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May 31, 2020 - 1:29pm

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt devastating blows to businesses of all types and sizes, but not many have been hit harder than the bowling industry.

The 2019-20 bowling season was cut short when the virus hit in mid-March, forcing leagues to cancel their seasons with four to eight weeks remaining.

As the crisis continued, tournaments at the national, state and local levels were cancelled – keeping bowlers on the sidelines and preventing organizations and center proprietors from generating millions of dollars in budgeted revenue.

With June a day away, bowling centers remain closed in most states. In New York, bowling has been lumped together with other forms of entertainment into Phase Four of the state’s reopening plan and it likely will be at least another month before centers are allowed to open their doors.

Proprietors, reeling from end-of-season losses, also have seen their spring and summer league programs washed away. They are uncertain about the start of the 2020-21 season in late August and early September, and wonder what league bowling will look like going forward.

“Bowling is not going to be the same for a while,” said Jack Moran, proprietor of Roseland Family Fun Center in Canandaigua, a facility that offers 34 traditional bowling lanes as well as eight VIP lanes, café, sports bar, and an arcade with laser tag and bumper cars.

Social distancing parameters – requirements that people stay at least six feet away from each other – have prompted the United States Bowling Congress to temporarily waive playing rules stating that two lanes must be used for competition and that bowlers must alternate lanes.

The USBC also waived the requirement that both lanes must be used for a bowler to be eligible for awards and average recognition.

What that means is, for league play, a team could bowl the entire game on lane one, for example, and its opposing team, could bowl its entire game on lane three.

Additionally, bowlers will be allowed to use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) to clean their bowling balls during competition – a change from the current rule that states that no cleaners can be used during competition.

Although it is yet to be seen whether those new rules will be put into play, proprietors hoping to run summer leagues after reopening may have no alternatives.

“What are we going to do for six to eight weeks of summer leagues? We’re better off trying to run a special promotion to get people in the doors again, so that they feel safe,” said Moran, a past president of the NYS Bowling Proprietors Association. “We’re not even sure if people coming back in September are going to feel safe.”

Randy Hanks, proprietor of the 18-lane Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion, said he is planning to separate customers by around 15 feet for open bowling.

“If a family’s is using a pair (of lanes) and they’re on lanes one and two, the next one used will be lane five – 15 to 20 feet away,” he said. “Plus, I’m going to have them prepay, leave the (house) balls and shoes on the ball return, and we’ll sanitize them after everybody is done.”

The NYS BPA already has drafted a long list of health- and safety-related protocols that proprietors will use to ensure a safe environment. Details can be found in the article below.

Hanks said the restaurant portion of his business has been open for take-out only, but revenue pales in comparison to normal operation.

“We lost four summer league, including our adult-junior league that would have ended the day we maybe can open up – June 26th,” Hanks said. “I don’t even want to look to see how much I lost since March 15 compared to the same time the last two years.”

Moran said his staff has been working hard to implement the protocols – markings on the floor, plexiglass shields, acquiring digital thermometers to check everyone’s temperature coming into one specified entrance, and so on.

“From what we’re being told, we will be allowed to open at 50 percent of our occupancy,” he said. “In my case, it equates to about 120 people in my center.”

He said he has talked to colleagues in other states to get a pulse on the situation.

“Talking to my friends in Ohio and Florida – they have been able to open up but it’s limited hours and every other lane for social distancing,” he said. “Right now, we’re trying to look at what the league structure will be like in September – and it’s not looking good if this thing goes six months.”

Mike Sputore, manager of Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia, said he is looking to reopen the 24-lane center in mid- to late-August with all the protocols in place.

Echoing the concerns of the whole industry, he said time will tell on how to proceed.

“There are just too many uncertainties at this time,” he said. “How do we run the leagues? Do we use just one lane? How much time will it take to bowl? Will more than one league be able to bowl at a time? I just hope people don’t give up league bowling.”

September 17, 2016 - 11:06am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling, mancuso bowling center, Beat The Champ.

AS I WAS DOING some grocery shopping the other day, I ran into a fellow bowler and he commented about the decline in of the number of bowlers in his league at Scopano’s Lanes.

“We have dropped from 12 teams to 10,” he said. “It doesn’t look as though your (Pin Points) article is bringing young people into the sport.”

While his point is well taken, it will take more than a twice-a-month column that touts that achievements of local bowlers and informs the public of coming tournaments and events to get the kids off their couches, away from their technology and into bowling centers on a weekly basis. It will take a concerted effort by all of those involved in bowling throughout the four counties of the Genesee Region USBC – Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming.

It has to start with parents, especially current league bowlers, introducing their children to the game at a young age, and it must continue with dedicated coaches, center proprietors and managers working together to keep the kids’ interest through elementary and high school, and, possibly, into college (where an abundance of scholarship money is available).

I listen to so many excuses as to why kids aren’t bowling – “they’re into other sports; parents are too busy; it’s too expensive,” etc., etc., -- but I’m not buying them.

Sure, a lot of kids play other sports, but a lot of kids aren’t doing anything outside of school. Those who aren’t cut out for the physicality or athleticism of football or soccer may be the ones who will exhibit the hand-eye coordination and fundamental skills to flourish in bowling.

Bowling is not expensive when compared to other sports. Registration fees and commitments to play soccer or hockey, for example, can range into the hundreds of dollars. To become a certified USBC youth bowler, the registration fee may be around $20, and the weekly cost probably is between $3 and $10.

With that being said, I am happy to report that good things are happening around the Genesee Region when it comes to youth bowling.

In Oakfield, Carrie Monachino, who has a bowling daughter, has stepped up to the plate to help keep the kids’ program going at Scopano’s, where sign-ups are scheduled for tonight (6 to 8 p.m.), Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon. Similar registrations are taking place or already have happened at the GRUSBC’s other centers (see the list on this page).

Bennington Lanes owner Billie Jo Frost is making plans to get a youth bowling program off the ground, while Kevin Sass at Letchworth Pines in Portageville is developing a “Book & Bowl” program to introduce to Letchworth, Keshequa and Fillmore central schools, with the hope of starting a weekly junior league after the first of the year.

“Something like this helps to promote reading as well as participation in a healthy sport,” Sass said. “We think it’s a great combination.”

Circling back to the opening sentence of this column, now is a great time to spread the word that bowling is an activity that builds a young person’s self-esteem and sense of accomplishment, while promoting teamwork and sportsmanship.

"Pin Points" is just a part of the effort needed to attract boys and girls to a sport that, hopefully, they will like, stay with and eventually find their places in the adult leagues that are crying out for more bowlers. 

‘BEAT THE CHAMP’ IS COMING TO BATAVIA

BEAT THE CHAMP has made a successful comeback to the Buffalo bowling scene, and now the weekly TV show that is part of the WBBZ-TV (MeTV) lineup is making its way to Batavia.

Mancuso Bowling Center has scheduled eight qualifying squads on Nov. 11, 18-20 to determine the 10 bowlers who will appear on three shows, and prior to that will run a mixed doubles handicap event (Nov. 5-6) with the top four teams qualifying for a fourth show.

MBC Manager Mike Sputore said that taping for the TV shows will take place on Nov. 30, starting at 8 a.m. The shows will be televised on Sundays at 4 p.m. (and repeated at 11 p.m.) during the month of December.

“We’re excited about it. This is a big thing for Batavia,” Sputore said.

Qualifying events at other bowling centers that paid the $6,000 needed to become a Beat The Champ host have attracted up to 170 competitors. Sputore said he expects a big turnout in Batavia, which is a short drive for both Buffalo and Rochester area bowlers. The qualifiers consist of three games, with no handicap. The entry fee is $30.

Beat The Champ is produced by the WNY Bowling Proprietors Association. For more information or to sign up, contact Sputore at 585-343-1319.

NO-TAP ON TAP AT MEDINA LANES THIS WEEKEND

IT'S EARLY in the bowling season and Medina Lanes is hosting the appropriately named sixth annual Early Season Handicap No-Tap Tournament this Saturday and Sunday.

Teams of three (men, women or mixed) will compete on Saturday with squads at 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m., and on Sunday with squads at 1 and 3 p.m. First place, based on entries, is $750 and the entry fee is $75 per team.

On Oct. 16, scratch bowlers will get their turn on Medina’s synthetic lanes when the Fall Classic singles tournament unfolds. Qualifying times are 12:30 and 3 p.m. with a “Desperado” (last chance) squad and the match play finals to follow.

First place is expected to be $600 and the entry fee is $50.

OAK ORCHARD BOWL TO HOST PAWS EVENT

THE SECOND ANNUAL PAWS Triples No-Tap Tournament to benefit Albion’s People for Animal Welfare Society shelter is scheduled for Oct. 1 at Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion.

Squad times are 1, 3, 6 and 8 p.m., and the entry fee is $60 per team. Handicap will be based on 80 percent of the difference in the bowler's average and 220. Women with no average will use 140; men with no average will use 180. One out of every six teams will cash.

A portion of the entry fee, along with money raised through a Chinese auction and prize drawings, will go to the animal shelter.

To register, call 585-590-0804 or 585-589-6900.

COACHING CLINIC IS OCT. 1 AT MANCUSO’S

USA BOWLING Silver Level Coach Tom Fluker of Batavia will be leading a free youth coaching seminar to those interested in being able to teach the fundamentals of bowling to youth bowlers.

The seminar is set for noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 at Mancuso Bowling Center. You can register for the course by calling Fluker at 585-284-2637 or by sending an email to [email protected].

TWO EVENTS IN BUFFALO AREA THIS MONTH

TONAWANDA Bowling Center574 Young St., Tonawanda, is hosting the TBC Classic scratch singles tournament this Sunday (Sept. 18), with three-game qualifying squads at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The top 16, based on 100 entries, will advance to the head-to-head finals, with the eventual champion earning $1,000.

Entry fee is $57. For more information, call 716-694-4120.

Transit Lanes on Transit Road in Williamsville is the site of the Jack N Jill Mixed Doubles Tournament on Sept. 24-25, a high-stakes event featuring a $4,000 top prize (based on 40 entries). The entry fee is $400 per team.

To enter, send an email to [email protected].

UPDATE, 8:30 A.M., 9/15/16 -- The first honor scores in the GRUSBC were reported to Pin Points in an email from Jackie Jurinich of Medina, secretary of the Wednesday Community League at Medina Lanes. In last night's action, Scott Allis of Medina rolled an 811 series -- adding to his long list of honor scores -- while Jeff Baes of Gasport registered a 300 game, upping his total of perfect games to at least six.

 (Mike Pettinella’s Pin Points column appears every other Thursday on The Batavian, the region’s No. 1 source for online news. To advertise on this page, contact Mike at [email protected] or at 585-343-3736).

February 15, 2016 - 2:30pm

The 20th Annual Betty Ellison Memorial "Strike Out for Crossroads" bowling tournament that began last Friday and ran over the weekend will continue this week.

Starting Friday night at 6 o'clock at the Mancuso Bowling Center, 214 E. Main St., Batavia, the fundraising fun continues.

Saturday start times are 3 and 6 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.

The team fee is $100.

For additional information call: Cindy (585) 993-0584 or Tara (585) 409-0136.

February 17, 2013 - 4:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, mancuso bowling center, crossroads house.

A three-day bowling tournament to benefit Crossroads House wrapped up today at Mancuso Bowling Center.

It was a big turnout for the 17th annual event with 480 bowlers participating in four shifts Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"We want to thank everybody who participated," said Cindy Lowder, one of the organizers.

Lowder said the event was held in memory of Betty Ellison, who organized the first event 17 years ago.

"She set everything up so well and got it going. We just really follow her lead now," Lowder said. "She was an amazing organizer. She had all her ducks in a row and we just follow suit."

August 16, 2011 - 8:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, mancuso bowling center.

John Sisson, above, tries out the revitalized bowling lanes at Mancuso Bowling Center, behind T.F. Brown's, in Batavia.

All 24 lanes were screened (kind of like sanding) and recoated over the summer, according to manager Mike Sputore.

At one time, the Mancusos recoated the lanes only every few years, now they try to do it every year or two.

"We've noticed better scores with the more frequently we do it," Sputore said.

In an effort to spiff up the lanes even more, the walls have been repainted, the bowler's approach area resurfaced and many worn parts of the pin machinery replaced.

To help give bowlers a chance to try out the revitalized lanes, Mancuso's is offering $1 per-game specials from 4 to 9 p.m., Aug. 20 through Aug. 26.

Through August, Mancuso Bowling Center is open 3 to 9 p.m. and from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

February 15, 2011 - 1:58pm

As promised last week (see Friday's article, "Mancuso's hosts Holy Family School, of Le Roy, for Catholic Schools Week"), here are some photos of staff and students from Holy Family and St. Joseph schools celebrating Catholic Schools Week.

Our site has been experiencing some technical difficulties, otherwise they would have been posted sooner.

Holy Family at Mancuso Bowling Center:

The kids have just finished Mass at Notre Dame and are ready to hit the lanes!

Principal Kevin Robertson (aka "Mr. Rob") with Sister Bridget.

Amy Drakes, physical education teacher and chief organizer of this event.

February 11, 2011 - 2:50pm

Holy Family School of Le Roy celebrated Catholic Schools Week with a trip to Mancuso Bowling Center this week, following a Mass at Notre Dame High School.

Here is some footage of the students getting their games on -- and thank you to Lorie Longhany, who teaches art at the school, for indirectly providing the title of part four:

Catholic Schools Week -- which has been observed annually for many years (at least since 1889 at Holy Family) -- was actually last week, but the bowling outing and the Mass at Notre Dame were rescheduled due to bad weather. Pictures of the Holy Family crew at Mancuso's will be posted soon, along with photos of St. Joe's kids celebrating at the YMCA.

The purpose of Catholic Schools Week, according to Holy Family Principal Kevin Robertson (affectionately known as "Mr. Rob" to the students), is to give kids and staff the chance to celebrate their Catholic identity "in a way they don't get to the rest of the school year."

Kids, teachers and parents in Catholic education celebrate this annual, weeklong tradition with fun events at the schools and out in the community.

"A lot of these activities are geared toward teamwork," Robertson said. "It gives the kids a chance to work together and just have fun."

This is the third year in a row Mancuso's has welcomed Holy Family students in for Catholic Schools Week, according to physical education teacher Amy Drakes.

Drakes was in charge of coordinating this event, which she sees as a valuable opportunity to mix the different grade levels so that they can work together. She feels it's a great way to showcase the tight-knit bond between students for the community.

"The great thing about our school is that everyone knows each other," Drakes said. "Having all the (elementary and middle school) grades together is nice, too. You see a different side of the seventh- and eighth-graders when they're working with the little kids."

"There's a great sense of family and community (in the Catholic school setting)," Robertson said. "The kids get a strong foundation for morals and values, and they're conscious of the need to treat others with respect, and to be fair and productive."

Though most Holy Family students are Catholic, the school welcomes and includes students who are not Catholic as well.

"We have non-Catholic students, and we include them in everything we do," Robertson said, "but we also respect their beliefs. They can participate in the activities we have outside of school if they choose to do so -- but if they choose not to, that's understandable."

Education at Holy Family, as at other Catholic schools, goes beyond the classroom. Recently, the kids worked on fundraising efforts for Catholic Appeal's Week (see Feb. 7 announcement). Robertson said they will continue to have many activities through Catholic Appeal's Week, which is April 10 through 17.

Visit the Holy Family School website for more information.

SUPPLEMENTAL VIDEO:

St. Joseph School students enjoy the "bouncy house" at the YMCA:

April 28, 2009 - 7:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, mancuso bowling center, Deal of the Day.

Today's Deal of the Day: Today we have three (3) gift certificates from Mancuso Bowling Center for a Friday or Saturday night "Rock 'n' Bowl."

Value of each is $17. The Batavian good-deal price: $10 each. That's $7 off!.

"Rock 'n' Bowl" runs every Friday and Saturday night from 9:30 p.m. to midnight.

Rules: The gift certificate must be used by within 30 days of purchase. It is not valid with other offers and has no cash value.

How to Win: Purchase using the PayPal "Buy Now" button below. After the first person to hit the "buy now" button completes the purchase, PayPal will let you know that the item has been sold. Ideally, the winner will arrange to stop by my office on Main Street before 5:00 p.m. to pick up gift certificate. Mail is an option, but it would be better to hand you the gift certificate.

If you want to be notified via e-mail of future Deals of the Day, sign up for the Deals of the Day e-mail list by clicking here.

SOLD

February 3, 2009 - 8:04pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in sports, mancuso bowling center.

You almost have to feel bad for this guy named Mike.

Not much else is known about the poster and the video was put up on YouTube last September 15. He goes by the screen name of Wolfman12395 on YouTube and appears to be from Canada. Mike didn't record the first five frames, but got the rest in nearly bowling a 300 at Mancuso Bowling Center.

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