Thursday, April 30, 2009

No Hand Slapping

Jeff Crowley wrote an article about hand-slapping and the reasons he was against it. With the unconfirmed reports of swine flu in Madison County, it seems that Jeff's opinion carries more weight. Jeff's friend, Norm King of Evansville, Indiana wrote the following piece validating Jeff's opinion. BTW, hand slapping is no longer 'cool' since I am not a hip youngster anymore.
I consider myself to be a reasonably healthy person. Typically, I have contracted respiratory infections, also known as “colds” or the “flu,” only once every few years, in spite of dealing with large numbers of people most every day in my work as a USI professor (just retired!). These ailments are caused by viruses. Antibiotics don’t help. You just have to wait it out, taking care of yourself and getting plenty of rest. Within the last month, I have come down with two cases of common cold or mild flu. The second one began just days after finally getting over the first. Both episodes were unusually severe. Of course, I don’t know for sure where I picked up either one, but I had not been with large groups of people in several weeks. Except, that is, during the two nights each week that I participate in bowling leagues. And I distinctly remember several recent matches involving individuals, some on my own team, who showed obvious signs of having colds. I noticed because I know how easily viruses can be spread, and everyone wanted to slap my hand–again and again. My wife, Joanne, works for the Vanderburgh County Health Department. She bowls occasionally, and shies away from slapping hands. She knows that physical contact, especially hand to hand, is one of the primary means by which flu and cold viruses are spread. She always carries her little bottle of hand sanitizer; there’s one in her bowling bag!

Here is what the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about the flu and colds: “Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick” ( The flu and common cold are similar, but are caused by different viruses. Generally the flu is worse than the common cold. For more information about the current flu threat, go to and click on the green “2009 Flu Info” button. Now that we are concerned about the spread of the dangerous swine flu, it seems we should recognize that the bowler’s penchant for high-fiving and other forms of hand slapping is risky behavior.

I started bowling in the late 1950's when I was in middle school. There was no hand slapping. While in college (mid-1960's) I bowled for the University of Colorado, and I never saw anyone in the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Bowling Conference slap hands. In the 1970's I bowled regularly in one league a week until I gave it up in 1981 due to family and career pressures. Over this time there was no hand slapping at all to begin with, but gradually it became more common to pass around high fives when people got a few strikes in a row. There was always plenty of applause, too. That is, hand clapping. Clapping is like high-fiving yourself. Your germs stay with you instead of being passed around. When I picked up my ball again and bowled in my first league in 24 years at Franklin Lanes in the summer of 2005, I noticed the change. Everyone was hand slapping, even for spares (as if that was reason to celebrate)! Since I didn’t want to be the odd man out, I bought into the hand-slapping culture of modern bowling, just like I bought a new state-of-the-art bowling ball.

Every year there is a mad rush to make a vaccine that will reduce our odds of contracting the season’s most threatening flu bug, and now we are faced with the potential for a pandemic of swine flu. Cold bugs are always out there. You never know when you might catch some, but I bet that bowlers are especially efficient at spreading them due to almost incessant hand slapping. That could also be a way for swine flu to be spread. Let’s quit this risky behavior and build camaraderie by clapping our hands in appreciative and encouraging applause instead. Here’s to your good health!

It seems to be good common sense. Is he paranoid, or the hundreds of people that bought all the hand sanitizer out of every store in Huntsville? Maybe this hand slapping thing is just a social conscience for us to be somewhat human. I can show some compassion for the smallest human contact without invading personal space. I, also, try not to infect anyone with my respiratory germs or touch my own eyes, mouth, or nose. Seems a good balance.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Interesting week

It's never over
Easter Sunday had some pretty exciting television. I'm sure once you were finished with your family activities, you must have watched the PBA Women's Series Championship as well as the Masters. Using the simplified scoring system which counted number of balls thrown to clear the deck, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard was nearly eliminated in the first round with a 17. That averages to 3 strikes and 7 spares. In a regular scored game, that is anywhere from a high 180 to nearly 220 game if the 3 strikes are all together. To barely surviving the first round on the Cheetah pattern, she set the PBA television record for 20 consecutive strikes. She needed every one of them to advance and win the tournament.

Angel Cabrera, in the last pairing at the Masters, was fading while superstars Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were surging up the leaderboard. Cabrera birdied 3 of the last 6 holes to get into the playoff. He survives errant tee shot in the first playoff hole to win the Masters on the second playoff hole.

Obviously, the lesson is that it is never over. I have had a miraculous set to qualify or put myself back into contention. I have also been knocked out contention when a miracle 300 was bowled by another entrant to place me below the cut line. Exhilarating or painful, but powerful emotions were evoked.

Keeping an exemption
Georgia's Jason Sterner was just below the cut line at the conclusion of the US Open. Jason earned his exemption as the Southern Region's Point Leader in 2007-08. However, the PBA granted his petition for an exemption due to the unusual events at the US Open that caused him to fall below the cut line. As it seems, Mike Edwards was allowed to replace Pete Weber, who had to withdraw during the tournament. This situation gave Mike Edwards the extra points he needed to qualify for his exemption for the next season.

Lesson here is to know the rules if you are going to write a petition, whether a tournament or league. For the match play leagues, how many are following Rule 100k, paragraph 4? If each team has an absentee bowler, they must be lined up against each other. The rule states how you determine which absentee bowler wins.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Inside Information

We are in the midst of the USBC National Tournament for 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Have you gone yet, or awaiting information on what balls to take and where to play the lanes? Well, I have not been yet, so I don't have any report for you. Remember the old days? You had to ask other bowlers who went before you to give you a report of where they played and what kind of ball they threw. You knew their game from league, so you could guage what you were going to do.

When in the tournament city, you went to the civic center the day before you bowled and watched. You hoped to find a bowler with a similar style to predict your reaction. Well, that was the old days. Now, you have the Internet for additional information from total strangers. I ask friends and colleagues for information. I also read the USBC Open forum on Now, a new source of information that I don't recall viewing from previous years: YouTube.

Now, while at home, I can see other bowlers and judge how I would play the lanes based on low quality video. Of course, if I was posting a video of my nationals performance, it would certainly be edited to show my best shots. Hopefully, that would not be a short video!

You also still have the lane graph that is posted at But, as I have written earlier, who can read these things?