Coefficient of Friction

The Bowling Side of Things

by Jackie Wyckoff

Lanemasters/Legends/Lord Field Staff

Welcome to my blog. This will be purely an op-ed blog. An op-ed, abbreviated from opposite the editorial page (though often mistaken for opinion-editorial), is an article or a blog that purely expresses the personal opinions and viewpoints of the writer.

I hope to offer my opinions and observations, for what they are worth, on all the hot bowling topics, including those trending on social media, about all things bowling or #thebowlingsideofthings! Ideally I hope to educate and get you thinking about the industry in a good way. Too often we complain about our sport and business. Instead let’s celebrate it and offer up constructive opinions.

Coefficient of Friction. Yes, it is a bowling term* but let me explain the name as it relates to this blog. According to my Funk and Wagnals:

Coefficient Friction

co·ef·fi·cient fric·tion

kōəˈfiSHənt frikSHən

noun noun

Cooperating to Conflict or animosity caused

produce a result. by a clash of wills.

Conflict and cooperation are truly the buzz-words for our modern-day sport. We need cooperation to further the growth and progress of the sport however; the varied integers, USBC, BPAA, equipment manufacturers, etc., often have conflicting interests. It is a fine balance.

What’s your take? Is it good or bad to have the NGB (National Governing Body), or USBC, housed in the same building as those who own the playing field, proprietors or BPAA (Bowling Proprietors Association of America)? While the interests of the two groups are often at odds, the new era of cooperation between the groups can’t be bad. Or can it?

In June of 1986 the BPAA passed what was known as the “limited distance dressing procedure” in order to increase scoring in their centers with the idea that participation in organized events such as leagues and tournaments would also increase; thereby increasing lineage and profits. If the NGB did not go along, the proprietors would not sanction leagues.

Eventually, the NGB (American Bowling Congress at the time), caved. Pundits believe this was the start of the downfall, or rather explosion, of the scoring revolution. Legendary bowling writer, Dick Evans wrote in a June 10, 1986 editorial in the Chicago Tribune “…it does not take much common sense to know that the BPAA`s drastic resolutions could be the greatest threat to the ABC`s control over lane-dressing codes since 1900 when ABC officials first started to inspect lanes and certify only those meeting ABC specifications.” Truer words were never spoken. This was the defining moment when the NGB gave over the reins to making the rules. Certainly, as we now know, to the detriment of the “sport”.

Did you really think controversy over high scoring conditions was something new? High scores = more bowlers = higher revenue for the owners of the playing field. High scores = an industry out of touch with itself for the NGB. Joe Housebowler who is averaging 238 honestly believes he can compete with the likes of Pete Weber and Chris Barnes who win TV matches with games in the 220’s.

Can we fix this? I think we are moving into an era when we all want and need to find a solution. If you were elected to be the new “Bowling Tsar”, what would you do to fix the scoring issues? My recommendation is to have a rating system for lane dressing similar to the slope/course rating in golf. This may be a decade in the making but I am optimistic it will happen.

So, welcome to my blog. I hope I have given you food for thought and would be interested in hearing your take on this subject. If you want to respond; have a topic you want to see highlighted; or just want to get more information about something you have seen or heard around the settee, send me a message on Facebook.

-Jackie Wyckoff

Lanemasters/Legends/Lord Field Staff

* Coefficient of friction, COF -

The ratio of the force opposing the relative motion of two surfaces and the normal force acting perpendicular to opposing force. In bowling, this term usually defines the interaction between the coverstock, lane conditioner and lane.