My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
New and Improved - My Bowling Ball (Part III)
I found myself putting all bowling balls on the shelf in the 80’s to coach Little League baseball, Squirt hockey, and venture into Boomer’s Ballcards. When I returned to the sport, I found that the bowling ball business had also ventured into uncharted territory. Urethane had replaced rubber, and color had replaced black. I went through a rainbow of blue, purple, and burgundy Hammers, and balls with exotic names like Critical Mass, Synergy, Rhino, Torq, El Nino, etc. All purchased at a local Pro Shop.
We frequently see the words “New and Improved” on many products on the shelves of grocery and department stores. Maybe lemon was added to your dishwashing soap, bleach is already in your rainforest scented laundry detergent, cell phones that will do your laundry, high definition on new TV sets, so why not the bowling industry? The improvements in bowling balls have ignited the industry, and make you want to get a new one every five frames. And there are many Pro Shops now to accommodate you. I would not use this forum to endorse or mollify any Pro Shop. I know several proprietors and I endorse all of them and thank them for the contributions they have made to the local bowling scene. We make a choice in dentists and pro shops because they drill things for us, but I know a few people that would change dentists before they would spurn their pro shop.
I hate to single out names, at risk of forgetting someone, but I have to mention On Track and it’s similarity with an Asian food market. If you have occasion to shop at the Asian store, somewhere between the bean sprouts and the catfish is a box of old crabs. On Track Midway does not have the odor of an Asian store, but sometimes there‘s an old crab there. Sorry, but I can’t resist poking fun at my friend, Gary Arntzen, the proprietor of On Track, and his host, Al Loth of Midway Pro Bowl, who adequately fills in as the old crab when Gary’s not there. Gary and I crossed paths in a league at Chanhassen Bowl years ago, and I remember when On Track was a small room next to the stairs at Midway. Before I knew either of these guys, and when I worked in St. Paul, I used to stop at Midway on my lunch hour to play the Pacman machine. I think Al put new carpeting in his home with the quarters I dropped in that machine.
But as I stated earlier, I feel strongly that all the shops do a great job for their clients. I met Dave Rasmus, when he had a shop at the Stardust before moving to Southdale. I see Mike Schmid frequently at the MSC tournaments. Mike’s Pro Shop has been open for 46 years! That’s longer than WalMart, Home Depot, Kohl’s, and Menards! With that record, you know he’s doing it right, and I wish him well at his new home in Flaherty’s. Greg and Jeff Reiners have A-Z Pro Shops at Mermaid, Saxon, and in my back yard at the BP Brunswick Zone, and Scott Walkner does a great job at Ballworks in Coon Rapids. Bowler’s Choice is well respected also on the north side of the city, and most contribute sponsorship of bowling teams and tournaments, so please patronize your sponsors.
And the list wouldn’t be complete until I mention our pal, and frequent forum contributor Kingpin, who ran a successful shop at Earle Brown before leaving for the land of humidity and hurricanes to root for the Rays in the World Series. They got the devil out of that team for sure! And of course, if I omitted your favorite bowling pro shop, get on the forum and give them a shout. They’ll appreciate it!