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Strike one for bowling purity.


We don't get to the bowling alley nearly as much as we'd like to, but we admit to loving the sport. Whether it's tenpins, candlepins, or duckpins, there's something enormously satisfying about the simple act of knocking down a bunch of well-ordered pins. We've even tried our hand at Wii bowling, which feels like bowling, even if no actual balls are thrown and no actual pins fall.

But a report in the Wall Street Journal has us wondering whether we should even spare the time to bowl. According to the article, equipment maker Storm Products Inc. attributes the huge increase in perfect 300 games since 1970 to the equipment that bowlers, professionals and amateurs alike, are using.

In our naivete, we had assumed that bowling balls were solid, uniform spheres, lanes were simply wooden runways, and achieving high scores was a matter of long practice in aiming and coaxing the materials to behave.

Well, the practice part still holds, but it turns out that some of today's bowling balls contain asymmetrically shaped cores that help bowlers achieve exactly the rotation and spin necessary to hit that sweet spot. And lanes are so oiled up that they resemble a tanker spill.

Bowling is still fun to watch and play, but it hardly seems as sporting. And it makes us wonder whether today's champions, whether professionals or amateurs, could hold a candlepin to the great names of the past.
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Title Annotation:EDITORIAL
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Feb 28, 2011
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