Get outta my lane!
By Wade Denniston
The 75th annual Utah State Bowling Association Tournament began on March 6 at Olympus Hills Lanes in Salt Lake City and will run every weekend until April 11.
What used to be a tournament for men only is now open to women, something which displeases some Utah bowlers.
"I just don't think it's right," said 22-year-old Chad Holland. "When you go to a tournament you don't want to get beat by a lady."
The American Bowling Congress' (ABC) delegate action on March 18, 1994 amended the bowling constitution to allow women to become members, said Chris Cooper, team leader of rules/bonding at ABC.
"The change was a result of at least two-thirds vote of over 1,300 delegates," he said. "Although I cannot speak for 1,300 plus individuals that voted for their own reasons, I believe 'equal rights for all' played a big part in the decision."
Victor Baugh, who sponsors the Baugh Plumbing team on Thursday's Merchants League, thinks the change hurts women more than it helps.
"I think it's reverse discrimination," he said. "It should work both ways. "How can they demand equality when they impose restrictions on men?"
Men are restricted from bowling in tournaments sanctioned just for women by the Women's International Bowling Congress.
"WIBC currently has a provision in their bylaws that limits membership to females," Cooper said. "Until that is changed by delegate action, the restriction will remain."
Logan Bowling Association Secretary Danny Nielsen has his own opinion of why ABC changed its rules.
"They were afraid of lawsuits," he said. "I think they decided to change before anything happened."
When asked what his feelings were about the rule change, Nielsen was very displeased.
"[Women] have got their own [tournaments]. Golf hasn't done it; there is only one NFL, one [major league] baseball," he said.
Holland agreed. "We can't bowl in their tournaments, so why should they be able to bowl in ours?"
Z.B. Crockett, who has been bowling for 30 years and is secretary of the Logan Women's Bowling Association, would like to see the men and women stay separate.
"I'm one of those old-timers; a conservative," she said. "I'd just rather (tournaments) stay separate, but mixed leagues are fine."
Michael Croshaw, a member of the Baugh Plumbing team, agreed.
"They [ABC] should create a specifically mixed city, state and national tournament and leave associations to their own," he said. "Men should have men's and women should have women's [tournaments]."
Logan Lanes currently has two mixed leagues, the Friday Nite Goodtimers and the Sunday Holy Rollers.
On the other hand, some bowlers just don't care one way or the other.
"It's up to them. I don't particularly have a problem with it," said Steve Tryon, who began his bowling career in Dover, Del. in 1963. "It's the men making it so [women] can't bowl with the men."
Dixie Oakden was the first woman bowler at Logan Lanes to cross the gender line when she bowled with her husband, Gary, during the Tuesday Commercial League.
"I thoroughly enjoyed it," Oakden said. "I had a ball."
Oakden says she lasted just one night in the men's league. She was told at the end of her bowling that some of the teams were going to quit and walk out if she continued to bowl. Oakden said she decided it wasn't worth it.
In other words, the league voted Oakden out so she had no choice but to quit.
"If the league had a past practice or league rule not allowing women to participate it could uphold that rule and prohibit women from participating. If the league did not have a rule or a past practice of not allowing women to bowl, it could adopt such a rule with the written consent of every team captain during the season."
In any case, men and women will be descending upon Olympus Hills Lanes
for the six weekends for the state tournament. They all hope to take
home a part of the nearly $35,000 prize fund.
Archived Months:September 1998