The sound of a bowling ball spiraling into a strike is one of my favorite. To me, it invokes a feeling of accomplishment. Myself, I was on a bowling team for 6 years. Bowling is a positive way to exercise and be focused as a team.
History of Bowling
At 7,000 years old, bowling originally started in Egypt. Interestingly enough, a bowling ball and pins were found buried in an Egyptian child’s grave. Flash forward to the mid-1800s and bowling was all the rave in the United States. New York housed the first indoor bowling lanes, using 9 pins instead of the now-a-day 10 pins. The American Bowling Conference (ABC) was founded for men only in 1895, whereas the WIBC for women came to be in 1916 (www. hanoverhornets.org). Bowling has been also called kegling, nine pins, and skittles. The word “bowl” came from “bubble” originally. Bowling can be either indoors or outdoors.
Each bowling game consists of 10 frames. There are four basic shots in bowling: hook the ball, straight ball, curveball and back up the ball. The hook ball consistently sends the pins screaming in strikes more than the others. The straight ball bases its use off the arrows and aiming straight down the center arrow. A curveball is a zany form (and wilder) of the hook ball. The backup ball is advised not to be used, as it works from left to right.
How to Bowl for Dummies
Just like those infamous “How To…For Dummies” books, I will break down the bowling steps for you. 1. Aim for the arrow, not the pins. 2. If the ball travels too far left, move your feet further left (Move the way the ball misses). Regarding the follow thru, the thumb is the first member to come out, followed by the fingers. I call it the “handshake,” but make sure you are extending your opposite arm for the balance upon release of the ball. Above all, make certain to use the proper weight of the ball.
Always Late Was How It Went
I remember those Friday mid-afternoon bowling meetings. The time we bowled at Super Bowl was at 4:15 PM. We would hustle in like a bunch of honey-starved bees, getting our bowling shoe sizes and knowing we would have to bowl one game entirely by ourselves. (Five minutes late does not cut it.)
The First Bowling Year
You win some and you lose some. Bowling averages were our driving force, and mine that started at 112 skyrocketed up to 142. I remember I dropped the dense ball so heavily and its slight left curve as the ball gave a spare. When getting the First Place award, I remember a sense of pride pouring through. I knew I would continue onward.
My High Game
On a bowling team, each participant is given personal patches for high game, high series, and a trophy for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. Bowling in Ashwaubenon Lanes, I scored a 240 game. I remember the natural high of victory after each strike, my eyes adverting to the exuberantly fast-falling pins. I, later, was given that patch for High Game.
Missed Pins- and Days
Some days, we just get a little sick… or we are tired. I remember looking down at my glittery, flashy red ball and wondering how its dense, 12-pound mass spiraled like a cascading firework. My fingers would hurt sometimes the last game, and I would miss those spares. Dealing with the frustration of missing pins (and even missing a few days) could be a challenge.
It Takes a Teacher
A plethora of the time, we participants needed a coach. Even though there are a handful of coaches, each league had its own coach. For the “Munchies” league I was in, our team was called the Sun Chips. Our coach had me straighten my arm more and release the ball with more consistency. His jovial laugh inspired me to keep bowling- and learning.
After Bowling Events
At the end of each bowling game, there was an arcade room filled with air hockey, racing games, and a deer-hunting game. Air hockey became a victim of our frustrations if we failed to bowl “perfectly.” Playing the racecar game with friends always proved to be competitive, especially after losing a bowling game (or even more so- losing a series). Knocking into a CGI cow on the screen always seemed to do the trick.
In the beginning, one makes many gutter balls or misses those spares. Before beginning to approach the pins, this term is called an “address.” It can be particularly frustrating to miss a “baby split”, a relatively easy 2-7 or 3-10 split. When you are new, it is hard to get baggers (a bagger is a series of strikes in a row). For example, four-baggers are four in a row.
Our bowling leagues had T-Shirts that were white with “Super Bowl” on them. The Super Bowl itself had 48 lanes, and our leagues were placed on the far left of the bowling center.
Some think of the term “helicopter mom” as a mother who is always around. My mom did not pressure me to win; she just wanted me to do my best. I can envision her clapping, impressively, as the pins spun to create that all-encompassing spare. A loud “Yeah” accompanied her cheers as I rolled a turkey, three strikes in a row. Throughout all school activities, Mom was a present hero.
The 7-10 Split
Most splits will leave you wanting to meticulously pull out your hair. The 7-10 split is one of which I seemed to get the most. This split describes the bowler left with the leftmost and the rightmost pin in the back row. Its field-goal appearance taunted me in mocking tones. I would address the rightmost pin and hook the ball to the left, knocking down first the 10 pin and then the 7.
Determining Your Ball
Picking your ball should come with a few rules (so that your game is efficient and you are safe!). Your ball needs to be 10% of your body weight, so if you are 120 pounds, then a 12-pound ball would be fitting. A plethora of professional bowlers use 15-pound balls. The covering of the ball can be urethane, reactive resin, or polyester (also known as plastic). Have a good right hook? To keep that hook potential, a reactive resin cover is your best bet as it grips the lanes better than the plastic balls.
Drilling to Bowl
Why should you drill your bowling ball? A drilled bowling ball is what my mom would have said is good to “prevent owies.” Being serious, though, a ball specifically drilled to fit your hand gives you more control as you bowl and also decreases the risk of injury. Usually, drilling your ball is free or very inexpensive at the bowling house. I had my glittery red ball drilled for free.
Just For Fun
There is a myriad of ways to bowl that are not so competitive. You can sit down and bowl, for example. You can also roll the ball in between your legs, without putting your fingers in the ball; this is known as the “Granny Bowl.” The “Tiptoe Bowl” allows each bowler to tiptoe to the line and release the ball. “Backward Bowling” describes the bowler with his or her back to the pins and releasing the ball. For kids’ birthday parties, you can think of BINGO or other games to include.
Bowling a “300 game,” the odds are NOT in your favor. These odds are 11,500 to 1 for the average bowler but are 460 to 1 if you happen to be a professional bowler. The largest bowling center is located in Japan, and you get a “Golden Turkey” when you bowl nine strikes in a row. Whether you are bowling on a serious team or you are just having fun, bowling is a great physical and mental exercise for generations to come.