KNOW WHAT YOU’RE ROLLING

Roto Grip in the news.

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Story By ALEXA LANNING • IN FROM THE BLOG

Here is a list of the top phrases and/or things people say in the bowling center, or simply about bowling, that just break your ball return or grind your gears, if you prefer.

  • “Play bowling” – First of all, these two words DON’T even agree with each other. You can’t PLAY bowling. You can GO bowling, but you simply cannot PLAY bowling or DO bowling. One of the easiest ways to get on a bowler’s bad side is to use this phrase.
  • “How do you spin the ball like that?” or “How did you learn to throw a curve ball?” – All right. Deep breath. Outside of some top Asian competitors, most bowlers do not intentionally “spin” the ball. If they do, it’s probably something they are trying to fix as they learn to roll the ball. In bowling, we hook the ball. A curve ball, as opposed to a straight ball, actually is a baseball term. And we’re bowlers. Who bowl. In a bowling center. With bowling balls. There’s no baseball involved, unless we’re watching it on TV while bowling.
  • “How many points did you get?” – Bowling does not use a point system like other sports. Your score essentially is based on home many pins you have knocked down, with some creative math when strikes and spares are involved. Amazingly, for much of the sport’s history, competitors kept score by hand.
    One of the only times you should use or hear the word “points” in bowling, is when it comes to the end of your league session. Depending on the format, there could be individual (head-to-head) points earned  by team members as well as team points based on the team’s overall performance against an opponent.
  • “What’s your high game?” “Have you ever shot 300?” or “What’s your average?” –As bowlers, we know that whenever we mention bowling, we know one of these two questions, or both, is coming. There apparently is some secret rule, that for some reason, just because we bowl, we’re supposed to be really good at it? And, being good at “playing bowling” to the outside world means shooting AT LEAST one 300.
  • “Why do I have to wear rental/bowling shoes?” – Well, why do soccer players wear cleats? Why do track runners wear spiked shoes? Why do ballet dancers wear special slippers? Exactly. So what size shoe do you wear?
  • “It’s just a game.” – On a serious note, to those who participate in the art of bowling, it isn’t just a game. To most of us, bowling is a lifestyle. It is a habit we can’t break, nor do we want to. Bowling connects us to our friends and families, and the bowling center often is like a second home. For a lot of us, we’ve grown up in bowling centers, spending hours upon hours, day after day, working on the mechanics of our games, and this is what we’ve done since we were kids. Bowling is how we were raised. It’s a culture. It is a lot more than a few beers with the guys on Friday nights.
  • “It’s not a bowling alley, it’s a bowling center.” – This is a hard habit to break, even for those of us who have grown up in the sport. For most, it always will be known as a bowling alley. When we think of a bowling center, we think of somewhere that’s more of an entertainment chain, and not a place of comfort, practice and success. This one can go either way, but as the game and its image change on a global scale, it always will be one for debate.
  • “I once shot a (insert score) on Wii bowling!” – We appreciate that you’re putting your technology to good use, and even for showing an interest in bowling, but Wii bowling and real bowling aren’t quite the same thing.
    Perhaps it can be a stepping stone, as plastic pins in the hallway were for generations before, that will lead to you trying the real thing. But please don’t expect real bowling to be as easy as Wii bowling – because it won’t be.
  • “Oh, a perfect game! That’s like, 10 strikes in a row!” – As we mentioned before, keeping score in bowling can be a little tricky. Technically, a perfect game is 12 strikes in a row. Technically, you knocked down 120 pins. So why is a perfect score 300?
    When you keep score in bowling, a spare is worth 10, plus whatever you get on your next ball. So, a spare in the first frame, and a nine on you first shot in the second frame, would give you 19 in the first frame. If you miss the spare, you’d then add those pins to your total and have 28 in the second frame.
    A strike counts as 10, plus whatever you get on your next two balls. So, if you start with a strike and then get a space in the second frame, your first-frame score would be 20. If you start with a strike and then strike in the second and third frames, you’d have 30 in the first frame.
  • “Bowling isn’t a real sport.” – The number one way to get on a bowler’s bad side is to insult their art. Bowling is just as much a sport as football, baseball, basketball, hockey, etc. Being a bowler requires a lot of stamina, energy and physical and mental strength. Bowlers have to practice just like players in any other sport. We have to spend money on equipment, and we have to wear uniforms (or dress according to code).
  • “So, WHY exactly are the lanes waxed?” – First off, the lanes are not a pair of eyebrows. They do NOT get waxed. The lanes are oiled, and they are oiled to protect the lane surface, which in the old days, was wood. Now, synthetic lanes are much more durable. However, oil also can be used to change the level of difficulty.
    The oil can be put on the lane in different patterns, each with its own level of difficulty, and often requiring a different path to the pocket in order to be successful. The amount of oil versus friction, and where those appear on the lane, can make the scoring pace higher or lower.
  • “Are you going to USE all of those?” “Why do you need to buy more bowling balls?” “All bowling balls are the same, why do you need six (or more)?” –Questions typically asked by non-bowlers or those bowling recreationally during open-play hours. Sometimes, they may even pick up your ball and try to use it, not realizing it’s different than the typical house balls.

We know, though, that we bring certain equipment based on what we think we will need on certain lane conditions. Chances are, if we bring in six bowling balls, we probably expect to use them all.

Also, those bowlers who are serious about their sport are very protective of their equipment. We don’t mind having our equipment touched or looked at, but when it comes to being thrown, we want to be the ONLY ones to do it.

THOSE OF US HERE AT IAB would like to clarify that by no means are we attempting to make fun of people who are new to, or unfamiliar with,the sport of bowling. We simply are trying to connect people using a subject that they can relate to. :)

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