Every generation of bowlers gets to enjoy advancements in the sports and its technology. Things have come a long way since Fred and Barney were bowling league at Bedrock Bowl.
This Thanksgiving, we’re sharing some of the things we are thankful for as bowlers in 2013.
You each might have something to add, and there’s no doubt the lists will be different from generation to generation. Feel free to add some of the things you’re thankful for when you’re bowling in your own leagues and tournaments.
10 bowling advancements we are thankful for this Thanksgiving (in no particular order):
1. Automation – Bowling has become so convenient. Although it cost a few dedicated pin boys their jobs, it’s amazing to see the whole process in action now. There’s automatic pinsetters, automatic ball returns (underground even!) and automatic scoring. Most centers even have automatic bumpers that only pop up for the bowlers in the group who need them.
2. Interchangeability – How did we ever step on the lanes without interchangeable soles and heels on our bowling shoes or interchangeable thumbs that allow us to take the perfect thumb sleeve from ball to ball?
3. Comfort – Finger grips, protective finger and thumb tape and even liquid skin allow us to bowl longer and more comfortably.
4. House balls and house shoes – Being able to “borrow” balls and shoes at the bowling center allows new bowlers to try the sport as comfortably as possible without committing more than time and a few dollars until they are sure they’re ready for organized play.
5. Cosmic bowling – About 70 million people go bowling every year. It’s not official certified competition, but it gets people in the doors and on the lanes. Recreational bowling often leads to new league and tournament bowlers.
6. Internet – The World Wide Web has helped connect bowlers. They can find and help each other through message boards. They can learn about equipment and competitive opportunities online. They can keep up with the latest scores and news from around the world. They can even get coaching via video!
7. Bowling balls – Bowling balls have come a long way. They were made of stone, wood, rubber and plastic before reactive resin changed the game. Now, each company has a variety of coverstocks and cores, and top bowlers travel with arsenals to battle whatever lane conditions they may encounter.
8. Roller bags – Changes in equipment meant the need for more than one ball. Bags with wheels made equipment transportation so much easier. Then came three-ball rollers. Finally, clear top three-ball tote bags came along, so you could see what’s in the bag without opening it, and you can check three 15-pound balls for a flight at just under 50 pounds to avoid extra fees. BOOM!
9. Professional bowling – When the Professional Bowlers Association came along and was broadcast to the world on TV, it gave young bowlers something to aspire to. Though it’s temporarily on hiatus, women’s professional bowling did the same for young women on the lanes. Reaching the top of the sport gives bowlers the motivation to challenge themselves at every level, from youth leagues to collegiate bowling, and eventually, top-level events.
10. Coaching – Technology has helped coaching improve greatly. The tools available to coaches, from iPads to sophisticated camera setups, can see bowlers from every angle. Ball speeds, rev rates, laydown points and more can be measured and compared. Coaches go through standardized training and have many resources for collecting information. Even the best bowlers have coaches.
What are YOU thankful for in the bowling industry?