Describing the sport of bowling to a person who has no clue at all

Several years ago I had an exchange student from Sweden in my classroom. She was so smart that I used her as a resource. If I couldn’t answer a question from one of my pupils and the exchange student was in the room, I would ask her. More often than not, she would have the information. Yes, she was that intelligent.

You can imagine my surprise when one morning before classes began she came into my room. It was January and she asked a fellow classmate if she could tell her about softball. The exchange student was considering trying out for the team in the spring, but claimed to know nothing about the sport.

Where would you start to answer a question like that? The local girl began by saying the following. “The pitcher throws the ball and the batter hits the ball before running to first base.” The exchange student stopped her there and asked a question. “Where is first base?” she wanted to know.

We all just shook our heads. This girl, who was as bright as any student I had ever encountered, simply didn’t know. It made me think about how I would describe bowling to someone who had no clue about the sport. I mean no idea whatsoever!

I decided to get some help on this matter and went to the Internet, which is much easier than the old days. I’m pretty sure I have a set of encyclopedias in the basement somewhere, but why bother. I punched in bowling and found the modern day version of Encyclopedia Brittanica – Wikipedia. Let me share some of the information that I found.

“Bowling is one of many sports or leisure activities in which a player rolls or throws a bowling ball down a lane.” So far, so good. “The object is to knock over pins.” I think I have the knack of things now. The article goes on to list the health benefits, safety procedures and scoring for bowling. Here the water gets a little murkier. Take this sentence for instance.

“The flexing and stretching in bowling works tendons, joints, ligaments and muscles and promotes weight loss.” As I look up and down the lanes (not to mention in the mirror) it would appear that losing weight is not the main goal of the typical kegler. Many of those who are participating are eating pizza and drinking beer while “exercising” for crying out loud.

In addition to all the physical benefits, “bowling also provides psychosocial benefits, strengthening friendships or creating new ones.” This I buy in its entirety. The physical benefits? I’m not so sure.

As for safety, it is suggested that we warm up before bowling. Again, it appears that most bowlers must do this at home because you don’t see a lot of it at the lanes. Here is another line that grabbed my attention. “Bowlers should warm up their fingers before inserting them into a bowling ball, to ensure that their fingers do not get stuck in the ball.”

I’m not sure this would be all that helpful, but I believe that I could handle a few finger exercises. Of course that would be after I finish the pizza!

Here’s one more safety tip that could benefit our novice bowler. It was suggested that you keep the sole of your shoe dry because if it gets wet it can stick like glue on the approach and result in the bowler suffering a blowout. I can’t make this stuff up folks.

Hopefully the above information has been helpful to all the bowlers out there. Next week we will talk about scoring – no exercising required!

I will assume that our local bowlers were well loosened up this week as some lofty scores were recorded. Rich Yates Jr. had the pins jumping on Wednesday morning as he led the league that goes by that name with a high flying 747. Dave Jumper rolled a 697, Tyson Shope 693, Steve Norman 632, Ken Lofton 604, Paul Landers 545, Sharon Dowdell 500, Dianne Smith 434 and Cheryl Radin-Norman 393. In the Sportsman League Chris Johnson piloted a little smaller plane as his 727 would attest. Jim Mason had 705, Greg Tiell 676, Scott Hartsel 675, Phil Neikirk 642, Lance Davis 629, Rich Yates Jr. 629, Mike Kimmet 623 and Dick Gabel 610.

Jim Ruess fired a 679 in the 55 Plus League at the K of C Lanes. Ken Gaietto shot 611, Bill Mizen 528, Bob Reinhart 523, Dick Gabel 515, Bob West 502, Rick Hanna 494, Dave Everhart 481, Paul Gosche 467, Dan Coppes 452, Ron Mellott 427, Jim Donaldson 410, Jim Ferstler 387 and Paul Fey 381. Tim Sturgill shot 610, Rick Smith 579, Chris Johnson 579, Jamie Kuhn 548, Martin Klingshirn 540, Bret Elchert 538 and James Lord 535 in the Tuesday Night League. Senior League scores included Steve Tiell with a 549, Ken Ritzler 546, Scott Kromer 527 and Tim Gassner 521. Theresa Hoerig shot 484, Theresa Carp 462, Debra Gase 461 and Marilyn Gangluff 409 in the Lady Knights League.

In the Twilight League Tim Sturgill shot 656, Steve Peer 620 and Steve Barnes 609. Steve Steinmetz Jr. had 651, Ben Hoyda 611 and Steve Steinmetz Sr. 602 in the Imperial-Majorette League. For the ladies Deb Nominee shot 539, Dodi Gaietto 501 and Mary Ruggiero 441.

Al Stephenson is The Advertiser-Tribune’s bowling columnist.

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