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Bowl Opinion- December 2016


By Jim Goodwin

Family and Community Trumps Politics Every Time

One of the things we have always loved about bowling is the sense of community that exists within the variety of groups that form the whole bowling industry.

In league bowling, very close friendships that often cross political, racial and eco- nomic lines are formed. Bowling proprietors enjoy a special kinship with each other and customers, and in recent years, a strong relationship with association representatives that was hard to find for many decades. Even among casual bowlers, there is a bond between groups that frequent family entertainment centers for parties and corporate outings.,br/>
When we interviewed young Frank Wilkinson not too long ago, a New York bowling proprietor who is serving as President of the United States Bowling Congress, one of the first things he said that he was most proud of was that “The old us versus them mentality is gone.” Strong leaders like Frank, and many others who helped make the International Bowling Campus a reality, are responsible for bringing bowling together. Is it perfect? Of course not, but it is so much better than before.

Bowling has proven, on a relatively small scale, that it can be done; that unity is possible. Can our country learn from this small example? We hope it can.

Recently, our family gathered at our home to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. It was a wonderful time for everyone there, but there was one part of our close knit group that did not make the trip. CJ and I were told by some that one of the reasons they did not come was because they did not want to participate in talk about the recent election.

We can’t tell you how disappointing that was to hear; and we imagine that the same scenario played out in thousands of families across America. The question and challenge now is, ‘What are we going to do about it?’

We strongly believe that the election went the way it did because the American people refuse to believe the line of bull that has been fed to them by politicians and the so- called ‘main stream media’ any longer. We reject the idea that America is no better than any other country. We are ready for a time when America takes care of its own first, before reaching out across the world.

Speaking of the media, we grew up in a time when the major networks did a pretty good job of reporting the news, but in recent years, they have lost their sense of direction, their sense of purpose, and most of their integrity with agenda based reporting. In a panic, trying to compete with cable news and now social media, they have been rendered virtually irrelevant.

One does not have to be a journalism major to notice that what they practice is far from journalism standards of yesterday. What happened? We fear that journalism schools are teaching students that they no longer need to be objective. Objectivity, that was once a cornerstone of journalism has given way to opinion, and in many corners, biased reporting on all sides of the political spectrum.

The good news is that it can be fixed. What happened in bowling can happen in the news business. All it will take is strong leaders making tough but fair decisions. Will they? We believe they will have no choice. They will either have to rid them- selves of their ties to politics, the almighty dollar, and special interests, or they will simply die a slow and painful death.

For some it is already too late. In case you have been asleep at the wheel, young people no longer get their news from the big networks and newspapers. They rely mostly on social media and interaction with each other.

Almost all of the young people around our Thanksgiving table arrived with phones in hand, and all of them take for granted that having a device that virtually connects them to the entire world 24/7 is their God given right. The truth is that they enjoy that privilege because they are citizens of the greatest country on the planet

No doubt technology has changed the world, and continues to change it every day. The pace of this change is more than most people can handle, but we believe that finally, we are learning when to apply the brakes.

Parents today have huge challenges, and none of them are bigger that teaching their children how to manage social media and technology. It is made even tougher because they are still learning it themselves; and they often learn more from their kids than they teach them.

When the people of Great Britain voted this year to make England independent of the European Union, it was considered a revolution. We see the American election the same way. No matter what political party you identify with, we all have common sense values, and it is those values that will bring us together again.

It occurred to us during all of the turmoil surrounding the election that we might just be better off without any political parties or labels. One cannot argue that both major parties seem to be in disarray, and it certainly was not a party that caused the election to go the way it did. It was grass roots America standing up to say ‘Enough is Enough.’

So here is our suggestion – let’s continue to ignore or at least minimize all of those things that seem to divide us -biased reporting, over the top political parties and correctness, injecting race or gender or sexual orientation into every discussion, etc. etc.

Instead, let’s hold our leaders and media to a higher American standard, and remind them often that if they don’t get back to common sense and common decency, that we will send them packing their bags.
Obviously, we have complex challenges around the world, but we have to start at home. In fact, based on the results of this revolutionary election, it seems we already have.

Article was posted with permission from Stars & Strikes, America's Bowling Newsmagazine.

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