Sunday afternoon I was torn between two events that I needed to cover. One was an enjoyable afternoon of music, and the other was an afternoon of listening and watching the high school students present the speeches and media that they took to the state speech competition.

I opted to stay and watch the speeches.

One particularly made me chuckle and I had to nab the student who presented it on his way out the door.

I suppose I enjoyed it mostly because I like a good play on words, I'm "punny" that way.

There were other speeches that were given, another that was particularly moving that I want to track down for you, but here's the lighthearted after dinner speech written and presented by Charley Cooling.

The category he presented in was "After Dinner Speaking". Charley received a 1 Rating which is "Superior" at both District and State Competitions. The speeches are not "ranked" but you need a Divisions 1 rating to make it to state.


It's Super BOWL weekend. You're hanging on the edge of your couch as the ball swings left and misses. You jump out of your chair and should "No, Belmo, No!" The ball ends up in the A2 pinsetter, he leaves the 5-pin standing and another PBA championship goes down the gutter. I'm talking about a super-bowling weekend, professional bowler Jason Belmonte, "Belmo,: and the kind of event we bowling lovers find to be "right up our alley."

It may strike you that bowling gets no respect, even though it is an official sport, just like football, volleyball, wrestling, verbal dueling, and hot dog eating. So, let's not roll through the mystery of bowling and attempt to frame that makes bowling such an addictive sport. First, let's examine how going bowling takes balls, second, let's discover how to keep your mind and balls out of the gutter, and thirdly, let's pin down some of the mystery of the scoring.

First, going bowling takes balls. Strike balls, "I wish I got a strike" balls, "I just struck out balls." spare balls and gutter balls are common examples. I'll spare you and just focus on strike and spare balls. Bowling balls are priced between $100 and $300, according to bowling writer and expert Jeff Goodger. They come in different weights and take it from me folks they hurt tremendously when you drop them on your toe. It's recommended you throw a ball 10 percent of your body weight, so forget about hurling an 18 pounder to prove your manliness. For me, this means about a 15 pounder.

Now that you've got your balls, let's learn to keep[ them out of the gutter. What I'm talking about is getting spares-hitting the remaining pin or pins after your first throw. It sounds easy, doesn't it? Well, let's face it, split happens. I googled "splits" and found that there were many common ones. First, the side splits and the yoga splits. Then, the Greek Church, which is "strikingly" similar to the actual Greek Church. Then the goal post. Bet you thought I'd fumble through that one. And then, the Cincinnati. Can you imagine dropping your balls in that river?

We've looked at splits and I can't spare you the spares. Like, Picture that there is one pin at the right end of the lane. That pin is called the 10-pin, by the way. How do you get it? One way to get it is to run down and knock it over yourself while no one is looking. A more traditional approach is to stand in the middle and try to throw the ball at it, PRAY, and hope it doesn't go too far right or's like politics. Now, picture a 3-pin split with the middle pin behind the other two. How are you going to get that? Maybe send your teammates down to knock that over when no one is looking. And of course, the spare pins could be far away from each other. That's called a breakup, and I've never spared that. The basic mantra? Leave no pin standing.

But seriously folks, we've looked at the balls and kept your mind out of the gutter, we've split our differences on how to pick up your spares, and now, let's pin down the scoring. You've all heard the phrasing "strike, double, turkey, hambone." Sounds like Thanksgiving dinner? Well, it is. You ought to see those turkeys run down those lanes. But seriously folks, my varsity team of six bowlers typically total between 2500 and 2900 points at every meet. Yes, I can actually contribute to a score like that. Bowling is hard. But not nearly as hard as actually adding up your score. Let's take the example of Jack the bowler.

To explain, Jack scores 20 points for his 1st frame, as he had a strike followed by knocking down 10 pins in the next frame. Jack only scores 15 points for his 2nd frame, as he had a spare and then knocked down 5 pis for his first attempt at the third frame. Simple math.

According to the Bowlers Journal, 95 million people knock down millions of pins every year, and fortunately, we know exactly how many thanks to automated scoring and pin set up. At least it beats having those turkeys run down the lane to re-set those pins after every roll. Enough talking about turkey, as you can see, the scoring in bowling is much, much more complicated than you thought it was. In fact, it's way more complicated than football scoring, or hot dog eating scoring.

So the next time someone strikes up a conversation with you about bowling, hopefully, you'll be in the right frame of mind to get some balls and try it out. After a closer look at the balls, the strategies for throwing them, and the scoring, you also might want to settle in for a little Super PBA bowling excitement. And, I'm sure you'll find a trip to the lanes to be right up your alley.

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Comments (1)

Outstanding Charley! Thanks for the laughter as I read it!
By: Jennifer Janssen on April 17th 8:27pm

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