by Randy Ooney
“I’ve got a Lingo!”
Lingo seems to be a permanent resident of all sports. Baseball’s Home Run has been called a Homer, Round Tripper, Tater, Big Fly, and many other things. Once in a high school game in Cresco, Iowa, a ground ball went through the infield, but before the outfielder could get to it, a pig running loose picked it up in his mouth and ran behind a barn. It was ruled an inside-the-pork home run.
Bowling has it’s own set of popular phrases and names. The 2-4-5-8 (or lefties’ 3-5-6-9) is called a dinner bucket, although I have heard people mispronounce the “b” occasionally. The term “Split” seems fairly self explanatory, but why is the combination of the head pin and ten pin called a “washout.” My mom used to hang the wash out on Mondays Why is a strike in baseball a swing and a miss, while a strike in bowling is the best result? I guess they are both good for the pitcher. Two strikes in succession is called a double, okay, but three strikes in a row is called a turkey. I think in the past, a bowler making three consecutive strikes was awarded a turkey by the bowling center around Thanksgiving. With today’s synthetic lanes and high powered equipment, a league could clean out the entire city of Worthington in one night. Four in a row is called a four-bagger. That is all it will ever be called, unless it’s rolled at the beginning of the game, where you may also call it the front four.
If you got a handful on your release, and the ball maybe hooked about four boards more than expected, it had a lot of groceries on it. That’s good if it went to the two board first. Maybe not so good if went out to ten and came back to 20 Randy Pederson frequently says the ball went out for a cheeseburger and fries and came back with a steak and baked potato. So if your oil pattern is cake, and you send it to the two board with a lot of groceries on it, order up a beer because you’ve got a seven course meal. On the other hand, if you release the ball with no groceries, you may end up with an empty dinner bucket.
I know no one has ever left the 5-7-10, but we know others who have. Seems it’s commonly called a Lily. Did a bowling center award lilies to a bowler if he left this combination around Easter? My favorite is the 4-6-7-10. (or lefties’ 10-7-6-4). USBC calls it the Big Four. I’ve heard it called the Nixons, the mis pronounced bucket, (see above), or believe it or not a “Double Pinochle”. I’ve played Pinochle, and if I remember right, pinochle is the queen of spades and the jack of diamonds. So which two pins are the queens? Add one pin and the double pinochle becomes a Greek church. Add another and it becomes a “Full Sodie”, but only in Minnesota.
Crossover strikes are frequently called on the “Brooklyn” side. This only makes sense for right handers if the bowling center faces South. If it faces North it would be a San Francisco strike. But San Francisco has no bowling centers. They couldn’t find a level platte of land to build one, so I guess we need to call it a Reno strike.
I haven’t heard this one for awhile: When a bowler tossed a particularly wide shot, maybe picking off the 6-9-10, someone would holler, “Next time you’re out there, could you start my car?” This was before reactive balls and remote car starters had been invented. Now you might say, “Next time you’re out there, pick me up a souvenir from the Corn Palace”. But only if the bowling center faces south.