I recently was involved in the AMF sponsored $600,000 National In League Tournament and would like to share my experiences. Before I begin, I would just like to say that this experience has me not wanting to participate or bowl for anyAMF sponsored events EVER again and I will continue to bash AMF until the proper resolution takes place.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this tournament, I have included the URL so you may take your time to understand what it is and the situation that I was thrust into.http://tournament.amf.com/Pages/Rules.aspx
I have been dreaming about going to Vegas ever since this tournament was announced and I looked very forward to displaying my skills and trying to advance to the ultimate goal which would have been an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas and bowl in the Finals which take place next month in April. I bowled out of my center every week and paid money out of my pocket to ensure that I would make it to the next round. I made it to the Center FInals and achieved the next step which brought me to bowl in the District Finals in White Plains, NY. A week before the actual District Finals would begin, I went to the AMF Bowling Center in White Plains and had 3 practice games. I was placed on Lane 55 and 56 and I instantly became aware of an issue with the lanes, in which, I had to repeatedly call over one of the workers to assist me with issues with the lane. I thought nothing of it and just pondered to myself that I hope this issue is resolved by next week.
The following week on the day of the District Finals, I was excited to be a part of the tournament and prepared myself as best as I could. I was introduced to my lanes which just happened to be lanes 55 and 56. I had my headphones on and was in total "bowl" mode and tried to familiarize myself with the competition. I had six other bowlers in my lanes and we all were competing for that one ultimate goal. As we began our 10 minute practice period, some of the bowlers noticed issues with the lane immediately. Our " Lane Manager" was informed numerous times about issues on the lanes even before the competition began but no action was taken. We all had to bowl 4 games. After the first game and not even into the 3rd frame of the second game, I noticed one of the bowlers sitting on his seat and refuses to bowl any further and was protesting the game. The issues that were happening with our lanes were : pins missing, pins dropping on placement, after first ball, pins were reset and scores would go away, when a ball was thrown down the lane, the gate would come down prior to the ball touching any pins and possibly damaging the ball or lane even further. It had come to a point where a technician was "supposedly" watching our for problems but unfortunately for us, it kept on happening. It even came to the point where pins were being hand placed and we were delayed in our bowling game. Our "Lane Manager" was informed about issues over 30 times the entire event and one would think that we should have been moved to a breakdown lane but we were forced to stay and bowl in that lane and endure the misery of having to witness these happenings and not being able to do anything about it. The "Lane Manager" informed the District Manager who informed him to make sure we just bowl and deal
with it. When that guy protested his game, he was informed that if he did not finish, he would be disqualified from the competition. I bowled well over my average and you can view my name here in this URL in Division C 8th Place.http://tournament.amf.com/Pages/Scores.aspx?divisionId=4&eventPhaseId=3&orgId=530
Unfortunately, those who placed in 17th, 28th, 37th,40th, and 44th were bowling in the same lanes and did not do as well and were VERY dissatisfied with the events that were happening. We stayed after we bowled and demanded to talk to the Manager in charge of this event for clarification and we were informed to wait and that would come talk to us. Meanwhile, as we were waiting upstairs, the winners were being announced and that was more of a slap to the face to us. After the winners were announced, all 9 managers (Center Managers and District Managers) came upstairs and basically explained to to us that, YES, we know you guys were having problems, but unfortunately, there is nothing we can do, have a nice day. Mind you, while they were speaking to us, the technician was under the pin drop mechanism fixing it!!!!!!I instantly became enraged and lost my cool and started giving them a piece of my mind. I pulled myself to the side and the Center Manager from my town came over and spoke to me with ultimate sincerity and tried to explain to me that there was nothing that they could have done. I felt robbed, I felt cheated, I felt disgraced, and I felt for the others who travelled across states to be here and expensed hotels and food and took the day off of work.
After it became evident that nothing was going to come out of this disgrace of a tournament, I dropped my bag in front of the Managers and vowed to never bowl again. How can i bowl again for anything after experiencing this travesty. Luckily, the only good thing that happened, was that my Center Manager picked up my bag, and eventually returned it to me.
I began looking for the people responsible for the tournament and wanted this issue to be heard. I finally got in contact with the Tournament Director (Kathy Hart), only after i send a letter to AMF.com and the outcome I received was a bigger joke than what happened in White Plains. Here I was, thinking that the Director would have some type of resolution that would be satifying but instead, I got this :
Sorry, we all came to the agreement that there were issues with Lanes 55 and 56 but we are working to make things right for the future and we welcome your concerns, and it's unfortunate that this happened but there was nothing that could have been done
Am i supposed to be satisfied with this? Am i supposed to be grateful that I got a phone call from the Director of the Tournament. Now I want to to talk with Fred Kipp, the CEO of AMF and I want him to justify what happened to all of us and resolve this issue. If any of you guys or gals have any suggestions, please let me know because I will not let this issue be swept under the rug!
Thank You for allowing me to share my story,