Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Scheme to Bowl Outdoors Looks like a Gutter Ball

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Scheme to Bowl Outdoors Looks like a Gutter Ball

Article excerpt

The underlying problem with bowling is that there is no problem with bowling. Regardless, bowling always acts as if it's a malfunction to be fixed, which it is not, rather than a joy to be experienced, which it is.

It's the only entity in the world with a bigger inferiority complex than Canada. In truth, bowling should be strutting and pounding its chest because it is in many ways, once you can get the pseudo-sophisticates and alleged intellectuals to shut up about it, our perfect sport.

After all, it can be done by people who are very young up to those very old. Poor are equal to the wealthy in bowling because it's cheap to take part. Men and women enjoy it in similar numbers and can compete together. You can play for a few minutes or for hours, frequently or infrequently. There is wonderful camaraderie. You can succeed at it with minimal athletic talent. It's simple, yet there can be complex strategy and scientific technique. It is unabashed fun. And a true plus in much of the nation much of the year - it's played indoors. Whoops, not exactly. Comes now the news that the Professional Bowlers Association plans to hold the finals of a bowling tournament May 1 outdoors, in New York City's Bryant Park. Why? "Because," says PBA spokesman Dave Schroeder, "it hasn't been done before." Yeah, well, neither has the Masters golf tournament been played on a pitch-and-putt course in Sheboygan. An earthshaking change in something as magnificent as bowling needs careful thought. Putting bowling outside is like putting peanut butter on creme brlee. You can do it but, yuk, it's not good. At root, bowling is doing this because it can. Somewhere, the storied bowling greats - all-time title winner Earl Anthony (41 wins), Mark Roth, Dick Weber, Nelson Burton Jr., Don Carter - are thinking gutter ball. The idea, Schroeder says, is to put up what will amount to a circus big top over four lanes and perhaps 1,000 seats. Bingo, we are transported to the circus and the carny barker: "Step right up, pay your money, and come right in. See the two- headed, tap-dancing giraffe that gave birth to a hippopotamus that whistles and needlepoints. …

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