Feature Stories

Hostile USBC takeover escalates in ruining bowling for Americans

September 23, 2014 12:06 AM MST


Will the last person at the USBC please turn off the pinsetters, as well as the lights? And, at the rate this company is going, that should be any day now.

We’re gonna strike at some truth-tellin’ here, team.

There have been speculations about the United States Bowling Congress’ future for at least nine years, but the recent escalation by hostile parties intent on total takeover have pushed matters beyond tense. It’s now entered the realm of ridiculous for employees trying to hold down a job there, and bodes badly for bowlers. Because there is absolutely no job continuity, there are no long-term goals, bowler security, and there is no reason behind decision after decision at the USBC.

But, there is a pattern:
It’s take the bowlers’ money and trust, and winnow it down to giving little to nothing back. And, who needs employees when you have big-bucks executives?

It started small, perhaps imperceptibly at first — except for the few who were crushed quietly after the 2005 merger of American Bowling Congress (ABC) and Women’s International Bowling Congress (WIBC) and creation of USBC.

The security known by some at the company headquarters as full-time employees was “tweaked”. Some were forced out, even replaced by contractors, “travelers” or others.

Soon, Human Resources had no voice, then the contracted longtime payroll company was unceremoniously cut, followed by yet another — also gone. What better way to get away with abusing employees than by eliminating any voice they might have, right?

The Powers That Be (PTB) hacked away at primarily long-time female employees “with attitude problems” — making it so miserable to continue working that they quit, were forced to retire or were fired. Some male employees were demoted, also forced to quit or retire and whispered about disparagingly in ways to undercut their masculinity or any hope of future advancement.

Decisions began to not make sense in most cases; it has been almost unilaterally a matter of penny wise and dollar foolish for years now. The only encouraged growth has been in rampant gossip, backstabbing and tattling on one another, creating a rancid work environment or grounds for firing.

Monday’s treatise on the slaughter of jobs, careers and people at the USBC, written by Jeff Richgels for www.11thframe.com, amounts to nothing more than an apology for the USBC’s intolerable environment and unconscionable glut. He mistakenly compares it to what’s wrong with the disappearance of newspapers, as if apples and bowling balls are interchangeable. (Jeff: Newspapers have collapsed, thanks to clueless publishers and editors, most of whom care nothing about what their readers want and demand. The public, subsequently, has stopped subscribing, thus, impacting funds and jobs for shoe-leather reporters. Notice that magazines still flourish, yet people want community journalism in their dailies, weeklies, monthlies. Publishers are incapable of “getting” that.)

Richgels references declining USBC funds and MIA bowlers before mentioning the recent www.bowlersjournal.com interview with shiny-new USBC President Andrew Cain, equating lowered funding with the need for cuts.

Cuts? This is bloodletting to the point of Et tu, Brute.

There’s also a spanking new executive director in Chad Murphy, and in reviewing the new lineup of USBC “leaders,” one suspects that the sum of all of their ages is well under 65, collectively. There’s security for ya.

Former Executive Director Stu Upson departed lurchingly in February, followed by a shocking parade of vice presidents, managers, directors, board members, coordinators and more — people with decades of experience, wisdom and value. People who know bowling from pin-setting on up and can lead if the current connivers with shiny-new titles and promotions would just get out of the way. The recently departed are people who ran a pretty great organization, one that didn’t have to worry about dwindling numbers and mistrust from bowlers or employees.

And, in addition to that executive Parade of Tears, it’s been raining on the rank-and-file and lower management, mowing down tournament managers, lane monitors, score-keepers, brackets runners, supervisors, registrants, and many more. At the same time, they have cheapened events and prizes per the bowlers themselves, and most see no point in paying dues and fees that continue to rise, with little in return.

Tournaments are repeatedly held in less-than-popular locales (despite promises of holding them elsewhere), greatly impacting attendance and dulling the experience for bowlers, yet employees are repeatedly trained to remain excited about “selling” those locations. Corners are cut without regard for quality, while waste is rampant, such as jetting USBC higher-ups all over the country — and world — often on mysterious missions right in the midst of an event.

Meanwhile, multimillion-dollar homages have sprouted up that serve no bowler, such as the questionable relocation of the headquarters from Wisconsin to Texas years back. That decision is still rocking.

So, this is nothing less than a hostile takeover poised to ruin an age-old sports organization. And, it’s been happening, right before our very eyes, since at least 2008.

And, this is why it ISN’T OK to be casual about it: This behavior is typical of today’s American corporate philosophy, centered on the all-too-frequent mentality that guts companies, ruins industries and leaves people’s shattered lives in the wake. It is NOT all right to excuse that, and it is not all right to treat people this way. And by people, I mean the USBC employees and its “customers,” the bowlers.

No, there will probably not be a government bailout for what the USBC is doing to this venerable sport and organization. But, at this rate, the USBC will need one. It has been steadily alienating bowlers, proprietors, employees and the public in droves for years now, and they are mad. Even the much-debated alliance several years ago with proprietors to boost finances has fallen short. That’s why people are staying away from tournaments and boycotting other USBC ideas.

Amid the USBC dust, there are those few left standing who will, some day, have their day of reckoning, too. Those are the few now with new promotions, of course, and not an ounce of remorse for the souls they scrambled over while clawing their way to the top of today’s USBC.

Technology is being highly touted and incorporated steadily, but the real test, as bowlers go, is where is this sport going? The PTB repeatedly talks about “growing’ the sport, then cuts it down at every chance. None of that is lost on either the bowlers — or the employees. That’s probably why we’re not around anymore.

I have worked media and other positions with the USBC in the Detroit area, and traveled with them, along with many others, to live out of state for 4-5 months at a time since 2008. I’ve uprooted my life and family, lived in temporary housing from New York to Nevada, and worked conscientiously each year my services were requested, working 10-hour days and 6-day weeks, and often longer. I’ve provided important input in think-tank meetings, carried out endless errands and fallen into bed exhausted, as have my coworkers.

I’ve come to know those coworkers like family, bowlers like warm friends and even (now-terminated) upper management as personable, caring people. These are people who inspire with their passion, who love the sport, have decades of experience and are fondly respected by our “customers,” the league bowlers.

Yes, bowling isn’t what it was in the 1940s and 1950s, when everybody bowled on work leagues, dated in bowling alleys and families centered their activities and social lives in those buildings.

Still, bowling is a vital and active sport in many places. It’s a mainstay on military bases. It’s so sought after in many countries that multiple 24-hour centers are busy year-round. It is wildly popular in Malaysia, where they have several prestigious bowling universities and also compete heartily for scholarships. And, on and on. We could learn a lot from that.

WHAT’S wrong HERE? What’s wrong is that American bowling leadership is too busy with their technology — tweeting, live-streaming, blogging, boring themselves and us to death — to actually come up with answers. That’s because they lack the leadership with in-depth knowledge, experience and wisdom about their “own” sport. There is room to think outside the box and reinvent this sport in America, but there isn’t much time. Just ask the bowlers.

Wendy Clem / Write For You

I cry foul — and there are many lined up behind me. It’s time for a new national bowling organization; in fact, it’s PAST time. Practice is over; let’s play for score!

Wendy began work in 2008 for the United States Bowling Congress (USBC), both as a Media Specialist for the annual Women’s International Bowling Tournaments, then as the VIP Program Coordinator for the USBC’s Men’s Open annual tournament. Her public accessibility and openness at discussing issues with assorted bowlers, owners and leaders within the organizational structure resulted in multiple whistle-blowers coming forward to provide much damning information as to what was going on behind the scenes. This 2014 Examiner article earned more than 2,000 “likes” within hours of its original posting. In the ensuing few years, almost all of her coworkers, management and even many top-level USBC leaders were let go, as was she. Today, those positions are held by members of the BPAA and their families and friends or those strictly loyal to the still-murky tenets of the BPAA. To date, there has been no investigation into the continuing financial failures of privately-owned bowling centers nationwide, resulting in those properties being scooped up on the cheap by organizations with ties to the BPAA. There has also been no interest by authorities in monies being laundered through the USBC by an internationally-based, longtime crime organization, per knowledgeable sources.

This first was published in September, 2014 at Examiner.com, and appears now at Linkedin. Tips of questionable practices and alleged illegal actions continue to pour in.


Adrenal Function and Maintenance

BY Wendy Clem 
Published on November 29, 2014

With adrenal glands producing hormones to combat stress, it's only natural that today's abundance of pressures leads to a discussion of ways to combat them. But, how much do we know about adrenal function and maintenance? Local experts weigh in on the details.

Doug Cutler, N.D. of Cutler Integrative Medicine in Bingham Farms, describes four levels of adrenal reaction as follows: Hyper Alarm Phase, aka “Fight or Flight” Response; the Resistance Phase; the Exhaustion Phase; and finally, the Burnout Phase. He explains that, in the event of Adrenal Fatigue, “Patients who are in different stages of adrenal dysfunction will have differing hormones and neurotransmitters imbalanced.”
"A common complaint," says Laura Kovalcik, D.O., of Clarkston's The Downing Clinic, is fatigue related to the myriad of stress caused by modern living — marital and job pressures, care-giving of elderly parents and financial problems, to name a few. That is followed by frustration due to general insomnia in the U.S. and over-exposure to electronics such as cell phones and household smart meters that measure electricity usage in the home and transmit the information to the utility, called EMF, or electromagnetic frequency exposure.

She does not identify such Adrenal Exhaustion as a warning sign. Instead," she says, "it is the result of a gradual condition. People go to bed tired, wake tired, can't sleep and have lack of enjoyment overall. And in extreme situations, a chronic condition results because the body begins to break down."

Dr. James Lewerenz, of Longevity Health Institute and Lewerenz Medical Center in Rochester Hills and Madison Heights, adds that a typical Adrenal Fatigue patient encounters a long-lasting stressful event — from months' to years' worth. It's a matter of “wired and tired,” in a cycle of never-ending, extreme exhaustion. Cortisol, one of the stress hormones produced by the adrenals, is imperative in survival during a “Flight or Fight” response. But, bursts of it are not meant to be sustained for long periods of time.

“You can almost see this developing, as it unfolds,” Lewerenz said. “The old saying, 'What goes up, must come down' is the same for your adrenals. Too much stress without the balance of recovery — sleep, good nutrition, spiritual harmony — eventually leads to a burnout, or Adrenal Fatigue, caused by too low of a cortisol response.”

He adds that what occurs is the body's equivalent of screaming, “Time out! You are killing us!” Typical related fatigue can include low energy, brain fog, dizziness or lightheadedness, sensitivity to light, low blood pressure, cravings for salt or sugar and general over-sensitivity to most stimuli.

A patient of Dr. Cutler's describes additional symptoms as becoming lightheaded when standing up or taking showers, shaking hands and blurred vision, nausea, inflammation, joint pain and extreme fatigue. "It was caused by her constant cortisol production," he explains, "that took away from other hormones in a condition called pregnenolone steal. That creates another set of health issues."

Certified Nutritional Counselor Lee Rossano, of Lake Orion's Advanced Nutritional Solutions, has found that Adrenal Fatigue is becoming more common, with many physicians ignoring the adrenals.

"As a result," she says, "it is not generally treated until in the final stages of failure, such as with the emergence of Addison's Disease. Patients arrive feeling overwhelmed by their lives and edgy, irritable, depressed or anxious, unaware that the adrenals are the culprit. Possible root causes could include viruses, out-of-balance sex hormones and diets high in processed foods."

I was always so driven and motivated until one day I wasn’t. Getting out of bed felt like my greatest task of the day and I wondered if I would ever have my drive and energy back. Until I healed my adrenals, no amount of coffee or caffeine would provide the energy I was used to. I began to implement relaxing activities into my nighttime routine, started eating a whole foods diet and taking my personalized supplement plan. I finally felt like myself again and couldn’t wait to get back to my to-do list and conquer each day! I will continue to live this lifestyle, realizing if my adrenals aren’t happy, I’m not happy! ~From a patient of Lee Rossano's
“Clients can barely open their eyes in the morning," says Rossano, and simple tasks like going to the grocery store feel overwhelming, and they find themselves operating in panic mode most of their days. It is difficult for them to function in their everyday lives and jobs, not to mention taking care of a family. Society is moving away from a relaxing life and many people have minimal down-time. When they do relax, they spend it on their phones or social media looking at other people’s lives. When we begin to move away from taking care of ourselves, we lose the ability to handle stress, and we then walk ourselves right into adrenal fatigue.”
Catherine Waller, M.D., of Waller Wellness Center in Rochester Hills, most frequently treats adrenal stress and adrenal fatigue, with the former ironically characterized by an over-production of cortisol. "That," she says, "is a typical response to health conditions such as psychological stress, inadequate/interrupted sleep, blood sugar dysregulation, inflammation, pain, anxiety, over-scheduled lives, toxic exposures, overuse of stimulants, thyroid problems, nutritional deficiencies and more."

“Over-production of cortisol can promote further problems as conditions progress to advanced and profound adrenal fatigue, which then produces too little cortisol,” adds Waller.

Following diagnosis, effective medication is important, concur our experts.

I was always energetic, but after donating blood in December, 2005, noticed a severe change. I couldn't get out of bed for three months. I was so weak and tired, was becoming intolerant of people and angry all the time. After doing some research, I was tested and learned I had adrenal fatigue. After I started taking the prescribed supplements I felt better right away. I enjoy my life, because I’m not so wound up anymore. I can relax and breathe. ~47 year-old Annette T., a patient of Dr. Waller's
Dr. Kovalcik is a strong proponent of the common good-health denominator: changes in lifestyle and diet. Keeping a regular sleep schedule by rising and retiring at consistent times and eating regular meals containing good protein and organic vegetables are also key factors.

“Doing a liver cleanse can be beneficial,” she says, urging additional support for the thyroid. “Changing stressors may be necessary, like switching jobs as an extreme example—and using low-level exercise is important. However, exercising too hard can be detrimental.”

"A hospital worker and patient," explains Kovalcik, "exhausted by too many nights on-call and weekends in a traditional hospital environment, had come to resent the job.

Feeling bad all the time, she went to bed tired and woke up tired. When family plans were made, she just wanted to stay home all the time. Irritable and frequently angry or crying, she chose to finally change jobs. Able to get rest and eat better, she took time to enjoy her surroundings, working in the garden and exercising."

"Adrenal supplements and IV therapy also helped," she adds, "and during the course of 18 months, healing occurred. Although the occasional bad day happens now, she recognizes the symptoms and how to schedule daily eating, sleeping and taking time for herself, and to begin supplements again if stress is occurring."

Dr. Waller studies patient lifestyles and stress as pivotal aspects for diagnosis and treatment. She supports intake of vitamins and minerals, but through IV's rather than via digestive processes. “We often begin by testing cortisol levels in saliva," she explains. "We also utilize specific supplements to either raise or lower cortisol levels, accordingly, and in cases of advancement, we prescribe low-dosed hydro-cortisone to aid in function until improvement is made.”

Other important aspects in treating adrenal fatigue include addressing gut health, and possible chronic infections.

“The HPTA Axis involving the hypothalamic, pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands is often overlooked by conventional medicine,” says Cutler, “but plays a pivotal role in overall health, which can easily be destabilized by emotional stressors.”

He adds that although life always provides stressors, it's how we handle them that makes a positive or negative affect on our health.

“Consistent exercise, utilizing daily stress outlets, and eating an organic, non-inflammatory diet–while supplementing for nutritional needs–helps patients achieve optimal health,” says Cutler.

Lewerenz urges the use of Vitamin C to restore balance, taken orally or through IV.

Likewise, Hilda (“Dr. Hilda”) Lauderman, R.N., Ph.D, of Davison, uses natural approaches, including supplements and homeopathics and other natural approaches.

Kovalcik says, “Recovery is slow; I tell patients that it took them a while to get there, it will take some time to get better. Once adrenals have been exhausted, they tend to be a bit fragile. In one patient's case, it took about 18 months.”

Rossano is a proponent of relaxing activities—yoga, deep breathing—and throwing off toxic relationships, healing the mind “and falling in love with life again.”

“Sleep is one of the most important healers,” she says, “as is sea salt in water. Staying up late at night damages the adrenals and the most restorative sleep is between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. or between 7 and 9 a.m.”

Rossano utilizes B vitamins, magnesium, glandulars and healing herbs.

Wendy Clem is a writer/editor for Natural Awakenings and resides with her family in Roseville, MI.

This article appeared in the September, 2016 issue of the East Michigan Natural Awakenings Magazine.