I know it’s not the most popular sport in the world, but bowling intrigues me.
I have always been attracted to sports or games with angles. I was a wiz at geometry in high school. I love billiards, pool and snooker and was quite the hustler back in my 20s. I love watching Olympic curling. I played about 2,000 games of Wii Bowling during the Wii’s popularity.
There is something about the game of bowling. Now, we’ve all bowled, I’m sure. And if you have gone a few times, even accidentally, you have gotten a strike. And the pros sometimes don’t get a strike, so there would be a small change for an amateur to beat a pro on any given day. The only thing different than the pros and the schmoes is consistency. I like that in a game.
I watched the finals of one of those televised tournaments where the winner bowled a 299, threw a 9 on the final ball and missed a perfect game by that single pin. But that wasn’t the best part. The loser bowled a 100. He battled to not finish with a 99. The announcers said it was the first time they ever saw a guy beat another guy by 199 pins.
When I was in junior high in Russell, Kan., our PE teacher, Mr. Most, taught us how to keep score in bowling. Back then, they didn’t have the fancy computers keeping score for you like they do now.
We bowled a bit in class with rubber balls in the gymnasium and I fell in love with it. My father signed me up for a summer bowling league and I even won a few trophies. We even won a trophy in a father-son tournament.
As I grew, I only bowled for fun, but I wanted to be good. Being consistent is harder than it looks. I think my lifetime high score is 227, and I think I only bowled one game with a clean sheet with no open frames. Like I said, consistency is hard.
It’s fun now, watching bowling and the trend of two-handed bowlers. The better pros are now adopting the two-handed throw which puts more spin and a harsher angle into the pocket, spraying pins all over the place. I would love to try that, but my 52-year-old back won’t allow it.
Back about a decade ago, the Professional Bowlers Tour came to Tulsa, but bowled their preliminary rounds at The Lanes at Coffee Creek in Owasso.
I attended the qualifying and got to rub elbows with some of those pros I have watched over the years. It is a very fan-friendly atmosphere — what other sport can you actually talk to the competitors during a tournament?
It’s funny — they were all really short, much shorter than they look on television.
But it was a great experience.
I was watching YouTube videos one night and ran across a comedian named Jim Gaffigan who did this bit about bowling. It had me rolling.
Here are a few excerpts:
• I went bowling, I don’t mean to brag. Really there are two types of people that go bowling. There are people who really love bowling and then there are the people that are like, “Wouldn’t it be hysterical if we went bowling?”
• No one is every jealous when they hear you went bowling.
• Bowling’s great because you’ve got to love a sport you can eat while you play it. Never see that in tennis.
• There’s an ash tray built into the bowling equipment. Poker doesn’t even have that.
• And the hand dryer thing. If you’re sweating while you’re bowling, you are out of shape.
• I saw this college team championship and each team had a coach. What strategy is a bowling coach giving? “This time Timmy, I want you to knock down all the pins. Trust me.”