How Serious Is League Bowling?
By James Goulding III
You all know the league bowler you can’t stand. The guy who slaps out every “big” strike, the one who pumps his fist in your team’s face if he throws the final strike in the anchor position to beat your team by a pin. You have that guy (or girl) in your league, correct? Almost everyone does, and it gets me to the subject of my latest blog entry, which is how serious should we take our league bowling. One would think it is a simple answer, but that is not always the case.
I am a very competitive bowler, anyone who has ever bowled with or against me can attest to that statement. But, there is a fine line between being competitive and being just plain ignorant and rude. I am always the first to congratulate someone who beats me (or my team), it shows good sportsmanship and class to do so. There is nothing worse than bowling against a team of bowlers who have poor sportsmanship. When they beat you, they rub it in your face, and when they lose, it’s not because you bowled well, it because they got cheated somehow. This type of attitude shown toward your fellow bowler can make some of the less “serious” bowlers out there consider not bowling in another league again. This not only hurts the league, but ultimately has a negative impact on the entire sport of bowling.
I try and tell people, league bowling is great, but if you want to be intense, start bowling local and regional tournaments. There is nothing wrong with taking league serious, just save the ultra intensity for tournament bowling, where it belongs. I mean, what good can be gained from slapping out strikes in a Tuesday night men’s league? Not only do you alienate your team mates by your actions, you look like a fool in front of the entire league. Keep your emotions in check, not only will it help you bowl better, you will gain the respect of your peers at the lanes at the same time.
If you need an excuse to tone it down a bit, do something that I do: Treat it like a practice session for tournament bowling. This is a very effective tool and can aide you in keeping your emotions in check if you are an excitable person on the lanes. I will use league many times to try new equipment, a new release, etc. If I can not squeeze in an extra practice session before a tournament, this allows me to work on my game, while also being competitive at the same time. I do not try and hurt my team, I still try my best every time out, but by trying new things I can open my game up and once in a while I can catch lightning in a bottle and sometimes shoot a very big number. Also, don’t forget the most important thing about league bowling: HAVE FUN!!!! If league bowling seems like a job to you, it is time to re-evaluate how you view bowling and lighten up a bit at the lanes.
There is a time and place for everything, and league bowling is not the place to showcase yourself like you are the next Pete Weber. Try a little tact and have respect for yourself, those around you, and for the sport of bowling. You will be glad you did.