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When life gives you lemons, start a Sport Bowling League.

 

When things don't go your way you can either work at a solution or you can fold up your tent. Or, as your mother may have told you, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."

 

Example: Chuck McNally was a boilermaker, building steam engines for the railroads. When the work dried up and went to foreign concerns, McNally lost his job. Rather than feel sorry for himself, at age 50 he was working on his college degree in engineering. Another example: when sitting around shooting the breeze about the world of tenpins and lamenting about how easy it is to hold a high average or pull down honor scores, McNally was basically told to " put up or shut up." Actually, it was in harsher language than that, but he decided to "put up."

 

"Over a period of time, say over the next five years," McNally said, "Sport Bowling is going to be the measuring stick for anybody who wants to be a good player. I have guys calling me all the time to get help in starting a Sport League. And if anybody thinks the shot up here is easy, tell them to come on up. We will be bowling for money, baby!" - Chuck McNally, founder of the Coors Light/Coca-Cola Classic League at Olympic Lanes in Menands, N.Y.

 

"It all started as an idea to develop a league where we would make the shot tougher," said McNally, founder of the Coors Light/Coca-Cola Classic League at Olympic Lanes in Menands, N.Y. "I talked to the people at Sport Bowling and they filled me in on everything. We could not have done it without them."

 

The road to creating one of the best Sport Bowling leagues in the country has not been easy, McNally said, but he said that it has been well worth the effort.

"The bowlers in this league are the best, they are just awesome," McNally said. "We had 11 guys from our league go to a PBA regional and all 11 of them cashed."

 

The league had 12 three-man teams and competed for a $6,000 first prize. To run a top league it takes quality bowlers and sponsors. This league had 16 lane sponsors at $250 each to go with $150 per team sponsor. The Coors Light/Coca-Cola Classic started as a Sport test league in 2000 and has been going strong since. Mike Miseno, one of McNally's players, fired the first 300 ever on a Sport Bowling test condition.

 

"The number one reason for starting the league -- and there is no reason more important -- is that the guys have learned to win," McNally said. "The most important goal every week was to see how many times they beat their guy. You have to throw high averages right out the window. Our guys don't talk about high scores. They say, 'Did you win anything?'"

 

McNally credits Olympic proprietors George Vafiadis and John Oureilis as being an instrumental part of the league's success. They made it possible for the tough scoring conditions to be monitored and because their conditions are legitimate, players came from as far as 70 miles away to take on the challenge.

 

"The guys keep telling me, `Keep 'em ugly Chuck,'" McNally said. "And this will be from a guy who just shot a 130 game. If you watch any match in our league it comes down to making spares. It's pretty much like bowling in the '60s, except for the oil carry down. "You learn to make spares. The guys in our league say, `Spares are your friend.' You learn teamwork, you learn to watch what your opponent does and you learn how to win again."

 

When McNally was originally challenged to get the league started, he hunted out players in other leagues and tournaments who would pick up the gauntlet with him. McNally averaged 213 in the Rotterdam Classic League, but settled for 175.9 with a 253 high game and 604 series in the Sport Bowling league he ran.

 

"Over a period of time, say over the next five years," McNally said, "Sport Bowling is going to be the measuring stick for anybody who wants to be a good player. I have guys calling me all the time to get help in starting a Sport League. And if anybody thinks the shot up here is easy, tell them to come on up. We will be bowling for money, baby!"



 

 

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