It's the time of year when I put away the little white dimpled ball and get out my large purple rock with the three holes in it. Though both golf and bowling can be combined at this time of year, soon bowling will be the only option for us local sport thrill seekers.
I often have been asked whether I prefer golf or bowling. By often, I mean I think someone asked me that question once. Actually, maybe I just decided to tell somebody which sport I like best. As you know if you are familiar with me, I'm very seldom short of words and I'm willing to share them with anyone crazy enough to listen to me rattle on. You know; kind of like that last sentence.
For the sake of argument, let's assume that someone did ask me the question. Which of the two sports do I like the most? It's not an easy question to answer. In high school I always suggested the sport I liked most was the one that was in season. However, I will assume you want an honest answer, so I have given the matter some relatively serious thought. Four factors were taken into consideration in making my choice:
n Indoors versus Outdoors. Golf is played outside, while bowling takes place indoors. So where would I rather be? It's hard to beat being out in the sun from May to October. Then again it's nice to have a sport to play when the snow around here gives one a severe case of cabin fever. Outdoors or indoors? Both have merits. Sorry, but there's not enough to tip the scales one way or the other.
n The Age Problem. I will not reveal my age here, but suffice it to say that I do have a Golden Buckeye card. So as the years take their toll, is it easier to play golf or go bowling? Let's see.
Last Wednesday I played golf with a guy who made the following comment: "Who would have thought that we would be playing golf at this age. My goodness I'm 75 years old." And you're still playing well, Bob!
Later that same day I went bowling and watched as an opponent threw a turkey at my team in a key part of game three. Wayne is on the north side of 80 and is still bowling well.
Again, I say there is not enough evidence to choose the best sport for the older generation.
n The Injury Potential. This is related to the age problem. When you get as old as I am, you are concerned with the possibility of getting hurt. I have seen people pull muscles while bowling. I have seen the same thing happen to guys swinging golf clubs. Personally (knock on wood) I have not been injured while competing in either sport.
It could happen though. I have had the same dining room table for over thirty years and I'm guessing the legs never have moved on that particular piece of furniture. That hasn't stopped me from stubbing my toe on those legs on more than one occasion.
Remember too that I tore a calf muscle when I woke up in the middle of the night and stretched. Is golf more dangerous than bowling? Is it the other way around? For me there is no difference and I am still no closer to choosing a favorite sport.
n The Friend Factor. I do not bowl by myself. I do not golf by myself. The beauty of both sports is the fact that you get to compete with and against friends. When the games are over you get to sit with those same buddies and rehash the festivities.
I guess that means to choose my favorite sport I have to determine which set of friends I like the best. That, folks, is just not going to happen. I just cannot make the decision. The sport I like best is the one I'm playing at the time.
Speaking of playing those sports, you might be interested to know that recently (three times in an eight day span) I have enjoyed golf and bowling on the same day. That's the great thing about the fall. I can have my own little triathalon. Golf and then bowling sandwiched around a nap. Remember, there is that age problem!
Given the wind and the falling temperatures of the last couple of days, I'd say that it's time to concentrate on bowling. My columns will feature bowling news for the foreseeable future and based on some of the scores I have seen, it appears that some of our local keglers are in mid-season form.
Rich Yates Jr. has already bowled a perfect game at Heritage Lanes and Kyle Echelberry took one into the 10th just this past week at Dunn's Lanes. It always amazes me that some bowlers can take four months off from the game and come out shooting scores that I can only dream about. For them it's just like riding a bike.
Hmmm, I think I can visualize another triathlon. Now that golf season is about over and bowling season is in full swing I can add bike riding to my agenda. Hey, I'm not giving up the nap!
Al Stephenson is The A-T's golf columnist.
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