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Bowling: Is it a Sport?

by Sarah Campbell October 15, 2015

When you first hear the word “bowling”, the first thing that comes to mind is probably memories of being a youth and bowling for your friend’s birthday. Most would say bowling is more of a game than a sport, but we set out to prove otherwise.

The definition of a sport - As defined by Merriam-Webster, a sport is “a contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete against each other”. By this definition, bowling is a contest, and by running and tossing a ball you exert muscles in your arms and legs, arguably your core as well. Professional bowling has leagues, rules, and fierce competition. By strictly definitive jargon, bowling is in fact, a sport.

What professional bowling physically requires - As many people play bowling as a game rather than a competitive sport, the physical aspects of bowling are rarely considered. Not only does it require your arm to carry up to 16 pounds of bowling ball, but you must be able to put enough velocity behind the ball for it to travel down a specified route and distance. Your legs must also be able to carry you and that ball to gain enough speed to create that velocity. Repeat this several times in a match, several times a day in a competition. Just try to pick up that 16 pound bowling ball after a day like that!

The skill - Not only does bowling require very particular hand-eye coordination, but to throw a ball down a 60 foot alley to hit a target that is roughly 2 inches in size arguably requires a great deal of skill and practice. To repeat this targeted hit multiple times in a game requires even greater skill.  

Not only the technical skill and physical ability, but the pressure and mental concentration required to repeatedly hit the target right on point makes bowling undeniably a sport in our eyes. And we’re sure that professional bowlers across the world would agree!

Sarah Campbell
Sarah Campbell

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