Friday, August 24, 2012

Basic Bowling Etiquette

Bowling is a social sport and it's "rules of etiquette" are something everyone should learn for their own enjoyment as well as for others. Everything we do in life has a "standard of conduct" for which we are held accountable. These standards fall under the category of nothing more than common sense and being aware of your own actions. 

With politeness and courtesy as the primary words for our discussion, let's list some of the main "rules of bowling etiquette":

1) "Right-of-way." Bowling lanes are placed side-by-side and when a person is poised and ready to throw the ball, the person or persons on the adjacent lanes should wait for them to complete that turn before stepping on the approach for their turn. There is nothing more distracting to a bowler than being locked in on the mark and have someone fly past them on their right or left.

To put this into perspective, try running past a golfer as he is going through his swing; for that matter, envision yourself doing a similar action to a tennis player as he is serving, a pitcher as he is delivering the ball to the batter, or anyone who is concentrating on hitting a target of some kind.  People just naturally would show courtesy to the athlete because, "it is the proper thing to do."

2) "Keep food and drinks out of the bowler's settee area" (this is the area immediately surrounding the automatic scorekeeper console in most bowling centers). When a bowler gets on the lane approach and throws the ball, the importance of having their last step slide should be very evident both from a safety and delivery of the ball standpoint. If anything gets on the bottom of a person's sliding foot, they will stick at the foul line and fall on the lane. At minimum, it will be a tremendous strain on the leg and body. Common sense dictates that if food or drink are in the settee area, they have a good chance of accidentally being spilled.  Why take the chance? Keep food and drink further back from the bowler's area.

3) "Use your own equipment" unless you have permission to do otherwise. Even if you are using a house ball, it can be very disconcerting if someone uses the ball that you personally selected for yourself. This becomes even more acute if you have purchased your own equipment and another person uses them without asking.

4) "Don't make loud noises or do anything distracting" when another person is on the lane ready to deliver their ball. Since bowling is done in an enclosed environment, people from several lanes away could be distracted by your "unsportsmanlike conduct."

5) "Respect the bowling center" and don't abuse the lanes or equipment. Some people get angry and let their frustrations out on the equipment. Actions that come to mind include (but not limited to): lofting the bowling ball further down the lane than normal; kicking the ball return covers; and slamming their balls down on the chairs, ball racks, floors (poor bowling ball).

Politeness and courtesy. These are the operative words when you go bowling. Bowlers don't ask for anything more than that. Be aware of your what you say and do, show common courtesy, and be polite to others. Your enjoyment of the sport will be enhanced many times if you merely follow the rules of common sense that society has taught you.

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