Did you know the game of bowling has been around since before the time of the great pharaohs of Egypt?
As I was reading an article on bowling last week, I decided to do a bit of research. This desire to research the game of bowling was initiated by watching some of the varying and interesting approaches of the Monday night bowlers and comparing those bowlers with some of the pros who competed during the Fire Lake Oklahoma Open.
There are so many varying approaches, one wonders which one is the best one. I’ve seen some approaches which look much like Fred Flintsone and Barney Rubble from the cartoon “The Flintstones.”
Fred and Barney were great friends. They worked together at the rock quarry and were quite prolific league bowlers from the Stone Age. Fred was known for his tip-toed, high back swing, running approach.
Barney also had a running approach; however, he made sure his thumb was deeply inserted in his ball. Once he got his thumb stuck and was carried down the lane with the ball. On the other hand, when he didn’t make sure his thumb was firmly in his ball, he lost his ball on his back swing and it landed on Fred’s toes.
I’ve often laughed at these two Stone Age bowlers and their antics. And yes, I am old enough to remember watching the “Flintstones” cartoons when they were not reruns.
To get a good laugh, bowlers can view a few short cartoon clips of Fred and Barney bowling on YouTube.
Some of the approaches I’ve seen of late remind me of Fred’s approach.
The variation in approaches can be seen in pro bowlers, league bowlers and casual bowlers. Today, many pro bowlers are using a two-hand throw and not using the thumb or finger holes at all.
The world’s most famous two-handed bowler is professional Jason Belmonte.
There are a few bowlers on both the Monday Night Mixers and Tuesday Night Mixers who try to follow Belmonte’s approach.
According an article “The History of Bowling,” presented by the Bowling Museum, bowling has a long and rich history, and today it is one of the most popular sports in the world. A British anthropologist, Sir Flinders Petrie, discovered in the 1930s a collection of objects in a child’s grave in Egypt that appeared to him to be used for a crude form of bowling. If he was correct, then bowling traces its ancestry to 3200 BC.
I asked some bowlers from both leagues about the value of the approach.
“For me it’s all about the slide for my timing as I throw the ball,” said Robbin George.
“Since the slide is part of my delivery, the lane approaches are extremely important,” said Roland Griffin.
“For me, I always want to feel comfortable when and where I deliver my ball on the lane. I’m still learning how to read the lanes and the oil patterns, so my approach has been changing a little bit. Walter Ray Jr. (the pro bowler who held a couple of clinics at the Lazer Zone Family Fun Center a few weeks ago) showed me to run at the lane, so I have been trying to implement that,” explained Teeoti Jimenez.
Local bowler Kyle Allen said he believes the approach is the the most important part of the bowling process.
“Making sure you take the same amount of steps, the same distance in between steps, and walking the correct line from your starting position dictates your ball speed and how accurate you will be when throwing at your mark on the lane. If you step just a half inch to the left or right, you’re going to throw the ball left or right of your mark, which in the end will cause you to miss by that much on either side of the pocket,” Allen said.
“My approach is how I lay the ball on the lane. This is important because it determines how my ball will react,” said veteran bowler Billy Jack Stewart. “If I get too far over to the outside where there is less oil, my ball breaks too much. In other words, I have less control.”
Cliffton Conatser, another local bowler, agrees with the importance of the approach.
“A bowler’s approach is the foundation of the shot. If the approach isn’t right, the bowler will lose timing, rhythm and control,” Conatser said.
So, it seems no matter what approach one uses — the two-handed, the running, the counting of steps and lines, the marks and the actual flooring itself — each one is just as important to the bowler of today as it was to the Stone Age bowlers, Fred and Barney.
Special thanks to Roland Griffin for helping with formatting of the quotes from local bowlers.
Monday Night Mixers
(Week 23 of 36)
1. B&S Construction 62
2. NAPA 59
3. Rob’s ProShop 57
4. Digits and Then Some 56
5. Misfits 48
6. Spare Me 44
7. Native Strikers 42
8. Crazy Splitz 41
9. Bowling Stones 38
10. Split Personalities 37
11Three Chicks and a Dude 34
12 Ghost 2
Scratch game team: B&S Construction – 804, Native Strikers — 731, Rob’s ProShop — 693.
Scratch series team: B&S Construction — 2154, Native Strikers — 2067 NAPA — 1978 .
Men’s scratch game: Cliffton Conatser — 258, Justin Lytle – 246, Bruce Fish — 224.
Men’s scratch series: Cliffton Conatser — 730, Bruce Fish – 639, Ken Hoyle — 629.
Women’s scratch game: Lisa John – 191, Lori Clements – 172, Tonja George — 157.
Women’s scratch series: Lisa John – 473, Janet Lowery – 426, Tonja George – 422.
Tuesday Night Mixers
(Week 23 of 36)
1 Ben’s TV 68.5
2 B&S Construction 62.5
3 Bronson’s Body Shop 49.5
4 Rob’s Pro Shop 49.5
5 Maddox 49
6 Tatum Trucking 39
7 Cole’s Upholstery 35
8 Kodiak Custom 34
9 A-Team 34
10 Ghost 5.5
Scratch game team: Bronson’s Body Shop — 720, B&S Construction – 638, Rob’s ProShop — 634.
Scratch series team: Ben’s TV – 1873, Bronson’s Body Shop – 2047, Rob’s ProShop — 1797.
Men’s scratch game: Kyle Allen – 236, Bryan Beauchamp – 235, Kelley Brown – 217.
Men’s scratch series: Bryan Beauchamp – 605, Kelley Brown – 541, Randy Goodman – 535.
Women’s scratch game: Skye Buck – 193, Teeoti Jimenez – 184, Jana Adams – 174.
Women’s scratch series: Teeoti Jimenez —507, Skye Buck – 506, Hannah Rose – 463.