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Why? Why? Why? Bowling 2035

Joe Schumacker


Why do we need a twenty-five year strategic plan for Bowling; Bowling 2035?

Why do we need it now?

Why am I, Joe Schumacker, talking about a strategic plan for Bowling?


Three questions which when answered set the stage for the development of a true plan to provide a vibrant future for the Bowling Community


Why do we need a 25 year strategic plan; Bowling 2035?

A question which is frequently asked of me when I speak of a long-term strategic plan for bowling is, “why should I care, I will not be around in 2035.”  The answer to that one is simple.  There will be many people “around” in 2035 whom would benefit from having a vibrant, growing Bowling Community.  Those of us who have had the honor of being a part of Bowling over the past decades understand the legacy given to us.  It is our responsibility to grow that legacy rather than spend it. 

Aside from the emotional reason for developing a long-term plan for Bowling there is a very rational reason.  Bowling 2035 establishes a horizon; a point in the future on which we can fix our sights in order to keep us moving in the correct direction.  Once the horizon is set we can move our eyes back to the present moment identifying milestones to be achieved along the way.

The most critical work in a long-term plan such as Bowling 2035 is always the work to be done in the near-term.  In reality the present moment is the only time we can actually get anything done.  If we do what we need to do today, we become better prepared for tomorrow and then the next tomorrow, all the way to 2035.

Why establish a long-term plan for the Bowling Community?  The answer is if we don’t, the future of Bowling will be left to be an extension of the historic trends.  If that happens we will have spent our legacy.

Why do we need it now?

The time is absolutely correct for the creation of Bowling 2035.  Over the past eight years huge changes have been made to the major support organizations of the Bowling Community.  The integration of the ABC, WIBC and YABA into the USBC gave us the opportunity to have a unified national governing body for competitive bowling. The creation of the International Bowling Campus (IBC) gave us a single location capable of housing all national support organizations.  The relocation of the USBC and the BPAA to the IBC brought under one roof the two major support organizations for Bowling.   

Additionally there has been a transition in leadership of both the USBC and the BPAA.  New senior executives for both organizations have been in place for more than eighteen months.  They have now been on-board long enough to understand the issues but not so long that they would have rigid mindsets. The volunteer leadership of both organizations has also gone through their routine cycle.  Gone are the leaders of the first phase of the major change facing bowling.  New leaders are now accountable for making the repositioned support structures for the Bowling Community function properly.

Why do we need Bowling 2035 today?  The answer is our ability to provide a positive future for bowling cannot wait any longer. It is time to pull it all together.

Why am I, Joe Schumacker, talking about a strategic plan for Bowling?

Someone has to and I am willing, pardon the pun, to get the ball rolling.  I represent no organization in the Bowling Community other than my bowling centers.  One would expect the BPAA and/or the USBC to lead such an effort.  They simply cannot; they cannot see beyond the box which defines their current state.  This is not a criticism of the two organizations but rather a natural characteristic of support organizations.  The walls of their boxes are too high, too fixed and too shaded in order to properly start the process of creating a plan for the future of the Bowling Community.  Each can and should have a strong strategic plan for their internal use but neither can drive Bowling unilaterally.  

I will not be the author of the strategic plan for bowling any more than there is a single author for Wikipedia. I am only getting the process started.  The true work of creating Bowling 2035 will be the combined effort of many.  The true value of Bowling 2035 will be that it works from the operating bowling business out to the remainder of the Bowling Community rather than being parceled out from a lofty perch in Arlington.

Why am I starting the Bowling 2035 effort?  It is simply that the future of Bowling is too important to have the majority of interested parties simply stand on sidewalk while the parade goes by.  We need all stakeholders in the Bowling Community to join the parade.


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