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Opening Arguments

Gutter bawl

As someone who once had a lot of fun bowling in leagues -- and, yes, even watching the pro matches on television -- I found this interesting and even a little depressing:

In the "golden era" of the 1960s and 70s, they made twice as much money as NFL stars, signed million dollar contracts, and were heralded as international celebrities. After each match, they’d be flanked by beautiful women who’d seen them bowl on television, or had read about them in Sports Illustrated

Today, the glitz and glamour has faded. Pro bowlers supplement their careers with second jobs, like delivering sod, or working at a call center. They share Motel 6 rooms on tour to save on travel expenses, and thrive on the less-than-exciting dime of beef jerky sponsorships.

Once sexy, bowling is now synonymous with cheap beer and smelly feet. In an entertainment-saturated culture, has the once formidable sport been gutter-balled? What exactly is it like to be a professional bowler today?

I'm not sure about the reasoning here, though. Bowling has always had that "cheap beer and smelly feet" blue-collar image. It's been the sport we low-class louts indulged in after watching wrasslin' on TV with Thelma Lou in the trailer park all day.

I suspect professional bowling has suffered from all the efforts bowling lanes have made to help the average bowler jack up his score. If there are millions of people out there who can hit 200 frequently, why spend time watching somebody win money by scoring 230 or 240? The gap between the average duffer and the really good pro golfers is much greater, so it's still worthwhile to watch them.