Monday, March 1, 2010

Are you hall of fame material?

Scanning the associations' halls of fame, I notice that some include most anyone, while some have few bowlers. This is not necessarily due to the number of bowlers in that area of the state either.

I was on an association hall of fame committee for three years. During our committee meetings, I was shocked that we did not have discussions and debates on nominated bowlers' resumes. Merits of accomplishments were not discussed. Personalities of the nominees seemed to carry the most weight. Secret ballots were held almost ten minutes into the committee meeting. I openly discussed my criteria so as to start the debate. I did not feel that a friend filling out the application form automatically qualified someone for the association hall of fame.

Scoring is relative. High averages and lots of honor scores do not necessitate an automatic bid to the hall of fame. In what era did the bowler compete? That determines the worth of his average. Here is my criteria:
1970's: 200
1980's : 210
1990's: 220
2000's: 230

There has already been a 240 average bowled in the state of Alabama. The 2010's may up the average requirement to that level. Handicap tournaments realize this increase also. If you are my age, you may remember tournament handicaps being based on the difference in your average and 200. Now, many handicap tournaments are using base averages of 220, 230, or more.

This should apply to honor scores also. A 300 game in 1985 is probably worth 10 such scores today. We can probably calculate this worth by total number of honor scores divided by total number of games bowled in an association. I'm betting the ratio in 1980 is much lower than the ratio will be for 2010. The state hall of fame application has a point system to determine minimum criteria for nomination. It lists points qualified for 700 series. Unless you are over 45 years old and have been bowling for 30 years, this element should be eliminated. In my system, bowlers qualifying in this millennium would already have averages over a 700 series every night.

However, in spite of all I have mentioned earlier, you still need more than a high average and some honor scores from your Friday night mixed league. Have you duplicated this success in other bowling centers? Have you won any scratch tournaments? Tournaments won outside of your home area should carry more merit also. State, regional, and national success will bring no debate on your credentials from your peers.

The Huntsville Bowling Hall of Fame has a lot of members. Not shown, but obvious to many witnesses of Huntsville bowling history, there is a top tier of five bowlers in this hall: Jimmy Certain, Tony Churchey, Richard Smock, and Ron Ware. The fifth bowler to be included on this level is open to debate. Their success has spanned decades, including high averages, honor scores, and tournament victories. Two of these bowlers, Certain and Smock, have PBA titles.

Hall of Fame credentials should stand the test of time. High scores and tournament success over many years will get you in the local hall of fame.

Another subject for another time is the nomination and voting process. Should local board members, who rotate out every 3-5 years, vote on new members? Should the current hall members vote on their newest inductees, like the Heisman Trophy award or Alabama State Hall of Fame?