All sports have unwritten rules of behavior. For example in baseball it is inappropriate to steal a base late in a game when your team has a big lead. That is considered to be rubbing it in. Likewise in football, throwing the ball in the fourth quarter with a big lead is considered to be in bad taste.
I recall a college football game in which a team tossed a 40-yard TD pass with less than a minute to go. That made the final score 51-3 and had people talking afterward.
The coach who called the pass play had substitutes in the game and said it was not fair to ask his second stringers to not "play" as they had worked hard all week in practice. Point taken. To his credit, the opposing coach suggested that he had no problem with the call. "It's our job to stop the play," he commented. "We didn't do a very good job of that."
Meanwhile a whole bunch of fans were incensed as they felt the scoring team was not demonstrating appropriate etiquette. Sometimes "proper" behavior is obvious, other times there is a gray area.
Let's take for example the baseball no-hitter. Superstitions abound when a game gets into the late innings and a hurler has a chance for a no-no. Teammates will not sit by him in the dugout. Opponents will eschew bunting for a hit. Nobody, and that usually includes the announcers, will mention the fact that a hit has not been recorded.
That brings me to bowling's equivalent of a no-hitter. What is the right thing to do when a bowler takes a potential perfect game into the 10th frame? I am referring to the bowlers who are competing on the adjoining lanes. What should they do in deference to their fellow competitor?
One school of thought is that the bowlers on the two adjoining lanes simply stop to give the stage to the perfectionist. Don't go up there, let him have his moment. Others don't think this is the way to go. They believe the other bowlers should do what they have been doing all game long. Bowl when it's their turn and thus "pace" the guy who is striving for that elusive 300 game. Sometimes it is hard to know what would be the proper etiquette in this situation.
If one chooses to bowl on the lane beside the man of the moment and you leave a split - well, we know about that superstition. The one thing you surely don't want to do is to wait until the guy takes to the approach and then jump in front of him. That is a breach of protocol for sure and that is exactly what happened earlier this season at Dunn's Lanes.
John Wedge had the front nine and stepped to the plate (just couldn't resist the baseball analogy) for the final frame. My teammate noticed how the bowler next to him, who was obviously oblivious to the situation, stepped up and bowled while John was already on the approach. It did not shake Mr. Wedge as he buried three straight to record his first perfect game.
I talked to him afterward and asked about the lack of etiquette demonstrated by the bowler beside him. John did not even notice the gaffe. He was, he suggested, focused. Here's my suggestion to all bowlers. If a situation arises and you are not sure about appropriate etiquette, ask someone what to do. At the very least consider WWEPS!
Robin Dickman shot 608 to lead the Alley Cats League. Carla Siebenaller had 536, Heather Butler 523, Donna Schriner 490 and Jan Houk 488. In the Rocket League Dave Coppus shot 599, Paul Landers 597, Steve Barnes 596, Ed Conrad 567, Tyson Shope 545, Beth Jones 491 and Dottie Funk 485. Scores from the Wednesday Morning League included Mark Huffman 641, Tyson Shope 638, Dave Jumper 628, Ken Lofton 619, Steve Norman 591, Paul Landers 563 and Cheryl Radin-Norman 462. Steve Steinmetz Jr. shot 653, Brian Shane 633, Deb Nominee 589, Ben Hoyda 584, Rhonda Fitch 535 and Martha Heyman 480.
Ken Bauman topped the Big 8 League with a 705. Brian Soals shot 692, Jim Ross 681, Scott Washburn 661, Ben Hoyda 655, Yazu Wilson 644, Aaron Scott 643, Ryan Chevalier 637, Jack Book 629, Wilmer Clem 624, John Sauers 624, Aaron Sherman 622, Bob Wilson 617, Mark Ratliff 615, Jim Hershberger 612, Robert Terris, Jr. 612, Rich Yates Jr. 610, Chris King 605 and Chuck Jones 603. In the Sportsman League Ricy Yates Jr. had 674, Scott Hartsel 646, Chris Rhodes 626, Ron Jordan 620, Rich Yates Sr. 618, Tony Selhorst 611, Chris Johnson 609 and Kevin Fitch 604. Josh Conley led the Twilight League with 625. Kevin Fitch shot 623, Tom Tiell 574, Steve Steinmetz Sr. 570, Rhonda Fitch 527 and Robin Brownell 482.
Action from the K of C Lanes found Chris Johnson shooting 610, Brett Elchert 579, Dave Hohman 575, Mark Orians 572, Darl Elchert 571, Rick Smith 548 and Jim Rainey 542 in the Tuesday Night League. Senior League scores included Bennett Paulus 655, Mike Reser 603, Doug Snyder 563, Herb Sendelbach 519, Fred Reimer 515 and Ken Ritzler 507. In the Lady Knights League Carol Burmeister shot 419, Linda Caseman 412, Flo Lucius 407 and Amy Traxler 404. Dick Gabel topped the 55 Plus League with 534. Bob Reinhart shot 522, Denny Scherger 520, Dan Coppes 518, Bob West 501, Steve Schafer 499, Bill Mizen 453, Ron Mellott 453, John Ferstler 450, Dave Everhart 434, Jim Ferstler 424 and Jim Donaldson 414.
Just in case you haven't figured it out yet - it stands for What Would Emily Post Say.
Al Stephenson is The A-T's bowling columnist.
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