This year's city bowling tournament was fun and exciting. The week also provided some lighter moments, as it always does. For me, one of those humorous moments came when Anne Laughlin brought in an old bowling book she has owned for many years.
Anne told me she likes to get it out every once in a while just to enjoy a laugh, and it didn't take long for me to peruse the book and see why she found it amusing. The book, How To Bowl Better, was published in 1959 by one Ned Day. It sold for $2.50, and the one thing I noticed right away was the fact political correctness was not an issue in that particular year. Let me take you along on a recap of the more interesting features of this neat little book.
One of the warnings from the book was to "watch your fingers." Pictures were included to show you the proper way to pick up your bowling ball from the rack. Placing your hand beside the ball could put you in line for being struck by a returning ball. The picture showed a person's fingers getting hit by a rolling ball with the caption suggesting that it "can be very painful."
Another sentence that caught my eye read: "sore thumb" is truly one of the "bugaboos" of bowling. Now we have all suffered through this malady, but seriously, when was the last time you heard the word "bugaboo." I have enough "bugs" in my game that my own teammates have been known to "boo" me. They really didn't care if my thumb was on fire.
As I went through the book page by page, I found a section for the tall, thin bowler. Thinking the author did not have me in mind at that point, I was concerned he might just have a separate page for me. Sure enough, I soon found instructions for the short, heavy-set person.
All right. I don't know how he knew me, but I was curious as to what advice he could give me, as well as others with the same "problem."
Here's what the author had to say: If you are rather plump and short (that is as tactful as he was going to get) - so heavy that your hips and body are in the way (what?) - turn your shoulders slightly toward the right; this will help to get the hips and body out of the way of the arm swing. Don't try to take too long an approach. You probably lean slightly toward "top-heaviness" (that does it), and you must not let this characteristic assert itself at any point by stooping from the waist instead of bending at the knee.
If you do not follow this advice apparently "sidearming" will occur. I guess that means you have a chance to throw the ball down an adjoining lane. That would not help your score, but would provide some comic relief for your fellow bowlers.
As I neared the end of the book, I found a section titled "Bowling Guide for Women." Not being overly impressed with his handling of my group (you know, the slightly hefty guys), I was really interested in what advice he would have for the fairer sex. It too proved to be quite amusing. Check this out.
Bowling is a great game for girls and women as it promotes good posture, helps keep the figure trim and, being a group activity, develops and expands personality. Honestly folks, that's what he said. If that statement makes more women want to take up the sport, then I'm all for it. You should be warned however, the author also suggests you wear proper attire while bowling. His suggestion? Full skirt, sweater, woolen socks and bowling shoes.
The times, as they say, have changed.
At the very end of the book, bowling etiquette tips were published. The standard ones, such as waiting for the bowler on the lane next to you, were found. In addition, there were three others that jumped out at me. These are situations that still are very true in today's game and you would be wise to heed them.
Control your temper and your language - the pins cannot hear you and your fellow players surely do not care to.
Don't be an alibi artist - others have trouble enough with their own game without listening to your tale of woe.
Possibly you have the coaching instinct in you but it is not wise, and often irritating, to pass out unsolicited advice at every opportunity.
Thanks Anne, for sharing the book with me. I have to go now. I am going to work on turning my shoulders so I can get my heft out of arms way.
For those of you who have been following the city tournament this week, I can tell you the women did finish their tournament. The men still have a couple of teams left to compete.
There were no changes to the top spots in singles and doubles Friday night for the ladies. There is a new team leader in the men's tournament, as the Brickner Boys rode a huge third game to the top of the charts. A full rundown of the city tournament will come your way in this column next Sunday.
Al Stephenson is The A-T bowling columnist.
Read his blog at: