conditions. Having received clarity from the USBC Rules Department, I have learned a few things; the official Charged with rendering judgment (League President or Tournament Manager) has to decide if it is reasonable to think that the actions of the bowler are in violation of rule 12. In almost all instances this is simple, the bowler is applying a substance (Powder, Spit, Ashes, and/or Easy Slide) directly to the bottom on the shoe, and this is a clear violation of Rule 12. (I know someone is thinking the product Easy Slide is for shoes, actually it is a shoe product, but it is illegal to use on the bottom of your shoes during competition). Now there have been other instances where some on the following has happened. I will provide clarification of each instance.

  1.  A bowler puts a powder of some sort on his/her thumb, or on the fingers, or holds a rosin bag in the hands between frames, but before stepping on the approach wipes the bottom of the shoe with his/her palm to remove grit or sand. Prevalent in the winter months in Maine (USBC Says as long as the bowler takes reasonable steps to ensure the powder is not transferred to the shoe they are not in violation of rule 12, USBC would suggest wiping the hand before going to the shoe or using a clean towel to wipe the shoe instead of the hand.). Keep in mind many Bowlers use Rosin Bags, Hand Conditioner, Baby Powder, Etc on their hands for grip purposes, you simply must make reasonable steps to not transfer these substances to your shoes. As USBC suggests if you must wipe the bottom of your shoe, wipe the palm of your hand on your pants or a towel before wiping your shoes)
  2. The bowler has stepped in water and wants to apply something to the bottom of the shoe to counteract the water they stepped in. (Baby Powder, Ashes, Easy Slide, Etc) (USBC Says the bowler cannot apply anything to the bottom of the shoe which could then be transferred to the approach. You can apply these substances to try to fix the slide sole, however you must wipe all of it off before stepping on the approach.) If you must do this during your league of other competition make sure you notify a League or Tournament Official beforehand, this will alleviate any misunderstandings.
  3.  A bowler uses Sneakers or a shoe other than a bowling shoe on either or both feet. (USBC says as long as the foreign shoe does not leave any markings or residue on the approach then the bowler is not in violation of Rule 12, If the shoe does leave a mark or residue on the approach then the shoe(s) cannot be worn)
  4.  A bowler licks their hand and applies this moisture to the bottom of the sliding sole to lessen there slide on slippery approaches. (USBC says that this a clear violation of Rule 12) If you need to adjust the slide of your shoe and do not have the type of shoes that allow you to change the soles the only legal suggestion I can make would be to Brush the bottom of the shoe with a Coarse Wire Brush. The best I have found for this is a little silver colored Tire Brush at Sears. You can lessen the slide by Brushing the sole from front to back, or to lessen it even more brush the sole from side to side thus creating more friction between the sole and the approach.

I hope this information has been helpful and informative. As always your comments and opinions are welcome and encouraged. Please post your responses and thank you for reading the Bowler 2 Bowler Blog. Good luck and good bowling hope to see all of you at the State Open Tournament in Brunswick.