Nomar4prez wrote:Golf and Horse racing are the only ones I consider a sport from that list.
Sorry, no bowling. I think the people that play bowling at a high level are extremely talented, but I see it more as a game rather than a sport. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there doesn't seem to be much strategy with bowling. You have to be extremely talented to bowl, but everyone does the same thing.
Everyone does the same thing?
Doesn't everyone try to do the same thing in golf?
Ok, let's take a brief look at what exactly a competitive bowler goes through.
Let's discuss equipment first. We'll start with bowling balls. Every bowling ball on the market outer surface is made of a different material (the shell). Shells are patented and trademarked, so every single one of them is different. The inner core, which is usually made of 3 or 4 different pieces are all different shapes and sizes as well. These are also trademarked and patented. Where the holes are drilled in the ball also affects the result of what the ball will do on a given condition. Meaning you can buy (insert number, let's say 5) of the exact same ball, but drill the holes in different locations in order to get different characteristics out of each. By characteristics I mean amount of "hook" generated and the angle at which the ball "hooks". Hook is the ball moving from right to left for a righthanded bowler and left to right for a lefthanded bowler. Angle is pretty self explanatory, it's the angle at which the ball hooks. 2 degrees, 4 degrees, etc.
Ok, that's the basics of the balls. Let's move on to the lanes.
Lanes are 60 feet long, 39 boards wide, marked with 7 arrows at 15 feet down the lane, and have 1 foot in every direction between pins. Those are the set conditions.
Now for the variables. Lanes are predominently made of two different substances. Wood and synthetic (basically plastic with a clear coat overlay). Most centers only have one type of lane, either wood or synthetic. Both have their own characteristics and equipment reacts differently to each.
The biggest variable is the oil used to "dress" the lanes. There is virtually an unlimited number of oil patters that can be applied to the lanes to make for a very challenging condition (low scoring) or a very easy condition (high scoring). Oil patterns range from anywhere from 12 feet of oil down the lane to as much as 50 feet down the lane. How much (volume) is applied is also a big variable. It could be just a thin layer that will dry up as games are bowled, or a very thick layer that will travel down the lane as games are bowled. Not to mention that wood lanes will typically dry up faster than synthetic lanes. Of course, the amount of oil cannot be seen, and most of the time, the bowlers have no idea what the exact pattern looks like prior to competition.
Knowing which equipment to use on what conditions is one of the most important things to know in bowling. Also knowing when to change equipment to combat the constant changing oil pattern is crucial as well. A righthanded bowler tries to hit the 1-3 pocket in order to strike. You can hit it all day long and get nothing but 9 on every ball if your angle is bad, or if the ball just isn't conducive to the pins on that particular condition. Constant adaptation and change is required to be successful.
As to even a little more strategy, I've actually seen professional bowlers bowl and try not to get a strike. Why? The conditions do not permit high scores. They take a safer play and just hit the pocket and make their spares while the other guy sends balls flying left and right trying to figure out how to strike. Call it "laying up" like they do in golf.
Believe me, there is a ton of strategy in bowling. What I've provided above is only the tip of the iceburg.
Now as to it being a sport and the professionals being athletes, let's take a look at that too.
A professional bowler averages around 150 games a week. A little over 20 games a day. Go bowling. Get a 16 pound ball and throw it 18 miles per hour for 20 games. Odds are that you cannot do it. Odds are that you will rub blisters long before you reach that point. Now since bowlers do not draw salary, and are only paid by how they finish, a professional bowler bowls through a situation like that. They sweat, they bleed, and they do damage to themselves for that paycheck. Most professionals form callouses, and blisters are not a problem anymore, so let's discuss other forms of athleticism.
If you were to manage to finish the 20 game block on the first day, I guarantee your legs would be very sore the next morning. Possibly to the extent that you could barely walk, much less tie up your shoes and shoot another 20 games. Why? That's where the majority of your power comes from in bowling. It's not the arms, it's not the back, it's the legs. Also remember that while bowling, you slide on one leg with a bent knee every shot.
Just something to add, and this is true, I tore a muscle that supported my left hamstring (the docs had a million dollar word for it, but I'm not a doc and have no idea) while in a competition. I'm righthanded, so I slide on my left leg. Needless to say that I was toast after that happened and had to rehab for 10 months. That meant getting back into shape, reforming the callouses, and getting the timing back after the injury healed.
Wrist injuries are the most common type of injury and can cut a career short in an instant. I just read earlier this evening that touring professional Tommy Delutz Jr. will miss the upcoming season due to surgery to repair tendons in his wrist. I know it probably doesn't sound like a big deal, but imagine the stress put on something as small as a wrist when you toss 20 games a day with a 16 pound bowling ball at an average speed of 18 miles per hour. Better yet, go try it yourself and see how your body reacts.
Of course, the back takes a beating as well. Just simply having to adjust for the slide and keeping the body in line. Knots, strains, and pulled muscles are extremely common in all competitive bowlers.
Not to mention the arms. While the wrist does most of the work, it couldn't happen without the arm being firm. Forearms take a solid beating just from the sheer weight of holding on to 16 pounds with just the tips of your fingers.
Last but not least is cardiovascular. In competition, a professional bowler will fire 20 games in around 5 hours. 4 games an hour. 1 game every 15 minutes. If you have no wind, there's no way you can do it.
While the stereotype for bowlers is a fat guy smoking a cigarette, eating everything in sight, and drinking a beer, that's not the case with the majority of professionals. Just like most pitchers are not overweight and out of shape (ie: Bartolo Colon). I'm not going to say that every bowler is an athlete, or that every time someone bowls it should be qualified as a sport, but for competitive bowlers, they are most certainly athletes and what they do is certainly a sport.
If anyone managed to read all of this, I salute you and hope that maybe I helped shed a little light on the subject of competitive bowling.
Yes doctor, I am sick.
Sick of those who are spineless.
Sick of those who feel self-entitled.
Sick of those who are hypocrites.
Yes doctor, an army is forming.
Yes doctor, there will be a war.
Yes doctor, there will be blood.....