The Problem with Bowling

I wish to speak to you briefly on the subject of bowling, for, by means of my casual pondering, it has come to my attention that this activity is inherently flawed. Perhaps irredeemably so. Perhaps, to the point where we will have no choice but to eradicate it from our society.

Whether you practice the activity casually or, more problematically, professionally, here is the intrinsic problem with bowling: There are no variables. There are no variables! If conditions are always exactly the same, where’s the skill?

Old Bowling LaneThis was not always the case. There once was a time where we could not produce perfectly level floors, or perfectly rounded bowling balls, and where there did not exist such universal standards for the length and width of a bowling lane, or arrangement of the pins. Back then, each time you bowled things would be different, thereby revealing the skill of the bowler, in their ability to adapt.

But those days are gone. We have perfected and conformed the sport of bowling to the point where there are no variables, and thereby, skill is determined predominantly by repetition. There is no opponent, and no variation in conditions, so someone who practices enough times should be able to get a strike every single time. And indeed, this has become fairly common. So the game is beat, done, antiquated, pointless, over.

Don’t get me wrong, I cannot bowl a strike every time. Most people can’t. So I suppose to the repetition-arily deficient, this activity continues to pose enough of a challenge to be enjoyable, and therefore should be retained. But still, I cannot escape an underlying sense of anxiety, a feeling of hamster-wheel-esk frivolity, at the notion of partaking in such a defeatedly perfected sport. Sure, to the casual bowler, the activity may still be challenging and fun. But troubled as I am by the fundamental paradoxicality of a sport, which we, as a society have clearly outgrown, it is my opinion that bowling should simply be eradicated.

Alternatively, the game could be updated. Rather than get rid of it completely, we could simply reintroduce variables. Perhaps we could add small mounds to bowling lane, or arrange the pins more sporadically. Perhaps we could move the activity outside, introducing weather variation. Surely, something must be done to differentiate one game from the next, reintroducing skill and variance to the saturated sport. Otherwise, bowling can be no more. For as Darwin’s theory of natural selection clearly illustrates, that which can not evolve, must perish.

CC BY-NC 4.0 The Problem with Bowling by Dustin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

One thought on “The Problem with Bowling

  1. Last time I bowled we introduced variables and it was a million times more fun. Some of my favorites included, non dominant hand, hoping on one foot, eyes closed, and through the legs.

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