Tractors and Bowling – the Similarities

Tractors and Bowling – the Similarities


My professional life can get pretty stressful. Whether it’s consulting on public relations challenges for small businesses, speaking at conferences on related subjects, and of course, there’s Chuck’s. That’s the name of the store for used garden tractors I co-own with my good friend of 17 years, Peter.

So what do I do when it’s time to unwind, let off a little steam, need to get myself re-focused and my mind off my work? I go bowling. I once read somewhere, someone defined bowling as “the sport of first-dates, Homer Simpson, and weekend afternoon programming on ESPN 2”. Now that is pretty darn funny and yes, very true in many respects. The most important one being the qualification of bowling as a sport.

That’s because it is one. Bowling is absolutely, positively, without question a sport.

Now when I’ve stated this fact in the past, I’ve had push back from those who want to debate the merits of such a declaration. I’ve heard a few different arguments aiming to debunk my theory of bowling as a sport. They’ve said some pretty ridiculous things. It’s not a sport if everybody can play it. It’s not a sport if you can play, and often score better, when you’re drunk. It’s kind of like riding a used John Deere lawn tractor.

It’s not a sport if you can play it while drinking. I’ve even heard the argument that people who couldn’t be less athletically inclined have bowled perfect 300 games. Then there’s my favorite one: have you seen what professional bowlers look like? Most of them are overweight and look like they couldn’t run a 100 yard dash.

Well I’ve got news for these folks – bowling is a sport for a couple of reasons, the first of which is because they can’t seem to differentiate between what we play at the local lanes on a Friday night and what the professionals work and train for day in, day out.

Even league bowling, organized at your local alley lanes, is a highly competitive affair. Just because anyone can participate in a sport doesn’t mean it’s not a sport. That would be like saying baseball isn’t a sport because of Little League or when a bunch of guys and gals get together and play flag football in the park that obviously means football isn’t a sport anymore either. You don’t have to be at the top of your game to play one. Sports are played on a number of levels, unlike my easy daytime task of searching for used lawn tractors for sale.

As for the “common man” scoring a perfect game so therefore it’s not a sport, I say poppycock. First of all, do you know difficult it is to score a 300? I play regularly and have only sniffed greatness on that level twice, with a 245 score at my highest. It’s incredibly difficult. There are so many factors that need to fall in line all at the same time, but it can be done. The secret is doing it again afterward or at least coming close. See, that’s how the pros do it. Your buddy can bowl a perfect game but can he do it a second time?

That’s the difference. That’s what makes bowling a sport. Now go out there and play a few frames. Enjoy the sport of bowling!

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