Former Pine Bluff Commercial sports reporter, Mark Miller, the author of a new bowling history book, will hold a book signing from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Thunder Lanes Bowling Center, 1600 E. Harding Ave.
“Bowling America’s Greatest Pastime” not only illuminates the history of a sport he loves, but Miller also provides an interesting insight into the American social character and how it has evolved over time.
Well-prepared to write the book, Miller has been a sports writer for more than three decades and worked in public relations for both the United States Bowling Congress and its predecessor organization, the American Bowling Congress, starting in 1985. Miller came to Texas from Wisconsin when the USBC moved its headquarters to Arlington, Texas, in 2008. While at the USBC, Miller helped establish the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame, which he used as a source for both information and historic photos for the book about bowling.
Miller traces the story of organized bowling back to ancient Egypt and surmises that even cave men likely played games that were similar. The 64-page book features more than 70 pictures, mostly from the collections of the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame and United States Bowling Congress at the International Bowling Campus in Arlington. The narrative is well-organized and relevant even if you aren’t an avid bowler or spectator for professional and leading amateur events. A history enthusiast will enjoy reading about nine pins, the sport of Rip Van Winkle, and advances in bowling’s popularity in the 1800s, especially in communities that had a large influx of German immigrants.
As an organized sport, bowling long tried to establish itself as a sport for white males, but ended up far ahead of other sports and organizations when it came to including women and minorities. While Miller covers some serious issues, the book also takes a fun and nostalgic look at bowling. The cover features a family bowling scene from the 1950s.
Miller arrived at The Commercial in November of 1978 from his hometown of Milwaukee after graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Two years later, he left The Commercial in November of 1980 to accept a job at The Pantagraph in Bloomington, Ill., where he was a sports writer/copy editor for five years.
In September 1985, he started as a public relations assistant with the American Bowling Congress in Greendale, Wis., a Milwaukee suburb. He moved to the Bowling Incorporated division in February 1997 and to the United States Bowling Congress when it started in Jan. 1, 2005. The organization moved to Arlington in November 2008, and he was the corporate communications manager when he was laid off Feb. 8, 2010. Since that time he has been doing freelance writing and editing.
Miller and his wife and daughter live at Flower Mound, Texas, which is about 10 miles north of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
Individual copies of the book are available on Amazon.com and soon through USBC’s bowl.com web site.