Posted on

Stationary bike spinning could keep athletic bowlers on a roll

Stationary bike spinning could keep athletic bowlers on a roll
Press photo by John Burbridge
Jayden Lopez warms up while using the two-handed style release while rolling with the Charles City high school bowling team last season.

By John Burbridge

It may have taken longer than I anticipated, but I think I’m about to become a billionaire.

I should have had this epiphany earlier — more on that, later — though if it had happened then it probably would have made me only a millionaire (runaway inflation has its benefits).

While referencing Victor Hugo’s famous observation that “nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come”, I must thank providence for that diamond-piercing arrow it shot through my forehead at that exact moment I pulled that said forehead out of another part of my body to make itself a lucky target. And not a moment too soon as such a muse was bound to find another brain to pierce.

That said, it may be foolish to reveal this powerful and profitable idea ahead of applying for a patent and hiring a deft lawyer so I could reap the fruits of my own brilliance all for myself, or as much as I can keep away from my lawyer. But duty to profession requires me to infuse significance to what likely is my last column as an “employee” of the Charles City Press or any other newspaper before I go on a shopping spree to buy up all newspapers, multimedia companies and their entangled affiliates as well as create a few more social media platforms because we can never have enough, and then run for president under the “I’m The Third Option You’ve Been Looking For” ticket because that’s what billionaires do.

And it all was born from this grand vision:

Stationary Bikes in Bowling Alleys ®.

You’re welcome.

Aside from providence, I had some help when arriving at this eureka moment shortly after interviewing a local athlete at this past weekend’s State Cross Country Championships. I won’t mention the athlete’s name because he might someday stake a claim to my forthcoming fortune due to his inspirational role. But — again — I want to keep as much for myself because — again — that’s what billionaires do.

This athlete has attained the rare distinction of being a state-qualifier in three varsity sports. Two of the sports are in season at the bookends of the school year: Cross Country and Track and Field. The other is a winter sport in between: Bowling if you haven’t guessed already.

Though last year he may have gone out for the sport for the first time on a whim, he improved dramatically throughout the season, peaking just in time for the state-qualifying tournament.

Due two more seasons of high school eligibility, this athlete has indicated that he’s not returning to the lanes, but to the hardwood basketball court.

It was the wait time between frames that sometimes can be as long as 30 minutes when involving mechanical issues that too often tested the forbearance of this athlete, who’s accustomed to being in continual motion for upwards of 17 minutes amidst competition.

As a former men’s league “kegler” who sometimes bowled leadoff, I admit that on several occasions I pulled for the anchorman on the other team to strike on his first ball so I could sooner get back on the approach — this impatience usually was due to the frustration of blowing a corner-pin spare or such the frame before.

The periodic “Beer Frame” as well as the extra forays to the in-house bar in between often helped curb my vexation. But for someone who doesn’t want to Drink and Bowl and Drive, or finds themself in a league or organization that bans alcohol consumption for participants — a high school-sanctioned meet, for example — wouldn’t a series of spin sessions in between frames help keep the edge off while keeping the body aerobically primed?

You often see football and basketball players on stationary bikes in between playing time. I could only imagine such equipment made available to bowlers would be just as, if not more, beneficial to those athletes.

Though the emphasis is mine, I’m not being facetious when referring to bowlers as “athletes”. Like with other non-contact sports that formerly favored skill over athleticism — i.e. auto racing, golf … even billiards — outstanding athletes are more regularly coming to the forefront in bowling, which incidentally has seen an uptick in the two-handed release made popular by pro bowling great Jason Belmonte, who … we should add … is also a great athlete. Not only does the two-handed style utilize (Duh!) two hands, but in the case of Belmonte and others who have mastered it, it incorporates more of the body in motion to create the angular torque, power and movement on a first ball to more regularly drive all 10 pins into the pit even in the most challenging conditions.

Stationary Bikes in Bowling Alleys ® will not only keep athletes sharp, it may encourage the sharpest and most physically active of these athletes to stay in the game.

Again, I should have thought of this a long time ago. While working … or rather loafing through college, I was employed at a bowling alley where my mind was often in the gutter. How else did I not recognize if not fully appreciate the innovation and invention all around me? The mechanical pinsetter, invented in 1941, and ball return were several of mankind’s first leisure interactions with robots. Electronic scoring not only ushered in the paperless era, but the digital era as well. The animated skits played on video screens above the lanes celebrating strikes and split conversions, and mocking open frames and foul-line infractions still carry a postmodern/artificial intelligence scent today from back when they bemused keglers in the late 1970s upon introduction.

How could I have not been moved in the company of such ingenuity to contribute myself to the Pantheon of the Sublime?

Even bowling’s scoring format is destined to provide the clue (and inspiration) to solve the elusive “Grand Unified Theory”. For example, if you get a strike in the first frame, your first-frame score is not determined in the present sense, but by what happens in the future as the pin count from your next two balls will be added to the total.

This common bowling alley occurrence where future events have dominion over the present and past supposedly occurs more readily in the subatomic world.

By the way, Walter Ray Williams — who is arguably both the greatest pro bowler and pro horseshoes player of all time — has a degree in physics (he’s also a scratch golfer if you want to hate on him some more). I can only assume that Walter Ray has pooled his multi-discipline expertise and is likely working to illuminate that “GUT” as we speak.

But come to think of it, why didn’t He come up with the idea of Stationary Bikes in Bowling Alleys ®?

Social Share