It`s been a rough start for East High School- first a fire destroyed the football team’s equipment and locker rooms, now another athletic team is left without a place to practice or compete.
AMF Bowling Center in Des Moines has closed, leaving East and other bowling teams with nowhere to meet.
The East High bowling team has had a good relationship with AMF for more than a decade. They have hosted regional meets, home meets, and practices at the facility. So when AMF announced they were closing their doors, with no notice, East High was not only surprised, athletic officials were left scrambling.
“It kind of left us in a desperate situation,” said Ric Powell, the Athletic Director for East High School, “I’m busy trying to find a spot for our team to play and practice at.”
Powell said AMF didn’t even contact them to tell them about the closure. “They didn’t call, they didn’t email they didn’t send us a letter and that`s a little bit shocking,” said Powell.
Powell and the team found out from their former coach Doug Davis. When Davis resigned from the team last year, he took a job with AMF as the Youth Director and Coach. Up until Tuesday, when he was told the business was closing, he coached about 100 kids in a youth league.
“There’s been rumors that the bowling alley was having problems but I was surprised because we built the leagues up, I thought we were don`t fairly well,” said Doug Davis, the Youth Director at AMF Bowling Center.
Where East High’s season doesn’t start for another month, Davis’s teams have already started their bowling season.
Luckily, there are other centers nearby willing to help out, like Premiere Bowling in Pleasant Hill. The manager Dick Lankford hopes to rearrange some of the previous schedules to fit in East High’s teams and any others he can.
“They really didn’t have any other place to go so we need to accommodate people to keep them bowling,” said Lankford, manager of Premiere Bowling and Entertainment.
Lankford is especially looking out for the young bowlers: “That`s where the future is: in the youth and high school teams,” he said.
AMF also hosted two other high schools, a college team, and several adult leagues. Many of those leagues already paid for their season. Davis said he doesn’t think getting that money back will be a problem.
We called AMF officials Wednesday afternoon. Employees at the now closed location refused to comment and hung up. Corporate officials with AMF Inc. never responded.