In the Pocket: A few interesting tournament ideas

Brainstorming a few interesting local bowling tournament ideas

If I was commissioner of the Capital Region bowling commun­ity, there are a variety of topics that would get my special attention.

As commissioner, I would take other people’s ideas and make them my own. If they work out, I would accept the glory. If not, I would blame someone else.

Sounds like a lot of leaders you know, doesn’t it?

One of the ideas pitched my way came from Gazette sports staffer Mark Landolfo, who helps out with the bowling scores.

He calls it a “Proprietors’ Challenge.” Basically, all of the Capital Region proprietors who bowl, or their general managers, would be eligible. Each competitor would put in, let’s say, a $100 entry fee. A sponsor, somebody lke Huck Finn’s Warehouse, which does such a fab­ulous job supporting the Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York’s “Capital Region Bowling Show,” would also chip in some money.

The proprietors/general managers would then bowl three games, with the top four or five advancing to the stepladder finals. Besides the honor of being the area’s best proprietor, the winner would get to decide which charity would receive the proceeds.

One of the reasons I like this idea so much is that so many of our prop­rietors are outstanding bowlers in their own right. They don’t often compete in Huck Finn or Northern Bowlers Association events because they feel it’s a conflict of interest, especially if the event is hosted at their bowling center.

People like Mike Scaccia (Boul­evard), Jack Scaccia Jr. (Town ‘n Country), Joe Scaccia (Alpha), Mike Guidarelli, Bob Tedesco Jr. and Paul Adkins (Sportsman’s), Marty Cap­ullo Jr. (Towne Bowling Academy), Dave Barna (Burnt Hills Lanes and Ballston Spa Lanes), Dick Peckham (Rolling Greens), Tom Walsh Jr. (Uncle Sam Lanes), Sonny Dorstek (Green Island), Mike Bixler (Spare Time Latham), Artie Hoffman Jr. (Hi-Way Recreation), Steve Smith (Hometown Lanes), Karl Wolf (Hi-Roc), Chris Kelly (Imperial), Jeff Voght (Canajoharie Lanes), Neil Luther (Playdium), Bill Cornell (Del Lanes), Bill Wray (Polish Community Center), Ralph Deso (Redwood) and George Hoffman (Sunset Recreation) are excellent bowlers who just don’t have the time or the inclination to compete much any more.

It would be very interesting to see how these guys would do against each other — and for a good cause. I would love to hear if there are others — especially the proprietors themselves, who like this idea.

Another idea I like came from Tom Donato, who would love to see a Tournament of Champions for the Huck Finn.

There already is a championship event in place for that organ­ization, the Jack Scaccia Mem­orial, but you still must qualify for that tourn­ament, just as you do for any other Huck Finn event. A tournament of champions would include every player who has won a Huck Finn event.

It would be great to see all the winners square off, head-to-head, with the four semifinalists on tel­evision.

Speaking of televised events, Northern Bowlers Association tournament director Karl Bieber suggests the possibility of having a special NBA tournament where the winner would get a spot on tel­evision. It would be quite a perk, and could tie the NBA and Huck Finn together in a better working relationship.

Also on my agenda as the commish would be to bring back something like the old Amateur Bowlers Tour. Although the Huck Finn and NBA are fantastic for the scratch bowlers, handicap bowlers have few options these days, except for the couple of handicap tourn­aments on the Huck Finn schedule. There is a tremendous gap between the scratch bowlers of today, who average between 200 and close to 250, and the handicap bowlers, who could average anywhere between 150 and 200.

All bowlers could compete in the old ABT, and I feel there is still a need for a tournament program that includes the handicap bowlers.

As commissioner, I wouldn’t forget about the many lane condition controversies that crop up with our scratch tournament events. Schenectady League secretary Cliff Ruth mentioned to me the other day that he would like to see more in-season sport-condition leagues, but I would go one step further and suggest that scratch tournaments like the Huck Finn and the NBA events simply use several of the PBA lane conditions. Not all of the five major conditions the pros use would be suitable for our local bowlers, but if we took, let’s say, three of the conditions that produce moderate yet consistent scoring, there would be fewer complaints.

But let’s face it. Bowlers love to complain. As commissioner, I would also put more penalties in place for the bowlers whose complaints go over the top.

And lastly, as the new tenpin czar, I would apppoint someone to finally teach me to bowl better. My game is not worthy of discussion in this space.


Talk about bowling for a lifetime. Clarence Oarr, who is coming up on his 85th birthday, recently bowled a 269-762 triple at Imperial Lanes in Amsterdam.

Oarr is no stranger to high scores, even at his age. He carries a solid 198 average. His high triple was in the 780 range, and he has a 290 high single.

“I’ve had so many 279 games that I don’t keep track any more,” said Oarr, a former Amsterdam guidance counselor who continues to bowl twice a week.

“My high average was 210, and I had that average up until about five years ago. I had to switch to modern equipment, just like everybody else, but when I started bowling in the 1930s for the Amsterdam High School team, I used a hard rubber ball with a two-finger grip. Boy, how things have changed.”

Oarr said he refuses to invest in too much equipment, even though he knows there are days when the ball he has now, a Triumph, isn’t right for the lane conditions.

“I do have an old rubber ball for spares, but I won’t go out and buy another ball besides the one I’ve got,” he said. “One week, I’m in the pocket all the time and I shoot 700. The next week, I miss the pocket only four times, and I leave a bunch of 10-pins. All I needed was a more aggressive ball, and I knew it, but I’m not going to keep buying balls all the time.”

Oarr, also an excellent golfer, is a multiple New York State Senior Olympics champion in both bowling and golf. He carries an 18 hand­icap at a golf course in Herkimer.

“My bowling average is down a little this year, but I don’t think you should use age as an excuse,” said Oarr, whose only concession to age is using a 14-pound ball. “When people congratulated me on my scores, I told them, ‘What’s the big deal?’ With the equipment today, if you’re still in shape, you can still put up some good scores.”


u The next qualifers for the Huck Finn/NBPNY “Capital

Region Bowling Show” will be Saturday at Play­dium at 1 and 3 p.m. and Sunday at Uncle Sam Lanes, at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Top prize, as usual, is $1,000 guaranted. The TV taping will be Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. at Middleburgh Lanes, and that show will air Feb. 17 at 11 a.m. on WXXA Fox 23. Call Jeff Segel at 371-1444 for reservations or more information.

u Tammy Sader fired a 708 to win the Capital District 600 tourn­ament recently at Sportsman’s Bowl. Low to cash in Class A was 658. In Class B, Ashley Ryan won with a 650, and low to cash was 604. Dottie Hesler fired a 511 to win Class C, where the low to cash was 492. Lucille Daignault won Class D with a 490.

u Qualifying begins Feb. 23 at Uncle Sam Lanes and will continue through March 16 for the sixth annual Joe Donato Scratch Singles tournament. First place will be $4,000 guaranteed. Entry fee is $40. Lee Aiezza is the defending champion. For more information, contact Tom Donato or Sportsman’s Bowl (355-4330), where the finals will be held March 16.

u Sportsman’s Bowl’s Tavern Tournament will be held Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. Entry fee for the five-person teams is $100. One in six teams will cash, with first place worth $500, based on 28 teams.

u Del Lanes will sponsor a Bar/Restaurant Tournament on

April 5, 12, 19, 26 and May 3. The first four squads will begin at 2 p.m., while the final squad will begin at 8:30 p.m. Top prize for the five-person team event is $1,500, based on 90 teams. Entry fee is $115 per team. Call Del Lanes at 439-2224 for more information.

u For the first time in nearly a decade, bowling will return to network television when Bowling’s Clash of Champions, a United States Bowling Congress event, airs on CBS Sports in May. The special made-for-television event will take place May 7-8 at the USBC Convention in Kansas City, Mo., and will feature 16 champions from USBC events, as well as the U.S. Open.

The “Clash” will be taped, and is scheduled for broadcast on CBS Sports on Saturday, May 10. from 5-6 p.m. and Sunday, May 11 from

4-5 p.m. The event will mark the first time bowling has been broadcast on network television since June 26, 1999, when the Professional Bowlers Association’s ACDelco All-Star Classic aired on CBS Sports.

The men’s field will showcase USBC Masters champion Sean Rash, U.S. Open winner Pete

Weber, USBC Open Championships regular all-events titlist Mike Rose Jr., USBC Senior Masters winner Tom Baker, U.S. Amateur champion David O’Sullivan, U.S. Junior Amateur champion Adam Martinez, USBC Youth Open all-events titlist Jason Price and USBC Intercollegiate Singles Championships winner Tim Pfeifer.

Competing in the women’s field is USBC Queens champion Kelly Kulick, U.S. Women’s Open winner Liz Johnson, USBC Women’s Championships classic all-events titlist Wendy Macpherson, USBC Senior Queens winner Lucy Sandelin, U.S. Amateur champion Lynda Barnes, U.S. Junior Am­ateur champion Jenny Brown, USBC Youth Open all-events titlist Brittni Hamilton and USBC Intercollegiate Singles Championships winner Elysia Current.

u The USBC has announced that it has extended the entry deadline for the 2008 USBC Women’s Championships to March 21. The tourn­ament will be run April 10-July 6 at Super Bowl in Canton, Mich. Approximately l40,000 bowlers will visit the Detroit area to compete in the world’s largest partic­ipatory sport for women. Bowlers will compete in five-player team, doubles and singles events. Open to all women who hold USBC adult membership, the Women’s Championships consists of five average divisions to accommodate bowlers of all abilities. For more infor­mation, visit

u The Albany USBC Assoc­iation’s Good Sport Trio Tourn­ament continues Sunday at 1 p.m. at Olympic Lanes in Menands. First place is $1,500, based on 50 three-person teams. Entry fee is $57 per team. Other shifts available are

Jan. 30 at 9 p.m. and Feb. 3 at 1 p.m. Call Olympic Lanes at 465-3505 for more information.

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