During the 10 days ending last Sunday the big pins were toppling more consistently in the Chicago Coliseum than anywhere else in the U.S. The nation's leading bowlers were throwing their best hooks and body English into the battle for first place in the All-Star, where victory means the national individual championship. On the scene to report the story, which begins on page 6, was SI's bowling reporter, Victor Kalman.
Bowling and writing about bowling have been second nature to Kalman ever since he took over the bowling column in the Long Island Daily Press almost 20 years ago. He soon organized what was then the largest bowling league in the country; and in 1940 he published his own weekly bowling paper, while the newsprint lasted. A good bowler himself, who once rolled the magic 300, Kalman has frequently competed against the stars of the game like Tony Sparando, George Young, Ned Day, Lou Campi, Joe Wilman, Joe Falcaro and Andy Varipapa. For Kalman believes that one of the best ways to report bowling is to get in there and bowl. Not only that, but along with 20 million other men, women and children, he likes to.
When war came, Kalman joined the Marines as a combat correspondent, was later a UP foreign correspondent, and for several years filed his stories from such nonbowling centers as Saipan, Tinian, Peleliu, Okinawa and China.
But last year, with that far behind him, Kalman welcomed the unique opportunity SPORTS ILLUSTRATED offered him—to report bowling regularly, nationally, and as part of the broad perspective of the entire world of sport.
In this enjoyable world, where lately the exceptional development of all sports has been the rule, few know better than Kalman that the phenomenal rise in popularity of bowling has been an exception among exceptions. Its more than 20 million participants make it next to fishing the biggest sport. It is the biggest competitive sport; and it is also a half-billion-dollar industry.
Thanks to air conditioning, bowling has become a round-the-year sport. And new automatic pin-spotters, by eliminating dependence upon the availability of pin boys, are introducing a further change: bowling is now a round-the-clock sport, with many alleys echoing 24 hours a day to the sound of falling pins.
It makes for a full and active schedule for SI's Victor Kalman.