I like to make fun of the USBC. My usual targets are the rulebook and US Bowler magazine. I don't really have anything against the USBC. It's just fun to stick it to the man. I am generally very impressed with the governing body of American bowling. For example, I recently found a nerd's dream book, the Equipment Specifications and Certification Manual, which is filled with all kinds of detailed information about standards of lane, pin, and ball construction. It's a rather remarkable thing. I had no idea to what lengths the USBC had gone to standardize the game. Anyway, while I was perusing Bowl.com, the USBC website, I found an article with this headline: USBC Equipment Specifications and Certifications Committee adopts new bowling ball specification as part of continuing effort to reestablish bowling’s credibility.
While there is clearly some history here to which I am not privy, I found this rather remarkable. Below is a screen shot of the website. You can find it here. I'm curious if they will change it. In effect, this headline says that bowling has lost its credibility, or at least that this is the official opinion of the body that governs it.
In brief, this article has to do with a change to the rules governing bowling ball specifications, specifically the radius of gyration. This change will decrease the amount of action a ball can have or reduce its break. According to USBC Technical Director Steve Kloempken, “We will continue addressing this issue and investigating possible specification changes until we get back to the point where player skill is as important as, if not more important than, technology in determining success on the lanes.” In other words, bowling ball technology has evolved to the point where scores are not really reflective of skill. Lower skill players can inflate their scores through the use of highly engineered bowling balls. It is somewhat analogous to the use of steroids in baseball, something which has clearly harmed baseball's credibility. Incidentally, the use of steroids is permitted in bowling.
Still, I can't imagine the MLB ever saying that baseball has lost its credibility. Can you imagine the NFL saying that football is no longer credible, or that we need to reestablish its credibility? All sports evolve over time. Rules change. The intent of rule changes is to make the game safer, more standardized, more fair, etc. Think of instant replay in football, baseball, or basketball. Despite delays to the game, incorrect calls can be overturned and the correct outcome is attained. Were these sports not credible prior to instant replay? Of course not. Bad calls were part of the game.
So USBC, I would recommend that you change the wording of this headline. If you feel that some of the juice should be taken out of hi-fi bowling balls, I applaud your efforts to do so. After all, I've always felt that the reason why everybody in league is better than me is their equipment. I bowl as well as a human can possibly bowl, and still only average in the 160's. But when you write headlines, don't say that bowling has lost its credibility. What do you think of this edit?
USBC Equipment Specifications and Certifications Committee adopts new bowling ball specification as part of continuing effort to reduce score inflation
Yeah. I think that sounds a lot better. Don't you?
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