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Spicers following dad's lead

A presidential line runs through the John Spicer and Linda Henley Spicer family with nary a thought of party affiliation or re-election campaigns.

Still, politics are involved that reach to 1975, when Linda's late father, John Henley, was president of the then-Upper Pinellas-West Pasco Men's Association. John Spicer's late father, Charles L., took the gavel in 1979.

"Yes, it does seem to run in the family," said John Spicer, married one year to Linda and living in Safety Harbor.

"It's not coincidental that we are following in their footsteps," he said.

John is president of the Suncoast Association (formerly Upper Pinellas-West Pasco), secretary of the Florida West Zone Association and second vice-president of the Florida State Bowling Association.

By 2005, when the state men's tournament comes to centers in West Pasco and Upper Pinellas counties, Spicer will be president of the state association.

Also that year, the Florida State Women's Association Tournament is in St. Petersburg.

Linda is secretary of the Clearwater Women's Association and assistant executive director of the Suncoast Association.

"The men's associations used to call them secretaries, too, but recently changed that to executive directors," Linda said.

Much in common brought the Spicers together.

Such as their fathers' long-time service to the bowling community, a desire to add to that proud tradition and the Spicers being local high school graduates and outspoken advocates of the game.

With so much on the bowling menu, the Spicers know just what dish to serve first.

"Right now, it's the single-membership organization proposal before the ABC (American Bowling Congress) and the WIBC (Women's International Bowling Congress)," John said.

"Our delegates to the ABC convention earlier this year voted against the proposal because there were portions of it we did not like.

"I think the ABC and WIBC need to get together and iron this out because I'm not sure what the state of bowling will be in the next few years," he said.

The single-membership proposal, rejected by the ABC and WIBC earlier this year, would place the ABC, WIBC, YABA and USA Bowling under one umbrella _ the United States Bowling Congress.

A task force from all four organizations is reworking the proposal for presentation to the delegates at next year's conventions.

"Our CWBA delegates also voted no and also because of some objectionable portions of the proposal," Linda said. "I'm all for consolidation, and I see the merger coming in the next few years.

"What I don't like, however, is that some women and men want the status quo, that is women-only, men-only associations, like we have now.

"In fact, right here in our local associations, there are some people who won't even talk with other people," she said. "It's a shame."

John agreed.

"Yes, I see that, too. What those ABC and WIBC administrators must realize is that we're all volunteers here, doing our jobs because we love the sport and want to serve."

Linda said: "And if they keep messing around, they'll lose us as volunteers."

That would be a shame.

Then, that long presidential line could be broken.

PREP MEETING: Coaches, administrators and sponsors of the Pinellas County High School League will meet 4:30 p.m. July 17 at Seminole Lanes to set up next season's schedule.

League bylaws and the format will be discussed.

Last season, the league's 30th, the Baker System format was introduced with much controversy.

Baker sees each member of a five-player team roll two frames per game, total pins determining the outcome.

Bowlers from the record 49 squads had two regular games and one Baker, eliminating the possibility of the traditional three-game high series and individual averages.

The season starts in August and ends with the state tournament in December.

The Florida High School Athletic Association has recognized prep bowling as a varsity sport, but Pinellas County athletic directors and principals last May tabled a motion to accept.

AROUND THE LANES: High scorers _ Angelo Rampino, 300-689 at Dunedin Lanes; Sean Crosby, 299-696, Seminole; and Rick Langton, 279-279-827, Will Ortez, 300, C. Witt, 299, Bill Ward, 299, and Art Gareau, 299, Liberty. Robert Duck, Jeff Bennett and Chris and Roger Scofield won the Almost Midnight team tournament and $1,000 at Liberty. The Senior Bowlers of America has a scratch tourney at Clearwater's Hall of Fame Lanes on Saturday-July 13. The WIBC Tournament ends Tuesday at National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev.

_ Phil Gulick can be reached at xerxes8msn.com.

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