Bowling Without Pins

Have you ever wondered why the guy in front of you at the cashier line always pays with his ATM card, and then can’t remember his PIN number?…neither have I.

Many years ago, and by many years ago I mean last Thursday, a friend called me to complain about the price of stamps. Now that might seem like a dull conversation, but it was quite an upgrade from his last phone call, where he complained about his chronic difficulty in understanding the concept of an advance green light. And speaking of dull topics, allow me to gently ease into this week’s rant.

What is with the steady decrease in the popularity of bowling these days? This has been weighing on my mind for quite a while, and with all the news about the markets in Greece and China diving into financial instability, I have found it difficult to focus. Fortunately my Internet is down, and that little inconvenience has removed global distractions which brings me back to this perplexing bowling issue.

People used to join bowling leagues, keep their averages, actually own their own bowling shoes. Dedicated bowlers had finger fitted bowling balls with those nice status setting leather carrying cases. A night of bowling was as regular as a night of not bowling. I suppose what led to a steady decline of this sport were the democratic governments who’s duty was to  slowly regulate away the inherent fun of a night at the bowling alley. Drinking multiple beers, smoking unfiltered Camel cigarettes while keeping score with an unsharpened pencil was part of the evening bowling ritual. The physical shape and health of participants was never a prerequisite for participation. At the1988 Olympics in Seoul, bowling was a demonstration sport. Sadly bowling never made it to official status as the doping committee felt it would be undignified to force athletes to take a breathalyzer test before the medal ceremony.

TV broadcast tournaments every weekend, where professional bowlers occasionally bowled a perfect game of 300. Perfection is a rare achievement, but the sport of bowling did allow its participants to become perfect, for at least a few minutes. Clearly what contributed most significantly to the brief popularity of Bowling was there was nothing else on TV Saturday afternoon.  Local TV stations populated their substantial uncommitted air time with bowling shows. Strikes Spares and Misses, Bowling for Dollars, and Beat the Champ, helped fill time before the Networks took over programming.

Interesting fact about bowling (if that is even possible). Canada invented 5 pin bowling. In 1909, Thomas Ryan, from the Toronto Bowling Club, invented this option in response to numerous complaints that 10 pin bowling was too damn strenuous a game. Progressive Golf course designers are considering decreasing their course designs from 18 holes to seven holes for the very same reason.

So the question my regular readers are asking is “How is Dennis going to transition, a brilliant historical document on Bowling to a much more self-serving blog about himself?” Well it’s an easier segue than you think.

Many years ago, and by many years ago I mean many years ago, I was asked to present a communications lecture at a training convention. Because I wasn’t getting paid I put very little effort into the one hour lecture. As people quickly exited my session long before the last killer slide I found I had a little free time, I wandered into a competing workshop on the Art of Giving Feedback. The session was unravelling because the slide projector refused to work. Improvisation by the speaker, who had given this presentation many times, saved his session. He went to a flip chart, and simply wrote these three words, “Bowling Without Pins”. He spoke eloquently on an error bosses make, by not providing enough feedback to their employees. The metaphor stuck with me throughout my management career.  People who work without feedback will never meet your expectations because they never know what they are.

But enough about some speaker’s who’s name I no longer remember, let’s get back to talking about me. I have noticed that on many social media outlets, there is an option to “share” when you deem something shareable. (For some folks that is everything they see.) The problem for me is no site defines the specific criteria of what one should consider, before hitting that sacred share button…until now.

Share if you like.

Share if you don’t like.

Share if you love your children.

Share if you have admitted you were wrong at least once.

Share if you didn’t even read this. (Except for this sentence)

Share if you know you are the only good driver on the road.

Share if you stare out the window regretting every decision you ever made.

Share if you looked at your spouse and silently thought WTF.

Share if you occasionally go on the internet while at work.

Share if you almost did something nice for somebody else yesterday.

Share if the shares in your investment portfolio are not meeting your expectations.

(I just used share twice in one comment, please double share if you liked that one.)

Share if you forgot to write a really good idea down, and now you have forgotten it.

Share if you send emails out at work that get no responses.

Share if you are currently the world record holder of the 100 meter hurdle race.

Share if you are on death row, but share this immediately.

Share if you currently have more 12,358 photos on your iPhone.

Share if you have viewed more than two billion cat videos in the past ten days

Share if you were thinking about exercising this morning.

Share if you are currently in contention for the Noble Peace Prize.

Share if you voted in your last municipal election.

Share if your parents and teachers taught you that sharing was an okay thing to do.

I am excited because I have already forecasted my sharing results. Since I average about two and a half readers per week, if one of those readers accidentally hits the share button and then that person accidentally hits share instead of block forever button, I forecast by midyear 2017, I will have well over fifteen followers. In anticipation of this milestone, I have prebooked two lanes at my local bowling alley on August 15 2027 2:30 p.m.

See you there, shoe rentals are on me.

RIP Van Miller.

Cue the Blong, Though my more romantic songs tend to get less traffic on my Sound cloud, I continue to write them. My attempt at three part harmony on the chorus, is this week’s lofty pursuit.  But You Linger is the title of this week’s song.




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