PBA regional animal pattern tournaments appear to be having the desired effect. As reported by Bill Vint at PBA.com, the PBA's experimental program in which the animal pattern championships were applied to each of the association's seven regional conferences has already produced tangible results.
As Vint stated in his article, the PBA instituted the animal pattern tournaments to the World Series of Bowling in 2008 to more clearly illustrate and identify the variety of oil patterns that competitors faced on the circuit. There were five different tournaments within the animal pattern scheme, including Cheetah, Viper, Scorpion, Chameleon and Shark. Each of these featured a different oil pattern, requiring bowlers to adjust both technically and strategically from one tournament to the next.
After witnessing the positive results of these tournaments, PBA officials decided in 2012 to apply the animal pattern scheme to the regional level (excluding the Shark pattern, which may be applied at a later date). The purpose for this measure was two-fold: to generate more interest on the regional level and to help newer competitors become familiar with the patterns they will once progressing to the World Series of Bowling.
According to PBA officials, the plan has already shown favorable results. So far, these regional animal pattern tournaments have provided 35 new paid entries into the World Series of Bowling and produced a nine-percent increase in overall regional tournament participation.
As a fan, I consider this to be extremely promising news. The sport of bowling, although certainly still alive, does not hold the level of sway it once enjoyed - especially among younger participants. There are a number of exceptions, such as 14-year-old Kamron Doyle of Brentwood, Tennessee, but the fact remains that the sport of bowling could use a bit of rejuvenation.
I hope measures such as the regional animal pattern program will provide such rejuvenation and lure younger competitors to the sport. Bowling is a challenging, family-oriented sport that can be very rewarding for those willing to put forth the effort, and it would be good to see it regain some of the prominence that it once held within American culture.
Christopher Brown is an amateur bowler who closely follows PBA events, but has never competed on a serious level. Above all, he appreciates the mutual respect and friendliness that is found within the bowling community. Bowling has proven to be a rewarding pastime for Chris and his two sons who share an equally strong attraction to the sport.