by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
Most people would agree that a 1909 score in all events would be pretty decent in any tournament. But it is also the year that is celebrating it’s 100th birthday presently. In 1909 there were only 8,000 American made vehicles on the roads. Sometimes, history repeats itself, as it looks as if we may be approaching that figure again in the near future. There were 144 miles of paved roads in the entire United States. I’m sure Minnesota had it’s share of these miles, and word is that the Minnesota Highway Department may be upgrading some of these roads soon, if they can fit it into the budget.
Bowling history is not well documented in those times. There were various bowling clubs spread around the country, but not much attention was paid to ball or pin dimensions or weights. In September of 1895, a guy named Joe Thum gathered a number of leaders of bowling clubs from around the country and formed the American Bowling Congress. The ladies of the sport had to wait until 1917 for the Women’s International Bowling Congress to officially sanction the sport.
Although the ABC had provided some definition for bowling, in 1909 lawn bowling was still very popular around the country. Canned beer and crossword puzzles had not been invented yet, so people had to spend their free time on something. However, if you played too soon after a rain, the back ends skidded a bit and it was tough to carry. Also, some lawn bowling operators purposely let the grass grow longer on the left side of the lawn to keep the southpaw scores lower. Life expectancy in 1909 was 47 years, so if the Midwest Senior Classic had been formed, it would probably have to be for old guys over 35.
The yo-yo in a young boy’s pocket has been replaced by an IPOD, and a cell phone. As one whose first games of bowling took place above the liquor store, on wood lanes with young men in the back resetting the pins for 10 cents a game, and keeping score on a huge sheet of paper with a pencil as big as a horse’s leg; it gives me pause to wonder what the sport will be like in 2109. I know I won’t be around to see it, but no matter what improvements are made to the equipment and mechanical devices in the game, it will be difficult to improve on the interaction and friendships that evolve for all of us.