ANNUAL Resurfacing Requirement Produces Results Beneficial to Operator and Bowler
Protects Investment of the Operator While Providing Uniformly Better Alleys for His Bowlers and Reacts Generally in Favor of the Game
By E.H. BAUMGARTEN
TO OPEN THE BOWLING SEASON on newly resurfaced alleys should produce a feeling of pride enjoyed by both alley proprietors and the members of leagues bowling on those drives. The operator is the man who has invested his money in costly equipment, which he takes just pride in keeping up to as nearly the original condition as humanly possible. He knows that a little carelessness here and there, a little neglect such as we are all guilty of at times, is the starting wedge for a rapid and costly deterioration. He also knows that he is doing the wise thing by observing the annual resurfacing rule prescribed by the A.B.C., because by doing so his bowlers spread the word around that his alleys are always the same; present a uniform condition throughout the bowling season.
This also means that the operator sees the logic of checking up on his alleys at regular intervals after they are resurfaced, for the two-fold purpose of protecting his alleys while keeping them uniform for his bowlers. Many an operator of the old school, in days past, will confirm this from experience costing as high as $50 an alley, when his drives were allowed to "go too far"; and in the resultant serious loss of business which even perhaps led to the entrance of a live-wire competitor into the field.
How often have you heard it said, "This is where we bowl," when a league bowler is showing an out-of-town friend through the plant where his loop functions? You have heard such remarks, uttered with pride, in those establishments which accept the resurfacing of their drives each year as a matter of good business procedure, for they are the places which also take pride in seeing that other conditions surrounding the business are up to a like standard. That is why the bowler is proud to take his friends in and show them around the place where he bowls; why he is glad to number the proprietor as a friend and recommend his place of business to others.
Why does the typical bowler assume this attitude? Because, no matter how much he may "crab" after a poor series, he can leave the establishment knowing that he cannot alibi because of poor alleys or inferior wood; that if he hits a swell series, he knows that he was "right” and that soft alleys and round-bottomed pins played no part in it. This is just the condition which the resurfacing rule tends to promote.
The American Bowling Congress is not "on" the alley operator. Its purpose is to produce the best possible conditions for the bowler and for his game, and in so doing the operator is bound to profit.
Let me quote from a letter received from a Nebraska alley operator: "I cannot conceive how anyone would want to soften up his alleys, because we all offer prizes for perfect scores and, furthermore, I paid too much for my alleys to have them ruined by permitting hollows to form in their surfaces."
That old trick of "softening up" or allowing grooves to form to "shape" the ball into the pocket, so the boys would hold a higher average than on alleys of a competitor, belongs to the "pin-head" age long since past. A few dumb bowlers may fall for it, but bowling is attracting entirely too many thousands who "use their heads," for the few unscrupulous operators to put this trick over.
Let the bowler bowl on this type of alleys, then watch him perform in a tournament conducted on alleys which are really kept in condition; or after he has whooped up an average of around the 200 mark, watch him in an A. B. C. tournament, where the alleys are new, perfectly flat and kept in perfect shape, just as they should be. Any enlightened bowler or operator will tell you what happens, should the reader be a novice at the game.
Simply this: these bowlers have not been encouraged to develop skill, but have simply been duped into believing they had developed it - that they were real bowlers.
As a matter of fact their high scoring had been produced by illegitimate aids and devices for which a man should hang (and does as the truth leaks out) for permitting to exist in his bowling plant. There is less and less of this cheap cheating from season to season, "for bowlers are wiser than the crooked operator knows.”
Back a few years ago, when this trickery of softening or grooving was more general, it was just that type of dishonesty which led to such rules as the annual resurfacing stipulation in Congress law. It tends to favor the honest business-man operator by discouraging unfair competition and by encouraging him to preserve his investment and create a priceless reputation among his patrons.
This particular rule has perhaps done more than any single rule toward popularizing the game, because it means more toward creating uniform alley surfaces than any other.
True enough, the "cheap screw" can get around it, but he carries his own business-strangling noose around his neck. He gets around it by complying with the rule, then gradually lets his alleys "groove in." There are very few of them who are this shortsighted. Those that the depression spared are being speared by a popular feeling of indignation held toward them by more and more bowlers who are wise to the injustice which such unfair means produce.
Bowlers do not want unfair aids toward increasing their averages. What they want are uniform alley surfaces throughout the country, so that where ever they may be the same conditions will prevail without being compelled to change style too radically as they try different alleys.
The idea back of the founding of the A.B.C. was to produce uniform conditions surrounding the game in order that all elements within it might profit therefrom. The fact that bowling popularity has grown to the extent that it has, is conclusive proof that the bowling public places its faith in the A.B.C. ideal.
The A.B.C. Bulletin 1937