COVID-19 Forces Cancellation of Military Championships

by Bob Johnson 0

Yet another major bowling tournament has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its lingering effects on travel and business capacity.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Brad Edelman, President of High Roller Inc., said, “I am extremely saddened and frustrated to announce that we are cancelling the 2020 August Military Team Classic… This painful decision didn’t come without hours and hours and days and days of analyzing, investigating, and soul searching before coming to our very regrettable decision.”

Edelman said that decision was based on these criteria:

* Dealing with a worst-case scenario of contestants coming from around the country, visiting many local attractions in Las Vegas, testing positive for COVID-19 when they return home, and then having the South Point Bowling Plaza running the risk of being closed by local officials.

* South Point management doubts the tournament would receive approval from the state to use all available lanes.

* Hundreds of teams had already cancelled. Many more were expected.

* Hundreds of individuals also had cancelled, leaving their teams incomplete.

* Hundreds of other contestants were waiting to see what direction the pandemic takes. Many said they would not decide until the first week of August. (Contestants, staff, the host venue and sponsors would need more notice about cancelling than that time frame would allow.)

* The negative prospect of the future of COVID-19 for Las Vegas and the country, as reported by health organizations nationwide.

* An increase of COVID-19 positive cases, as reported by many states (some setting new records).

* An increase in the number of states implementing enhanced face-covering regulations.

* Financial and unemployment statistics nationwide, as many of the cancellations were due to financial reasons.

* Only contestants would be allowed in the Plaza — no spectators. One squad would have to vacate the Plaza before the next could begin.

“An important personal factor is knowing that the tournament environment would not be as casual and friendly as we experience each year,” Edelman said. “We would be dealing with security guards constantly moving crowds, and long lines as social distancing would be enforced. Contestants would be shown where and when they could be present. Although security would just be doing their job, that is not the environment we want for our event.”

Added Edelman: “Everyone has an opinion on these sensitive topics, but this is what has led us to the decision.”

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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