The Young American Bowlers Alliance is, as the name implies, a national organization for young bowlers. It provides instructions and a format for competition for youths ranging in age from the under-8 group to 21-year-olds.
Every Saturday morning during the Fall/Winter tenpin season, bowling centers across the nation are filled with youngsters learning everything from lane courtesy to the use of the equipment. And, of course, there are coaches.
Enter Brad Fox.
"I started coaching about three years ago," said Fox, a Montgomery County Public Schools employee. "There's was an opening for a coach at [Brunswick] Columbia and I jumped at the chance to fill it."
Fox lives in Columbia with his wife, Doris and two sons, Brandon, 11, and Derek, 9, and bowls in the Newtowners League at Columbia. The left-handed bowler carries a 175 average with a high game of 279 and a high set of 661 using three bowling balls.
"I started with a conventional grip and a plastic ball," he said. "Then someone suggested a urethane ball and a fingertip grip, so I got a Black Hammer that I still use and later I purchased a Ebonite Turbo-X and a Nitro."
Fox quickly "became addicted to tenpin bowling."
"It's just a great sport for everyone," Fox said. "The only other sport I have any interest in is bass fishing."
Fox bowls in the National Amateur Bowlers Inc. (NABI) tournaments and the Amateur Bowling Tour (ADT). His goal is to bring his average to 200.
This is a bowling family: Doris averages 131 and Brandon carries a 125 and Derek has an 85.
Brandon throws a 12-pound Laser and Derek uses an eight-pound ball. Both are active in the Columbia YABA.
The Youth program at Columbia consists of Division I and Division II. Division I has the Bantams (8 and under) and the Preps (9-11 years old). Division II has the Junior Varsity (12-14) and the Varsity (16-21).
The Bantams are coached by Fox.
"Last year we had 16 boys and girls in the Bantams," Fox said. "This year I'd like to see another six or eight join us on Saturday mornings. It's encouraging right now because I see more and more parents becoming interested in the program. It would be great if I could have 24 in the Bantams."
The Bantams, because of their age, bowl two-game sets instead of the usual three games.
"I try to teach the most basic things," Fox said. "Just three things, really: how to pick up the ball from the rack properly; lane courtesy; and the most important thing to me, how to have fun. If they learn that then they're ready to move up to the next level, and I feel that I've done my job."
If you would like your children to learn a sport that will last a life time think about the YABA. The youngsters are in a safe place, the sport has an extremely low possibility of injury and, as Brad Fox says, they will have fun.
Thoughts of winter
Now is the time to start thinking about the winter season.
The Sunday Pinbusters four-member mixed handicap league will have its meeting Aug. 16 and will open Aug. 22.
The Barroom Gang Plus league will begin bowling at Brunswick Columbia on Sept. 2. The league meeting will be Aug. 26. Every bowler will receive an NFL starter jacket.
Some of the ladies of the Womens International Bowling Congress (WIBC) are concerned because this year there was a dues increase of $3.25 bringing the national dues to $6 each bowling season.
Keep in mind that even if you were a member of the WIBC from the 1955-56 season through 1992-93 season (38 years) the total amount of dues paid would be only $39.