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Bowling Through My Eyes continues our series of Editorial articles by queuing some humorous commentary known as bowling through my eyes. I have always thought that there exists an unusual amount of odd phraseology or terminology used by fellow bowlers describing our sport. Let’s address a few of these phrases or terms we likely have all heard at bowling centers throughout our country, or at least ones I have heard many times which may be referred to amusingly as bowling through my eyes.

“That’s my house.” For years, I have heard this phrase and in almost every case after I would investigate at the county courthouse, the bowler who made reference “that’s my house” was not the legal owner of the bowling center. So what does the bowler mean? Does he or she boast being the best bowler at that center? Perhaps the best personal scores were recorded at that center? “Why say that’s my house?” I don’t get it.

“That’s my pair.” This is another similar term which refers to the favorite pair of lanes the given bowler enjoys participating on during competition. The last time I checked when I heard that phrase, the bowler did not actually own the bowling center or that pair of lanes, or any other pair of lanes in America. Perhaps the best personal scores this bowler ever recorded were on that pair of lanes?

“He hooks it off the lane.” I have actually heard a bowler boasting about a fellow player who uses a power delivery style. Why would this bowler say “he hooks it off the lane” instead of “he hooks it a great deal.” Hooking a ball off the lane does no one any good whatsoever. Why the predisposition for “hooking it off the lane?” Wouldn’t it be best to be impressed by a player who scores very high routinely instead of merely the pure power involved in hooking the ball off the lane. Getting zero pin count serves no purpose.

“I snapped off my opponent last night.” What in the world of tenpins does that mean? Likely it means that the bowler is bragging about achieving a higher score than his opponent. “I snapped off my opponent” would likely sound to some innocent bystander with no knowledge of bowling terms as though the bowler murdered his opponent. How brutally sad that term is and why anyone would say it confounds me. Perhaps it would be best to say “I snapped off my opponent’s scores in league last night?” Now that is a much friendlier statement.

“I left the ringing ten in the tenth.” Now if we were not bowlers, wouldn’t this sentence suggest that the bowler exited the building after leaving behind a personal belonging after he (or she) completed the final frame of bowling. Where on earth did the phrase “ringing ten” originate? We all know it refers to leaving the ten pin after the six pin wraps around the neck of the ten pin on a solid pocket hit. Why ringing ten though. I have never heard a pin ring in my entire life.

“I am a stroker.” Now that’s one for you. What the hell would that mean if we were not discussing a bowler’s delivery style. It sounds like a therapeutic nurse in a local hospice. That is not a term I care to use to describe myself in any way.

“I can’t carry for Poop.” I chose an alternative word for this phrase. Does this phrase mean toting groceries in from your car? Why do bowlers use this term “carry” when referring to pin-fall? Not an elegant term.

“I struck out in the tenth.” Most Americans were brought up to think that striking out was a bad thing. If a baseball player was quoted as saying “I struck out in the tenth” we would assume he had strike three called on him at the plate in extra innings. In bowling, it refers to something good - three strike in the tenth frame. How in the world did that phrase ever come to popularity?

“I chopped the bucket.” Now that sounds like an accident in the barnyard, not a bowling term. Failing to convert a fairly difficult spare is not best described by “chopping the bucket.”

“I washed out in the first.” Now that sounds like a boot camp GI getting tossed from active military service. The phrase obviously refers to a common spare leave known as a “washout.” That phrase evokes memories of past failures as opposed to describing a bowling pin configuration.

“I still have not gotten my first 300 game.” Now this one really peeves me to no end. Does any bowler making this statement actually believe that rolling a perfect game, a 300 score, is a right of passage? Like everyone will get a 300 game and I can’t believe I haven’t gotten mine yet. That is a phrase laced with pure arrogance. “I would love to get my first 300 game” is a graceful way to say the same thing. Let’s face it, most of us bowlers are not too graceful when it comes to bowling lingo.

“The lanes fried out.” What the heck does that mean, the lanes scorched and were burnt beyond any reasonable expectancy for future use. How does referring to lanes which are of the “dry” oil condition after a great deal of linage during a given day make sense by saying “the lanes fried out.” Sounds to me the bowler “fried out” and could not cope with the condition.

“I went Brooklyn on that shot.” How in the world did the term “Brooklyn” come to refer to a strike. I have heard that it originated in New York when a bowler crosses over the Brooklyn Bridge and later rolled a strike by missing the pocket on a cross-over hit in the first game of league competition. Perhaps you have heard differently?

“Jersey Strike” is a similar phrase originated after a bowler crossed the George Washington Bridge and then rolled a strike in New Jersey. Never heard anything about the “Golden Gate” strike or the Mackinac Bridge” strike. Just sayin’.

“My bowling ball died.” Shall we make funeral arrangements and alert the media? Sorry for your loss. Maybe if you increased your rev-rate and delivery speed, your bowling ball might actually be here to enjoy summer.

“I lost the beer frame.” Misplacing something so valuable as a “beer frame’ no doubts disappoints teammates immensely.

“I left the Double Pinochle last frame.” It always amazed me how some bowlers can play in an important card game competition and still mange to bowl league at the same time.

“Trippin the Four.” This is one of my all time favorite stories involving PBA legend and Hall of Fame Champion of the 1950’s and 1960’s, Harry “Tiger” Smith. “”Smitty” as we called him, had tasted a bit too much of the “suds” and was unfortunately arrested and held overnight in an East Las Vegas, Nv. jail, or so it was reported.

When PBA National Tournament Director, Harry Golden, learned of Smitty’s peril, Mr. Golden raced down to the police station to bail out Smitty. When Smitty was asked why he was tossed in the cell, Smitty replied I was busted for “tripping the four!!” LOL

Only in our game of bowling can we communicate in ways no other citizens on earth understand. I guess that is why we develop a Love/Hate relationship with the game over the years and why we keep coming back.

Well, that’s bowling through my eyes. Long live bowling and long live you wonderful folks!

Thank you!

Rich Carrubba