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Bowling: League bowlers facing cutbacks in USBC awards

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Updated: January 10, 2014 6:17AM

A ring for every finger no longer will be the ultimate goal for league bowlers starting in August.

The United States Bowling Congress announced earlier this year that a ring for a 300 game will be awarded to USBC members on a once-in-a-lifetime basis.

Previously, bowlers were awarded a 300 ring on a one per-year basis.

The decree will be retroactive to sanctioned bowlers who already received a 300 ring during their careers.

Rings for 800 and 900 series also will be reduced to once-in-a-liftime status. The crystal award for 11 strikes in a row will be eliminated. Also, according to Keith Korinek, the local association manager for the Chicagoland USBC, trinkets such as magnets and keychains for triplicate games, picking up a 7-10 split or throwing a Dutch 200 will be discontinued on the national level.

The decision to reduce awards, Korinek said, was as much a result of skyrocketing numbers as it was saving on costs.

“Bowling years ago, when you go back to the 1960s and ’70s, in the Chicago area we used to have maybe a dozen 300 games shot in an entire season,” Korinek said. “That was when we had maybe 150 to 200 bowling centers.

“Now we’ve got 47 bowling centers and we had over 600 (perfect) games last year.”

In the past week, 10 perfect games were thrown at seven different Southland bowling centers.

A basic 300 ring is worth $75.

Brian Vesely, the manager at Thunder Bowl in Mokena, is having a hard time explaining to his league bowlers what they can expect for their annual $20 USBC sanctioning fee.

“It’s unbelievable how they’re cutting everything out,” Vesely said. “More and more, most of the leagues are almost diminishing or going non-sanctioned. What’s the sense?

“Say you get a league of 10 teams, with four to a team, and none of them is going to throw a 300 or 299. You’ve got 40 bowlers paying $20 a head, giving (the USBC) $800, and not one award is going to come out of it. I just don’t understand it. I think they’re hurting the league sport of bowling.”

According to Korinek, the Chicagoland USBC is seeking a solution.

“We (the Chicagoland USBC) just sent out a survey to about 10,000 bowlers to kind of get some feedback from them to see what they would like to have (awards-wise) from a local level,” Korinek said. “We’re working to have a local awards program of some type.”

Above and beyond

Mike Duran, of Oak Lawn, went to Arena Lanes the night before Thanksgiving to bowl in his Midway Sportsmen league. He was carrying a 197 average.

He left with a much bigger number.

The 31-year-old left that in the dust, with games of 259, 269 and 268 for a 796 series — a whopping 205 pins over average.

“I was just throwing the ball within the zone, concentrating on my shot,” Duran said. “I was releasing the ball really good that night.”

Duran, who also bowls on Saturday nights at Town Hall Bowl in Cicero, has one 300 game in his career. An 800 would have been a first.

“My teammates were aware of what I was going for but they didn’t bring it up to me,” Duran said. “I was just concentrating on my game.”

Duran needed two strikes in the 10th frame of his final game. He got the first, but left a 10 pin on the second shot.

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