Friday, January 28, 2011

So Is Bowling A Sport or Not? Discuss.

I’ve heard it said that bowling cannot be considered a real sport. Why? Because any activity in which beer can be drunk during play should never count as a real sport. Okay, I’ll buy that.

I haven’t heard that bowling could be considered comedy either, but when I bowled last week it was pretty funny considering there was a pratfall from yours truly and everything. Unintentional, of course. But if I’d been watching myself, I probably would’ve laughed.

Yep, I took a header when my heretofore reliable (and cute) hot pink-and-black bowling shoes were placed upon my feet in the warm bowling alley after having been left all week in the freezing garage. Condensation is more than a weather-related term. Who knew?

I was shocked when I suddenly landed in a heap on the floor after my first throw. But I was even more shocked when, after hauling myself back upright, I looked up and saw that I’d somehow managed to knock down nine of the pins. I figured on the way down I might have lost control of the ball and flung it across the next several lanes. Good thing I didn’t. It’s also a good thing it didn’t pop-up like in softball and come back down and conk me on the head while I was crumpled up on the floor of Lane 5.

I guess I didn’t know bowling could be a contact sport. (Oh wait…that’s right. We’re not calling it a “sport.”)

At any rate, the folks in the neighboring lanes who saw me take the fall were very kind and solicitous and didn’t even snicker once. Well, not in front of me, anyway. Once they ascertained that I was ambulatory, they gave me a sympathetic nod as if to say, “Better you than me, lady!” and then went back to concentrating on their own games.

After that embarrassing debacle, I realized I still had to throw my second ball. With any delay of game, my second throw is usually a gutter ball. But I surprised myself even further when, after tentatively tip-toeing up to the line, I threw the ball…and picked up the spare!

And then, of course, I slunk off back to my seat to nurse my stinging hand and smarting knee.

The only saving grace was the fact that the other members of my own bowling team missed my free fall since they were too busy drinking beer and shuffling cards for poker. I wouldn’t have heard the end of it all night long. They’d have been talking about something totally unrelated like the weather or something and then would have said, “…yeah, it’s kind of like when Jane fell on her face up there on Lane 5!” And then they would have laughed and laughed.

Or maybe they wouldn’t have. It depends on how much they believe in karma and that nasty little thing called “payback.”

Besides, our team needs to stick together since we’re in last place. (How did that happen?) And the sad thing is, we’re bowling pretty well. We’re just bowling against opponents who are bowling even better.

Personally, I haven’t had such good bowling scores as I have had these past few weeks. I mean, after taking a dive on that first frame, I would have thought my “bowling concentration” would have been affected and I might have had a bad game. Not so. I bowled 151 that first game. My average is 134 and I somehow also bowled higher than my average the next two games.

Of course, this inevitably means that I should expect a week sometime in the not-too-distant future where I can’t manage a spare or a strike to save my tuchus. This will be a relief, actually. I am normally a 115 average bowler. My cute bowling shoes couldn’t possibly have made so much of a difference that I’m bowling 19 pins above my normal average. Or…could they? You can never discount the cuteness factor in bowling.

And, that too, my friends, is why bowling cannot be considered a “sport.” In real sports, shoes and clothing (and helmets and pads, etc.) are functional. When you get to wear hot pink-and-black bowling shoes that match your hot pink-and-black bowling shirt with the cute pink panther patch on the pocket, you should automatically disqualify bowling as a sport.

Well, in my opinion, anyway. I’m sure professional bowlers would beg to differ. But then, I’ve never seen a professional bowler wearing cute hot pink-and-black bowling shoes.

Meanwhile, I’ll be bowling again on Sunday. Let’s hope there are no repeat performances on the pratfalls. From me, anyway. Oh, and I will happily consider any strikes and/or spares as a bonus.


  1. As a unrepentant sports "addict", let me help you with this question, if I may. No, bowling is not a sport, but then again, for my money, neither is golf, nor any baseball game in which the Chicago Cubs are involved. The activity level notwithstanding, any "sport" that involves beer, hot pink anything, incomprehensible scoring and beer (I said beer twice, didn't I?) cannot be classified as a "sport". (Actually, I believe the inclusion of beer is bowling's most endearing quality.)
    This would seem to indicate that new terminology should be invented to accurately describe activities such as bowling, golf and that goofy-looking thing they do in the Olympics where a person slides what appears to be pregnant hockey puck with a handle down an "alley" while two people of dubious coordination sweep in front of the "puck" with brooms. Might I suggest we use the term "schneeka", for lack of a better word, to describe these various non-sport activities?
    I believe I could be okay with the consumption of beer during a sporting event; in fact, I'm in favor of the consumption of beer during ANY event. But an activity, other than cleaning, that involves brooms, or hot-pink and black shoes, sorry, that's not a sport.
    Great post.

  2. Thanks, PJTT!

    But...I'm sorry...I refuse to refer to bowling as schneeka. Now, that thing where they sweep the big dumbbell on the ice? Okay, we can call THAT activity "schneeka."

    PS. My hot-pink-and-black bowling shoes are STILL cute! (Plus, the more beers,the cuter the shoes!)

  3. I don't know how long it's been that you were in a bar late in the evening, but, I believe that the same point of view about "the more beers, the cuter the shoes" applies to members of the opposite gender as well. I believe the appropriate term is "beer goggles".
    Of course, I have never personally experienced this phenonema, but one hears stories.

  4. Hello there! :) i'm a 19 year old chick who just graduated high school and moved to california on a bowling scholarship. I compete in JBT (junior bowler's tour) SOUTHWEST. I love the sport just as much as any other athlete loves their sport... And yes, i do look good on the lanes in my pink and black shoes. ;)

  5. Except bowling isn't a sport. Your definition may be anything with physical activity but a sport is anything that's has any sort of physical contactwith another being by definition. Football, soccer, baseball, boxing, etc. is a sport but golf and bowling is not a sport if you follow the definition.

  6. A "sport" is any physical activity that has rules and tiers of participation. Bowling qualifies. The main problem is that bowling exists as two entirely different activities. The one where you where flashy shoes and throw glow in the dark balls and drink beer and eat pizza is definitely a game (or simply a leisure activity). But if you are bowling where you understand oil conditions (look it up) and ball physics (most pros bring six balls or more to a tournament) and must beat out 80 other bowlers in a 9 game set (so you can continue on to bowl more games) - well that's a sport - and a tough one.

    1. This link does a better job saying the same thing:

  7. So now Wii & Kinect are "sports"?!?!