Sunday, October 24, 2021

Bowling Ball Technology

I don't bowl, and even in my youth never used the big balls that are standard across the country. We had candlepins in New England, and very occasionally at older lanes, duckpins. Scoring is much lower. For kids playing, getting over 100 was a big deal. Local leagues would have top players who averaged 130 or so, I seem to recall. Maybe higher. No one I knew ever broke 150, but I read about some of those in the paper or saw it on TV. It was on television every Saturday on WHDH Boston, with Don Gillis hosting. Mindless TV, even by my very low standards of watching virtually anything that was on the screen. Later the TV games also gave out cash awards. I think duckpin scoring was worse still. 

My friend John "Big Mal" Malyerck who was 6-7 and athletic was very good at this, and when he went to South Carolina to play basketball, bowled for his first time with the large balls. He held the record for many years for best score in an initial game - a 234 or some such. One can see why. After so many years of bowling in a different format it was only technically his first game.

This just showed up in my YouTube feed for some reason, and I have no interest, but somehow it was just fascinating enough to keep watching. I never knew any of this.


Jonathan said...

Amazing. Not surprising, however. It seems that looking at the details of any process/activity/technology that you knew about only from a distance and at a high level of abstraction brings this kind of "Holy cow, I never realized it was so complicated" realization.

james said...

I'm trying to remember if I've bowled since 1974--I don't think so. I had no idea about the ball structure or the oil, though I knew about hooks.

Donna B. said...

I was fairly good at 10 pin bowling when I was younger (had my own ball and shoes!) One Sunday afternoon, I was left with the 6-7 split. My Dad said "I bet you can't pick that up." I responded, "I bet you new skis that I can." I didn't think I could pick it up either, but I'd been begging for skis for months. We were both surprised when I did. I got my skis, boots, and new ski clothes.

Looking back, the fact that we were bowling in a new facility with lanes in great shape had a lot to do with my 'skill'. I don't know what kind of oiling/maintenance was done on the lanes then (mid 60s). I do remember that I was rebelling against my mother's instructions on throwing a straight ball by experimenting with a curve/hook throw.

That place was more than a bowling alley. It had a supervised nursery/playroom, pool tables, and a 'snack bar' that could almost compete with today's upscale hamburger places. A few years later, we moved to a small Texas town where the bowling alley was old, the lanes not well maintained by any standard, and ptomaine was the main offering for food. I haven't been bowling since.

Mike Guenther said...

I haven't bowled since 1998. I was in a league and carried a 165 avg. I guess I might need to dig my ball and shoes out of storage and see if they are still any good.

A friend I was talking to this weekend at our golf outing, joked about our scores being so bad, we might need to take up bowling. Then he told me he dug his ball out of storage where it had been for over 20 years. He said it had sat so long, it developed a flat spot on it.