The Sucky Bowlers Defense League

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.


  1. I am sorry if I mocked you, it was not ment to be hurtful.

    1. Author

      Sniff. I’m touched you remember. Apology accepted!

      You see how it’s done, people? Hands across the aisle! Sucky bowlers and non-sucky bowlers can get along!

  2. If all the lanes close, there’s always Wii bowling.

  3. At first, I thought this was inspired by an Onion article.

    1. I’d also like to point out that Decker is a robot.

        1. This is true. But calling him a “robot” is more Old School.

          And then I looked it up and was reminded that he doesn’t share his name with our favorite detective, Deckard. It’s just similar. ;(

    2. Author

      Nope… as real life gets more and more ridiculous, it just gets harder to satirize it.

  4. I’m a pretty good bowler — at least, at 5-pin bowling, for I’ve never tried 10-pin since I was old enough to heft the ball — and I almost never go bowling if left to my own schedule. I love that I have sucky-bowler friends because it’s a chance to bowl. Which is fun. It’s not about the score.

    And I don’t entirely understand people for whom it is. I mean, it’s not like curling, where you’re deliberately trying to knock your opponents’ stones away; or even like Scrabble, where you try to set up hooks for yourself that your opponent can’t use. The only way you can affect your opponent’s bowling score is through psychological warfare, which Just Ain’t Right.

    Sigh. I wish Americans — I mean, as a nation — would realize that “president” is an administrative job, not a divine one. Assessing divinity is best left to Survivor and American Idol.

  5. I have only stepped foot in a bowling alley three times in my life, and have never actually attempted to bowl, because I fear the unavoidable reprisals. Attempting to learn a physical skill in public is something I avoid at all costs.

  6. Gee Julie, you’ll never be President if you go around revealing your college bowling score.

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