Starting with the upcoming season, the United States Bowling Congress will no longer hand out award patches. Instead, they’ll give out magnets. They’ll also be making a few changes to the awards themselves, but that’s not important here. What’s important is they’re taking away our patches.
If you’re not familiar with the award patch, it’s simple: a bowler who reaches a certain milestone (example, his first 200 game) receives a patch from the USBC, commemorating his accomplishment. There is a campy joy in receiving one of these things.
This campy joy brought about a common phrase in my Trios league: “There goes my patch!” A person who shouts this means something’s gone wrong, putting a USBC award patch out of reach. Pursuing various patches is a highlight of this particular league.
All my patches, and my USBC wallet, are in my bowling bag. But therein lies the problem in the eyes of the USBC—they’re not on my bowling bag.
Nobody Flaunts the Patch
The idea of the patch—and the reason the USBC is switching to magnets—is for bowlers to sew the awards onto their bowling gear and clothes, showing off their accomplishments. The USBC says people haven’t been doing that. That’s true.
In my many years of bowling, I’ve only seen one guy flaunt his patches. He had three patches sewn onto his small, one-ball bag. Some might call it cute. Maybe embarrassing. In any case, he’s the exception. The USBC is right. For the most part, people aren’t displaying the patches, and the new magnets are an attempt to combat that.
Bugsy Kelly of the USBC’s membership-development group told U.S. Bowler Magazine, “Our goal is for members to proudly display their achievements on their refrigerators at home or cubicles at work.”
Are Magnets the Answer?
No USBC magnet will make it to my refrigerator, filing cabinet, automobile, nor anything else made of metal. My magnets will sit in my bowling bag next to my patches. I, and I’m guessing most bowlers, have no desire to show these things off, even if we do spend so much effort trying to earn them.
But for some, maybe the USBC will achieve its goal. It takes much less effort to put a magnet on a fridge than to sew a patch on a shirt. For this reason, it probably is a good switch.
Not for me, though. If this works for the USBC, I support it, but I will not partake. They’ll always be patches to me. And they’ll always rest, out of sight, in my bowling bag. Where will you put yours?
Photo © 2009 Jef Goodger