TWO PREDOMINATING MOTIVES lead the average person to take up bowling. Stated simply, one is the desire for a pleasant and health-giving recreation; the other is the hope of becoming reasonably expert in the game. To gain a sensible balancing of these prime motives is to benefit immeasurably as a life-long and happy follower of the tenpin art.
First and foremost, bowling is a game. This simple fact should never be lost sight of, no matter how fascinating the game becomes. From the player’s standpoint, it cannot successfully be looked upon as a "profession," a "vocation," or a "high-scoring medium." This statement of course, precludes to an extent those rare individuals who have become so highly proficient in scoring as to warrant the spending of a portion of their time as "touring instructors" and boosters of the game. However, it does apply with marked emphasis, to that multitude of individuals who bowl for pleasure.
From bowling, as a game, come numerous benefits which are gratifying to the higher sense of living. Many are so self-evident that they are too often taken for granted as one progresses from year to year in the enjoyment of these benefits. Any bowler realizes that he is treating his entire system to a mild, needful stimulant every time he rolls a line. Followers of the game, "for the 'game's sake," find many ailments are corrected; a stronger nervous and muscular constitution is created; a happier mental state is developed; new and congenial friendships are formed; a better sporting instinct is born: the thrill of friendly competition is experienced; and, on occasions, one's vanity or ego, is tickled by turning in a high single, or a creditable three-game series. Furthermore, the grouch learns to drop his gloom, and the overburdened, his mental weariness. "Old stuff," someone may say with a trace of sarcasm - but forever true. Without these manifold benefits, bowling could never have reached the height of popularity which it enjoys.
Those thousands who have preserved the happy faculty of accepting tenpins from the recreational viewpoint are the ones who are possessed with a more conscious appreciation of the blessings which the game provides.
To become obsessed with the “high scoring fever” is to miss nine-tenths of the pure joy of bowling. If the bowler thoughtlessly' allows his interest in scoring to predominate, failing to appreciate the more stable features which have been mentioned, he is most certain to rob himself of the true happiness and comfort bowling can give when intelligently indulged in (as a game). Even the ‘topnotchers’ cannot always turn in mammoth scores, but this does not remove the enthusiasm of those among them who have wisely preserved their bowling balance.
It is these high type individuals found within the ranks of “class A” bowlers who become ardent boosters of tenpins in a most constructive sense. Even so, it is not reasonable to suspect that because of their prowess they enjoy the game to a greater extent, or excel the enthusiasm and constructive leadership of their lower average brethren in bowling. Only the “rare-and-far-between” exception tends to mar ever so slightly, this general happy condition among followers of bowling, as a game.
Originally published in THE A.B.C. BULLETIN -- February 21, 1936