A change is coming to the Tiffin Bowling Associations next season

As I looked around the room, familiar faces came into view. The Wizard was there, of course, as he would be presiding over the meeting. Kizzy was present with his handouts to show the treasurer’s activity. He would abstain from voting on approving his own work.

“Dad” was on hand as he always has been for so many years. His sage advice is always welcomed. A few others completed this landmark meeting of the Tiffin Men’s Bowling Association to discuss the main topic — the 88th annual City Bowling Tournament.

There was the usual laughter and snide comments, but there was also a little melancholy in the air. We all knew that this would be the last time this group would meet to plan the weekly affair which takes place in February. You see, change is coming and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

The United States Bowling Congress has mandated that each city will have just one bowling association and it will include both male and female bowlers. No longer will there be a separate association for women and men. They may well hold separate tournaments in the future, but beginning in 2018-19 only a Tiffin Bowling Association will be recognized.

Let me be the first to say that this is not necessarily a bad thing. The number of USBC members as well as leagues has declined drastically in recent years. The amount of dues money sent to the national organization has dropped correspondingly and to save money — and perhaps to be current and practical — separate associations will no longer exist.

So what are the differences between men’s and women’s bowling? The lane is the same length, the oil patterns are the same and of course both genders shoot at the same pins. Shoe choices and ball weights have always been an individual choice.

Some wags may suggest that men are better bowlers than women, but I wouldn’t go there. I have bowled against several women in my career and have been soundly thrashed many times. Leann, stop chuckling!

After watching many versions of the city tournaments, I have come to the conclusion that there are two basic differences between the men and women. One is the way handicap is determined and the other is the playing cards used for the poker games.

How much handicap to give a bowler with a lower average has always been a hot debate topic. Most leagues use 80 or 90 percent. It seems to me that using 100 percent would make the most sense, though some studies have shown that to be truly fair it should exceed 100 percent. The theory is that a 200-average bowler has a better chance of shooting 300 than a 100-average bowler does of rolling a 200 game. That debate will continue.

Many leagues are coed today, but that is not new. My parents bowled in a mixed doubles league 60 years ago and had a blast. What will be new is the unisex association.

Change is inevitable and I think this change should be embraced. Many of the officers of both our local associations have been serving for 20 or 30 years or longer. They would welcome some younger participants. So if you have any interest in helping to make decisions about this great game, volunteer to be an officer.

As for the playing cards, I have one word of advice … BICYCLE!!!!!!!!!!!

Imperial-Majorette-Sportsman: Rich Yates Sr. 680, Bill Fleming 678, Ben Hoyda 615, Deb Nominee 418, Mary Ruggiero 368 and Phyllis Riley 368.

Lady Knights: Marilyn Gangluff 476 and Carol Burmeister 431.

Allen Eiry: Bob Reinhart 334, Jeannette Lynch 311, Dave Everhart 307, Harry Smith 306, Larry Cobb 289, Jim Donaldson 286, Robin Brownell 277, Joanne Elchert 261, Betty Sendelbach 250 and Paul Fey 250.

Alley Cats: Wendy Krupp 550, Kathy Echelberry 536, Monica Musgrave 523, Jan Houk 491 and Crystal Butler 490.

Senior League: Doug Snyder 638, Ken Ritzler 607, Scott Kromer 599, Tim Gassner 564, Bennett Paulus 507 and Mike Cool 500.

Rocket: Tom Tiell 656, Pat McCarthy 637, Shawn Coppus 608, Rodney Ohms 594 and Jon Distel 590.

55 Plus: Mike Kimmet 582, Bob Cleveland 552, Paul Gosche 523, Dick Gabel 520, Jim Ruess 502, Jim Donaldson 490, Bob Reinhart 450, Jim Ferstler 447, Jerry Coleman 439, Dave Everhart 436 and Paul Fey 386.

Al Stephenson is The A-T’s bowling columnist.

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