It has recently come to my attention that presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s unimpressive bowling score has led some pundits to actually question his fitness for office.
Chris Matthews : “the fact that he’s that terrible at bowling does make you wonder.”
Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist: “You know Willie, the thing is, Americans want their president, if it’s a man, to be a real man.” “Out of my president, I want a 150, at least.”
Jon Decker: “in northeast central Pennsylvania … they can’t identify with someone getting a 37 over seven frames.”
A 37? I’ve bowled a 37. I was in college, it was my first time, and I had fun — right up until the time my bowling companions decided that my poor performance was a legitimate occasion for ridicule.
It was deeply hurtful. I was traumatized. It was years before I went bowling again. Not only that, but I felt like I could no longer trust my friends. If your own friends won’t support you when you can’t bowl, what else will they fail to support you on?
And now, this Obama thing has brought it all back. The man bowls, he’s no good, and instead of expressing sympathy, the pundits are all over him as if sucky bowling indicates a weakness of character.
What is it about sucky bowling that makes people feel so free to mock those of us who are victims of our poor bowling skills? It’s like mocking people in wheelchairs for their lack of ability to climb stairs. That would seem insensitive, wouldn’t it? So why is sucky bowling considered fair game for ridicule?
Bowlers in this country face many challenges, notably the closing of bowling lanes all across the country — like drive-in theaters, another fine American institution that is the victim of soaring real-estate prices and greedy developers.
Let’s not add “shame over poor performance” to the list. Many sucky bowlers enjoy bowling, as long as we are not mocked unduly, and you smug pundits have no right to take that away from us.