Teaching a child to bowl is leading cause of sterility in men

Gurney and bowling ball Teaching a child to bowl is truly a bonding experience. And by that I mean you should really consider taking out a bond before entering the bowling alley.

As someone who escaped the experience of teaching his five-year-old nephew to bowl with only a minor skull fracture and minimal orthodontic surgery, I feel I’ve acquired a level of expertise that could be helpful. Let’s begin with shoes. Changing into your bowling shoes while in the carpeted area will give you a false sense of security, making you less prepared for the realization that walking in tractionless shoes on a highly-waxed surface is a lot like strapping soap bars to your feet and trying to cross a wet mirror.

Ironically, children have the natural ability to perform double axels over the same surface. Which isn’t to say that you won’t; it’s just that theirs will be on purpose.

When it comes to selecting a bowling ball with a child, remember: At some point it will be hurled backwards and into your stomach, chin, and/or groin. So go light, and make sure the child’s fingers fit the holes snuggly. A ball that’s moving out of control but still attached to a small child can provide you with an extra two seconds of reaction time.

As most bowlers know, delivery style is a crucial element to success. A curve or spin placed at just the right arc can mean the difference between a strike or split. Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about either since a child’s delivery is closer to something like this:

Walk up to line.
Lift ball over head.
Throw ball straight down.
Get soda while ball is moved by earth’s gravity toward pins.

It’s at this point that the bowling alley’s manager will offer your child free, personal instruction that begins immediately.

Next, don’t forget to ask for bumpers, which are metal gates about six inches high that extend to block the gutters and keep the ball in play. In addition to that, consider bringing along some extra fencing [chain-link is best] that can be attached to the bumpers. Though the metal gates keep the ball in play, the fencing will ensure that play remains in your lane.

Finally, it’s inevitable that children become infatuated with the ball-return mechanism, which, as I explained it, is sort of like a giant throat that hacks up bowling balls from somewhere beneath the lanes. At some point, children will begin hovering around it in spite of your warnings that ball-return machines have been known to suddenly switch into reverse and suck small children into them, where they are forced to live as pin-setters until released by a 800-series bowler.

This warning makes no difference to a 5-or 6-year-old drawn to the mystery of the ball-return machine. Which brings me to my final suggestion:

If you have children that bowls, always keep a spare.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com, or at Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)


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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

34 thoughts on “Teaching a child to bowl is leading cause of sterility in men”

  1. The thought of a kid actually being sucked into the return mechanism had me in splits (destructive thoughts make me laugh, I don’t know why). The tractionless shoes thing couldn’t be truer–I’ve seen a bunch of 21 year-olds hurtling down the alley because of them!

    1. Yeah! I was trying to put together an image for my post that had a kid’s feet sticking out of a ball return. Had to settle for the bowling-ball-lying-in-the-crotch shot. Both destructive and, like you, both funny to me 😉

  2. We didn’t have bumpers when I was a kid; you build character with gutter balls! That’s the trouble with kids today, they’ve been protected from failure. What’s next, baseballs on tees?

  3. I’m about to take a group of high school students bowling next week. Which means I should really learn to dodge since they will be looking for a way out of their next essay …

  4. last time i bowled the ball flew off my hand backwards and bounced behind me like i saw once in an episode of the flintstones, so i can identify except that i, as the adult in the equation, am the danger. probably will not be in the pro bowl anytime soon. enjoyed your take on the experience.

  5. Bowling with five year old is dangerous. Bowling with a three year is even more stressful. I’m always afraid my son is going to drop the ball on his toes. Not only that, but he always strolls over to the next lane to see what other players got going on!

    1. Inquisitive is great! Sounds like he could be an in-house instructor by the time he’s five! Maybe invest in some steel-toed bowling shoes, just to be safe 😉

    1. If there isn’t a bowling alley within three blocks of where you live, then yes, you are safe. Anything within that range is subject to being a bowling ball drop zone when kids are involved 😉

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