Have You Bowled Lately?

bowling-clipart-silhouette-2Yes I’m going to talk about bowling. Don’t zone out on me yet. I know some people think of bowling as a boring sport.  What other sport can you play it and eat nachos between frames?

Yesterday I went to a bowling alley for the first time since I stopped playing. It has been years since I have played and I missed it. Unfortunately I am not able to bowl anymore due to a bulged disc in my neck/back. The strain from bowling would certainly increase the chance of me suffering in pain for three months. I’m just not willing to risk it.

I have loved bowling since I learned how to play when I was in the Air Force. I got a late start to the sport of bowling because I was not allowed to bowl when I was growing up. As a preacher’s kid in a strict Pentecostal organization, bowling alleys were on our list of don’ts. You were a sinner if you bowled. I think it was something about bowling alleys serving alcoholic beverages or something.

One day when I had some free time at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi, I decided to give it a try. I had never bowled before and unfortunately I had no one to bowl with and I was completely ignorant of the rules. This was back in the day of manually scoring your games. I just picked me a ball and bowled until I was done. Somehow I had managed to bowl a whole game and even had some strikes.

I later learned the rules and how to bowl. I figured out the physics of how to bowl which is a combination of power and placement. I never had the chance to join a team or play in a league but I loved to bowl. I even bought my own ball, shoes and bag. Yeah, I was that kind of bowling geek and probably a little over the top.

I never achieved my goal of bowling a perfect game but I have come pretty close. I loved the sound of knocking down all the pins.  I never mastered any kind of spin on the ball which is crucial in the physics of bowling successfully but I mastered my own technique of placement.  If you roll the ball consistently in the perfect spot you will usually achieve a high percentage of pin action.   (Look at me talking bowling speak)

When I first bowled with my wife, I told her I wasn’t very good at it but then went to bowl a few strikes and show off. The personalized ball, shoes and bag should have been a dead giveaway. We joke about it now.

I was tempted yesterday to throw a few balls down the lane but I thought better of it. All it takes is the wrong twist or turn to aggravate my bulged discs. So I stood and watched.

Before my dad entered the ministry (and bowling became a sin), he had won several trophies in bowling. I suppose bowling was in my genes. I might have played the sport sooner had the church rules not kept me from trying.

Did you know there are high school teams now? Even the state where I reside (Tennessee) offers bowling as a high school sport.

There is also college bowling but not quite the bowling their college football counterparts get more attention for.  In fact, the Vanderbilt women’s bowling team won the 2018 National Championship and are currently ranked 2nd in the nation behind McKendree  (this is a school located in Lebanon, Illinois).   Nebraska is the dominant team in women’s college bowling with five national championships.   Robert Morris is the top ranked team in Men’s Bowling.

Perhaps I could coach a bowling team but, really, what would you do?  Not much strategy just knock down all the pins and we’re good!

Sorry but I still love bowling even if I can do it anymore.

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