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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Do bowling balls have a mind of their own?

Anyone who has ever played ten-pin bowling has, at one time or another, wondered if that ball has a mind of its own.
There are times that the ball seems attracted to the pins and smoothly knocks them down.  Other times he leaves some standing.  Sometimes a single pin, sometimes more than one, and sometimes – heaven forbid – a dreaded split.

If not a strike or a spare is made, is it the fault of the bowler, the ball or the pins? 

Expert bowlers make it seem so easy.  They take a swing, put the ball down and it curves nicely toward the pocket.  You try and do that … and prepare for frustration.

Honestly, in everyday life some people are perfectly well behaved, but let them pick up a bowling ball and suddenly they use language that would make a sailor blush.  They swear at the pins, curse the ball and occasionally give themselves every name under the sun for making such a stupid mistake.

Where lays the secret in making that perfect game?  What does a bowler need to do to score those elusive 300 points?  Experts will say it’s about consistency.  Putting the ball down, twelve times in a row, in same spot, with the same power. 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve been doing that – or at least trying to do that – for years and years and I can tell you, it’s not working. 

Occasionally, when the bowling gods smile down on me, my ball veers nicely toward the pocket of the pins and boem … strike!  Most of the time though the bowling gods frown or look elsewhere and my ball goes straight, or veers off to a place where he’s not supposed to be. 

Then again, maybe it’s just as well that I don’t make a 300.  A few years ago a man did just that and never made it off the lane.  When he knocked that last set of pins down and realised he had made a perfect score, he had a heart attack and died.  What a way to go …

Still, we try.  Before every game we have high hopes.  When we start a game off with a strike, we smile.  Two strikes in a row makes that smile grow even bigger.  Three strikes gives us illusions of grandeur and we can see that 300 in the distance.  Is this is?  Is this the time when it’s going to happen?

What goes through a bowlers mind when he has scored eleven strikes and lines up for the twelved time?  How does he feel when the last set of pins fall and the scoreboard flashes 300?

If it ever happens – and a 911 call is not needed – I’ll let you know.

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