Would you go bowling if they changed the rules?
Kevin Dornberger and his Swedish friend Christer Jonsson were watching a tournament in Hong Kong. They made it through most of the afternoon. Then Jonsson, the secretary general of the World Tenpin Bowling Association, looked at Dornberger, the president of World Bowling.
"This is boring," he said.
Dornberger agreed. He has bowled since he was eight. He had a 40-plus-year competitive career. He's rolled 16 perfect 300 games. That's where all 10 pins are knocked down on the first roll of the ball. Now he heads the sport's governing body.
"I've watched more world championships competitions than anyone in the world," Dornberger said Wednesday. "And it has occurred to me that the people who say we are boring have a point."
Dornberger says he has a solution. He wants to change the sport's scoring system. He'd like it to be more like the soccer World Cup. Scoring, possibly only in the finals, could be simplified. The player winning each frame would get one point. Any player getting to six points would win the game.
Another suggestion is to make every strike count for 30 points. Spares, where all pins are knocked down in two rolls, would count for 20. That would make the math a lot easier. It also would keep 300 as the perfect score for a game. It's a tradition many bowlers would be very unhappy to see go away.
"I'm open to anything because I love our sport," Dornberger said. "I love tradition. But it's vital that we become an Olympic sport."
What's next for the sport of bowling? In December, a working group plans to make four or five proposals. So changes could come soon, if they are approved.