Monday, May 16, 2011

Bowling Quote of the Day--Tom Clark Addresses Criticisms of the PBA

"If you knew the challenges of our stretched staff to set ‘em up for the world’s greatest players while still recovering from the economic recession, and the challenges the players faced with relatively limited opportunities, you’d think it was a super year with much to build on. But of course if you read this message board with the daily doom and gloom, you’d think the PBA is desperately trying to go out of business and can’t produce a moment of thrilling sports. Believe me, there is a wide majority of people outside of the bowling world that are becoming tougher and tougher to reach and any failure to do so is not because of Rob Stone or me or Mike J. Laneside or Dick Allen or most of the other targets on this board. Bowling’s perception issues long pre-date “hambones” and those listed above and everyone involved with the PBA are in the game, busting it every day in their own ways to gain relevance and respect because we love the PBA, bowling and will do anything to make it reach its greatest potential."
--Tom Clark, PBA COO and VP addressing criticisms of the PBA in


  1. Great quote. I agree. People are too hard on the PBA. Sure, I publicly chastised the vuvuzelas, for example, but I respected the willingness to try something (I just wish it wasn't that). Back in the "glory days" of bowling, there were not many other options on TV. Bowling was the most exciting thing on. But now, with hundreds or thousands of channels, DVRs, video games and whatever else, bowling is rarely, if ever, the most exciting thing on TV to the general public. The PBA has work to do, yes, but the true bowling fans should respect the people who work in and for the PBA are doing their best to advance the sport.

    I think it's fine to question the methods and ideas of those in power, as those are subjective, but to question their desire and passion is unfair.

  2. Jef, I agree with you and Tom. People ARE "too hard" on the PBA. They're struggling desperately to stay afloat, and armchair critics, myself included, lambaste them because they aren't sticking to the same routines that helped to put them where they are in today's faster-paced world of countless alternatives and distractions.

    I'll be saying more about Mr. Clark's recent comments in a series of upcoming blogposts.

  3. In response to Mr. Clark's mention of "a wide majority of people outside of the bowling world" I would suggest that it's imperative to satisfy your core support group, first, second, and third, before worrying about people that aren't all that interested in bowling to begin with.

    But, IMO, the most important comment that he made, concerned the plastic ball tournaments and ball reform. He said "So for the PBA to hold a national, televised Tour event that allows just one uniform bowling ball stripped of modern high technology in play and touts it as a true test of player skill it is playing a significant role in any potential ball “reform.”"

    My response to that was, if the PBA believes that plastic ball tournaments are the true test of player skill, then all future PBA contests should be restricted to that format.

    Anything else is simply less than the best they have to offer.

  4. Kerry, I have the impression that he would privately agree with you, but that he publicly has to mince words because he knows that without sponsorship by the ball companies that thrive on developing and pushing modern ball technology, the PBA would be gone in a heartbeat.

  5. Mr. Clark answered the question about ball companies controlling the PBA, stating "they exercise no “control” over the PBA".

    He is certainly implying that the PBA can do what it believes necessary, even if it wasn't beneficial to the ball companies.

    Now, one can speculate as to his honesty and integrity and whether or not he really meant what he said. Personally, I take the statement at face value. I sincerely hope that he will lead the PBA into a new era, banning the nonsense balls and oil patterns. Actions speak much louder than words, though, so time will tell.

    It is certain that the ball companies comprise a significant portion of the sponsors, but I am not at all certain that they would pull out or that the PBA would fold, if they did.

  6. Kerry, all I can say is that if the PBA didn't let the players use fancy balls in their tournaments, what incentive would ball companies have to sponsor the PBA? What would they be advertising on PBA telecasts? The new Mission 250K that the pros couldn't even use in competition? I suppose they could advertise their newest pancake block polyester coverstock ball that comes in a new shade of pink, but I'm not sure they'd be too excited about doing that.

  7. A lot of people seem to believe that the PBA and organized competition of significance are doomed, if they don't take measures to stop the decline of the sport. Ball and oil pattern reform are thought to be key to the survival of the sport.

    Lacking a better option, I agree with that. I know that I've purchased my last steroid, planned obsolescence, bowling ball. I also know that I will not join a league or participate in any competition that doesn't have those reforms.

    I'll be a recreational bowler only. Maybe that's the future anyway. I suspect that the ball companies would be even less excited about that, than they would be about a healthy sport with ball reform.