New Name, New Direction for Global Bowling Group

by Bob Johnson 0

World Bowling has announced a name change to the International Bowling Federation, and issued a lengthy open letter outlining its plans for the future.

“As the governing body, World Bowling has been an associate member of its own organization instead of acting as the international bowling federation,” wrote Chief Executive Officer Andrew Oram. “This is about to change.”

Oram pointed to bowling’s numerous failed efforts to gain Olympic Games inclusion as an impetus for rethinking the role of the global federation.

He said those failings “never brought about the necessary soul searching and deep dive into why the sport was rejected. It was never concluded that maybe we were doing this all wrong, only that rejection was the fault of someone else.”

Oram added the going forward, the International Bowling Federation would pay closer attention to the men and women who own bowling’s playing fields: the proprietors.

“It is not surprising that some bowling center operators did little or nothing to encourage competitive play in their centers or would listen to suggestions from an organization perceived to be ineffective, even though it could enhance their business,” he noted.

“We rely totally on those that invest in the appropriate infrastructure for the practice of bowling. We must listen, engage, embrace and support them, and make everyone part of the journey. Rules and regulations must complement the foundation of the sport to allow proprietors, globally, to drive an increase in participation and [foot traffic] through their centers.”

Oram said that he applauded national federations that have embraced and approved string pinsetting machines for sport bowling, and will provide a platform for proprietors that use string machines to showcase their centers globally. More proprietors are considering string machines because they require less maintenance and require less energy to operate.

“Now is not the time to sit back and hope things will get better,” Oram added. “Now it is time for a rebirth that leverages the key learnings from the past in forming a new history.”

To read the full text of Oram’s open letter, click here:

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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