I Bowl, Therefore I Am

A while back I came across a small article in the NY Times about a blind man who had bowled a perfect game.  A 300, twelve consecutive strikes!  He was 78 years old.  Although being able to heave a ball accurately or heave it at all at that age is, in itself  noteworthy,  I couldn’t help being dumbstruck by the news that he was blind.  Not legally blind, but blind in fact.  The article mentioned that he had some peripheral vision but can’t see straight on, at all.  I’m athletic, fully-sighted and a lot younger.  I’ve never bowled a score higher than 175.

Naturally, this got me thinking about bowling  in general and this man in particular.  I wondered if he somehow made use of his peripheral vision when bowling.  Did he approach the alley sideways…more  or less sidling towards the pins in a kind of do-si-do square dance maneuver?  Or , did he have some help…someone directing him? When I bowl, which is as  infrequently as possible, I look straight ahead,  and I go it alone.  It’s possible that  this puts me at a  real disadvantage.

I suppose bowling is considered a sport, although I’ve heard somewhere that any activity for which you need to rent shoes shouldn’t be considered one.  That seems a little harsh to me.  In my mind, it has always fit in a very nice niche…..just below golf and just above darts.  Somehow, this news about the blind bowler is causing me to re-evaluate my ranking system.

My relationship with bowling has, by and large ,been unsatisfying so I know I come to this commentary with a bias.  When I went bowling as a youngster, I was invariably overwhelmed by the weight of the ball.  As I got older and stronger, they seemingly kept  making the balls of heavier stuff.  And, as I’ve said, I suffered from perfect vision.

So, because bowling and I were clearly not meant to be a couple, I started a romance with another indoor activity-ping pong.  Now, there’s a sport that requires a full range of athletic skills.  Hand/eye coordination, good relflexes and  balance and strategy.   And of course,  you can play in whatever footwear you happen to be wearing when it enters your life.


3 Responses to “I Bowl, Therefore I Am”

  1. Jane Says:

    I never understood bowling, though I did like the shirts. And the Cohn brothers got it down pretty good. I imagine, however, that serious table tennis players take their footwear pretty seriously.

    Hey, what did the blind bowler say when he walked past the fish store?
    Hint: the answer is on MY blog.
    (Neil, I’m not an opportunist, I just thought of this really bad joke … you know the one about the blind man and the fish store … ugh, sorry.)

    • ironicman Says:

      is that the one that starts, “a blind man, a rabbi and a priest walk into a fish store”?. i don’t think you want to tell that here.

  2. Neil B. Says:

    Please let the record show that I categorically do not believe that a truly blind person, regardless of athletic ability or age, could ever bowl a perfect game.

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