Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Bowling and Slide Rules

Went bowling the other day.  It was at one of those hip, modern lanes where everything is computerized.  Everything.  Hell, you could just touch a button to make little barriers pop up to prevent your ball from going into the gutter.  Saw some kid's ball zig-zagging all the way down the lane, bouncing off those barriers three times before it finally hit the pins.  It wasn't bowling, it was billiards.

What got me, though, was the computerized score-keeping.  They didn't have that when I was a kid -- I grew up actually knowing how to keep score.  And I realized all these kids (and plenty of the adults, too) really have no idea how to score a game of bowling, and would be totally lost dealing with someone getting two marks in a row if the scoring computer suddenly broke down.  And I felt sad about it.

Not because these folks couldn't score their own game at an old-fashioned lane, but because they just don't have the understanding of how this system works -- which will ultimately lessen their appreciation of the game.  Sure, they're all about knocking down as many pins as possible, but there's a little more to it than that.  You should be able to watch two guys bowling and know exactly what one guy needs to do to be able to win the game -- you should be able to figure this in your head, rather than waiting to see the score appear on the computer screen above.

I started thinking about all my math teachers who banned calculators from the classroom.  I always hated when they did that -- I figured, "hey, there's this perfectly good tool here to do the grunt work for you, why not let the tool do it?"  But they wanted me to learn how to do stuff the hard way first -- to have an understanding of the steps the tool was bypassing.

And when I see bowling scorekeeping going the way of the slide rule, I have a newfound respect for the calculator-haters.  It may seem like a small, insignificant thing, but we're definitely raising a generation of kids who have no idea how to keep score bowling -- and I can't help but think the lack of knowledge is their loss.


luvspspnkids said...

Its sad how dependant we are on technology. When they were worried about the art of letter writing being replaced by the telephone and now moving on to Email even. I still miss a good handwritten note. Not everyone deals with email and internet. The people closest to us probably don't. I totally get what your saying.

annalisa135 said...

You hit a topic that I couldn't agree with more.

I grew up in a family of bowlers.  I myself can't bowl worth a darn, but I remember many, many times going and keeping score for my mom's team.  It was fun and really cool.  I felt so important.  lol

We never had gutter guards either.  I laughed at your "it wasn't bowling, it was billiards" comment -- and although it is funny, you are right, of course. :-)

It's another part of today's society that has become too easy.  The future generations will be so spoiled.  And another fine art (bowling, score keeping, the good old fashioned way) is becoming extinct.  

How sad is that?!    :-(