Hi Dave and all,
First let me apologize for not being there with you. I don’t say this lightly when I say that one of my favorite meetings of the year is the time I spend with the MHSIBCA and I so appreciate the support and help that this association has given me personally as well as professionally to help guide bowling through these challenging times we are all living through.
This update is designed to give you some items and where they stand at this moment. I write this at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 15 and it is entirely possible by the time that Dave delivers this to the AGM that things will have changed. Unfortunately, this day by day, hour by hour change is now a part of our lives.
At this moment, we are planning on a bowling season, we are planning to have the bowling season start with practice and tryouts for bowling on Nov. 12th in the UP and Nov. 16th in the LP. What I said in an earlier update to Dave still remains, we have to start with the mindset that we have nothing and we want to build to something. That means what we’ve learned from fall sports is that if we can get coaches, athletes, parents and others in the sport community to “buy in” the health and safety restrictions then we can return to play and have a culmination to the season. This has been true in my fall sports of Girls Golf and Cross Country. Girls Golf has the Finals this weekend and while not the same as it normally is, after initially shrinking the field size, we put it back at its’ original level of 108 golfers per division at the Finals but limited the Finals to one day of competition (18 holes instead of 36 holes as normal) . Cross Country again is having everyone compete that normally would have but we added another level of regionals to reduce the field sizes and the race in each division will be split in two in XC. I give you these examples to show you that while it may not be what we are used to, it is something and we will need to be creative at times to work within guidelines and mandates to get something done.
Here are some key things coming up in the next few weeks in the high school bowling world…..
- The MHSAA Bowling rules meeting will be released sometime next week via MHSAA.com. All MHSAA rules meetings this school year are online, so my in person bowling rules meetings are unfortunately cancelled this year and all will need to log in to their MHSAA account to watch/hear the bowling rules meeting and get credit for this MHSAA coaching requirement.
- The MHSAA return to bowl guidance and documents will also be released in the next few weeks (prior to the end of October) as we work with both National and Statewide Sports Medicine committees and MDHHS to determine what we can do and should do. Much like previously published fall sport guidance and protocols, we will have best practices, requirements for regular season competition and a starting point for our season in these documents.
- The MHSAA Bowling Committee will meeting via Zoom during the last week of October to “make up” for the meeting lost in March at the start of the pandemic. This committee meeting will bring forward items that may need to be approved for this season and its’ primary focus will be on starting the season, focusing on the tournament and how we may brainstorm and generate ideas on how to best have a tournament to culminate the season. If there are changes to MHSAA bowling rules that would need approval, those would need to go to the MHSAA Representative Council for approval at their December meeting.
- The MHSAA bowling season will start on November 12 in the UP and November 16 in LP with practices and tryouts not starting prior to these dates.
- MHSAA bowling competition may begin on Nov. 28th for the UP and Dec. 5th for the LP.
At this time ALL of the following are being considered but at this time NOTHING is set in stone……..some general limitations, changes, guidelines and proposals that are under consideration for the MHSAA bowling season include the following:
- Limiting schools allowed in a bowling center for invites or conferences to 8 total – this may mean having to adjust these tournaments and large conferences to smaller divisions by bowling center, by an AM and a PM session within the same center – 8 teams come in the AM , 8 more in the afternoon, by geography, by average, etc.
- limited or NO spectators
- recommendations on limiting travel between centers and communities
- bowling roster changes from 7 to 6 athletes
- no switching of lanes or pairs
- max of two coaches per team
- masks being worn while NOT in active participation – essentially everywhere in a bowling center except while on the approach
- changing the Regional and Final tournament structure- including # of Baker and regular games
- Changing the MHSAA tournament to three levels instead of two to reduce the field size at any one center, open up more centers to host, etc.
- Change the MHSAA tournament to 5 divisions
- a focus on “pods” or limit of “congestion” and “crossing” of teams in the same center
- being creative and potentially matching scores from your home center with another team in live time
These are all ideas and thoughts at this time but are all being considered.
In the end, there is much to accomplish if we want to have a high school bowling season in Michigan. The numbers are not trending in a positive way for Covid in the last week in Michigan. We need to be aware of this. Coaches play a huge role in being a mentor, help and best advocate for bowling while showing care, caution and common sense. It is important to not let our guard down as we start the season but have it at its’ highest level of concern to start. You don’t want to be the program or team that has to shut down because of a Covid case or quarantine at Regional time because someone didn’t follow guidelines.
Thanks for letting me be a part of this, if even just my words. Thanks for what you do for kids and be well.