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Are Maine fans changing sports?

The staid silence of the past is being replaced by raucous cheering

PORTLAND, Maine — It's just a bowling tournament, who cares how fans act? The leaders of the sport of bowling say they do...very much.

Gone are the days where gentlemen sat quietly behind Earl Anthony and Pete Webber wearing suits and ties.  They would applaud when one of these super stars made a strike.

In Portland, fans are dressed in costume and chant, cheer and holler as bowlers prepare to bowl.  If you can't concentrate in this environment, give up the sport.

It's a riot to watch. 

"It's what bowling is in Portland," laughed a man who identified himself as Cygnus X-1.  Each fan has a bowling nickname.  Cygnus X-1 comes from a suite of music composed by the rock band Rush.

Fans are dressed in zany costumes as they cheer. "Let's Go-Mez!" as Andres Gomez prepares to bowl. 

The bowlers love it.  Jason Belmonte is considered one of the greatest bowlers of all time.  He has won 12 major championships, more than any other bowler.

"The last thing I would want is anyone to go to a sporting environment and be quiet or not enjoy it to the fullest extent that they could," said the Australian.

Tom Clark is Commissioner of the PBA. He sees this type of activity as a boon to the sport and wouldn't be surprised if it spread in bowling as well as golf and tennis to name just a couple. 

"It could become historic,"  he said with his trademark smile. 

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