In the previous article, we spoke of the new faces on the Mercer County USBC BA Board. Here is a current list of board members. President: Jim Scrivens; Association Manager: Jim Faylo; 1st VP: Fred Tonty; 2nd VP: Gene (Pie) Rossi. Board members are as follows: Shawn Hoover, John Caracci, Joe Harkulich, Charlie Knott, Ralph Thomas, Ralph Fisher, Rick Coon and Ron Pacello. Pacello is also in charge of honor scores.
ä It has always been a bowling axiom that left-handers have it easier than right-handers. Those who espouse this thought usually claim since there are fewer left-handers, the lanes don’t break down as quickly on that side and that means the lefty has to make fewer adjustments.
Is the entire theory about it being easier for the left-hander fact, fiction, or does the truth lie somewhere in between? Let’s examine the situation and see what we can ascertain.
History and culture have always had a negative connotation for being left-handed. Consider the following statements: do the “right” thing, all the “right” moves, etc. Contrast those sayings to being “left” out, being out in “left” field, etc.
Here are some facts that may support that left-handers have the advantage. Statistics have shown that about 13 percent of the adult population is left-handed. However, if you review the list of the PBA top 50 bowlers of all time, you will find that 10 of them or about 20 percent were left-handed. Also keep in mind that a left-hander (Earl Anthony) holds the top spot.
It should also be noted that the lefties who were awarded top 50 spots spanned six decades of bowling (the 50’s through the present). However, the last 20 years have produced slightly more than previous times.
We won’t argue the fact that the lanes don’t change as much or as quickly for the lefty. However, is that really an advantage? We often hear league or tournament bowlers complain about a good or bad shot. The same holds true in the pros. If it’s a “good shot” (in the eyes of the bowler), then the advantage might be in favor of the left-hander.
If it’s a “bad shot”, the advantage might be with the right-hander. The reasoning is rather simple and is the reverse of the “less play” theory the bowlers think is so prevalent with lefties. Since it is a bad shot and there are more right-handed bowlers, the lanes will break down more rapidly and bring the shot more in line with how right-handers want to play the lanes.
You might ask if it’s possible to dress the lanes in such a way that carrydown would be equal for both the left and right hand bowlers? Given modern day equipment and knowing the ratio between right and left handed bowlers, the answer is probably yes. However, the probability of this happening is slim.
The equalization theory has been used in some international tournaments, but not enough scientific data has been compiled; therefore any conclusions are uncertain. However, this may be a good subject for USBC testing.
However, is it worth it? No matter what is proven there are times when the lefties will be at an advantage and other times when the righties will have the advantage. That’s been part of bowling since the sport began. Why change it now?
ä In previous years, the USBC published a quarterly magazine (U.S. Bowler) that was mailed to every sanctioned bowler. That practice has ceased. The magazine is still available, but only online at the Bowl.com website. This move is expected to save the USBC about $2.5 million.
I was curious, so I gave it a try. It’s rather difficult to find. You have to scroll down to the bottom of the site and it will be the last item in the column titled USBC information.
Youth bowling fared differently. The U.S. Youth Bowler magazine will continue to be mailed to homes.
Gabe D’Angelo is a local bowler and member of the Professional Bowlers Writers Association who writes this weekly column for The Herald