by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
The Beatles sang about “Revolution”, you know, we all want to change the world. Revolutions in the game of bowling refer to the number of times your ball makes a 360 degree rotation on its way down the lane. Even with the fancy colors of the new balls, you can see the revs, but it’s difficult to count the number. The PBA tour has fancy electronic technology to do it for the pros. It’s a little easier for me to count my revs. I just listen to the number of thumps as the thumbhole contacts the lane surface on its way down the lane.
Since Barack Obama has promised change for the world, I’m going to drop the “R” and talk about the evolution of bowling shirts. 50 years ago, bowlers wore light weight cotton shirts that were cut extremely loose around the shoulders. Many shirts had five or six bowling pin buttons down the front. The fabric did not stretch, so the extra room was needed for the arm swing. Air Flo shirts even had a couple of holes near the armpit, presumably so that if you had a perspiration problem, you could share it with your league mates. Along came double knit and polyester fabric, and pullover shirts became the standard in the 70s. Bowlers welcomed the stretch fabric as did professional baseball players who were able to put the old flannels in moth balls.
In the last quarter of the 20th century, various bowling equipment manufacturers’ logos started appearing on the shirts of many of the pros. Maybe a patch for Contour grips, or a corporate sponsor was on the sleeve also. I entered a Senior PBA regional once at Village North, and the rules were a bit over the top. If your pants had a little “Levi” or “Dockers” tag on the waist band, cut it off or pay big bucks. If your shirt said “Ashworth” or “Izod”, cover it with a PBA Tour patch, or pay big bucks. I guess I understand endorsement rules, but this was a regional tournament. No television cameras, and the only spectators were a few wives and bowling junkies. But rules are rules and the PBA protects its advertisers.
Lately I’ve noticed bowling apparel on the PBA tour which is beginning to rival NASCAR drivers. A couple of weeks ago, it looked like Norm Duke had vertical blinds installed on the picture window of his house and had a new bowling shirt made for him out of the old drapes. Jason Couch’s Ebonite “bowl to win” T-shirt turned his massive frame into a bowling billboard. Bowling ball makers try hard to make the logos and names visible on the equipment, since the commentators never seem to mention which ball a pro is using on TV.
Endorsements are great for those who can get them. Unfortunately in these tough economic times, it looks like Tiger Woods will no longer have a complimentary Rendezvous in his driveway, and the Buick Open golf tournaments, may become the Buick Closed. What’s next? Will Michael Jordan have to pay for his underwear? But I do want to mention that I have a new millennium stylish mock turtle neck bowling shirt with the mnbowling.com logo printed on the front. There’s plenty of room on the sleeves in case a local pizza restaurant, auto repair shop, or wrist brace company is interested.