Simple bowling etiquette that everyone needs to know
I love bowling. I go as often as I can even though the lanes here in Da Nang are not very good quality. They are poorly maintained and the staff don't really know much about the game but this is fine because I'm not looking for lessons, I'm just looking for a lane to roll some 10 pound balls down and hopefully knock over some pins.
There are many instances where there is an overall lack of courtesy on the part of other bowlers at the lanes and I don't think this is because the other participants are rude, it is because they are unaware of the unofficial rules that exist in the sport.
I'll start with a major one that really grinds my gears and that is the "giving of right of way."
There are a lot of people out there that have a certain level of concentration that they must achieve in order to bowl properly. For me I have a certain place where I place my feet at the start and a certain arrow or dot that I am aiming at on the lanes in order to knock down the pins. I very rarely even look at the pins when I am making my approach and therefore not having interference is very important to me.
I don't know how many times I have been on my approach only to have someone come flying up on the right or left of me and totally throw off my concentration.
The rule is simple: If someone adjacent to you is already in the standing position in the "starting area" on the wood, you wait until after they have rolled before you go. This is something that is violated by nearly every local I have ever been on a lane next to when I go and it is really irritating to me. Again, I do not fault them for this and am not trying to say anything xenophobic. They simply do no know that this courtesy exists. It really should be pointed out to them.
Next we'll get to the actual balls. When we are bowling I will get on player's cases if they are using an excessive amount of balls. These racks can only hold a certain amount of the damn things and since nobody there is some sort of professional that actually has a purpose for multiple balls especially since we just use the crappy ones that are the property of the bowling alley.
you see that rack there? Well the two green ones (12 pounders) and the two blue ones (11 pounders) are being used by just a single person. The two blue ones are exactly the same as are the green ones. There is literally no reason for this guy to have all of those and he isn't even a good bowler. When I play on the same lane as him I insist that he not have 2 of the same ball in the rack. Why am I nitpicky about this? Well this is because once the rack is totally full the ball loader can no longer put any more balls into the rack and it makes this horrible sound when the belt drive on it backs up the system. This also results in the rest of us risking having our hands slammed when the balls at the top end up getting smacked when the balls return from the machine.
Just don't be a dick ok? You don't need 4 balls and just stop.
This next point is about when you are leaving the lanes and is a very big problem at the bowling alley that we go to. They have a sign up indicating that everyone needs to clean up their garbage when they leave but there is no sign telling people to re-rack their balls when they are done. What this can result in is that the racks where the balls are meant to be kept are almost completely empty because all of the bowling balls are already on the lanes and this is just discourteous to other bowlers who now maybe can't find a ball that they want to use. They are not going to come up to a lane in use and just take a ball from someone else's lane and many people keep balls on their lane that they aren't even using.
Of course you could say that this should be the responsibility of the owners of the lanes and I would agree with you if that is your statement. However, the lanes here do NOT do this. I kind of look at this the same way that I look at weights in a gym: If you can manage to put the ball there at the start, you can put it back at the end. It only takes a second and it is just kind of a jerk move to not do so.
Back in my home country all of these rules and more would be enforced by the staff there but this is just because in USA bowling is taken very seriously by a lot of people that will not tolerate violation of these regulations. As a teenager I was kindly warned about my bowling behavior at the lanes and there have been instances of people who have been asked to leave for repeated violations. This would never happen here in Vietnam because bowling is not taken very seriously and most people don't know what the hell they are doing anyway.
There are a number of other things that I could talk about such as lingering after you roll as if your arm waving is going to have an effect on where the ball goes as well as excessive noise that is almost always the norm for teenagers and well, I can't really fault them for that because they are teenagers and I am sure I was the same way in the past.
I do think that everyone's experience can be improved by paying a little bit of attention to some courtesy though. So if you do go bowling try to keep these things in mind and everyone's experience can be improved as a result!
Damn I didn't realize how many rules I was breakin' brah
lol. Well I think you need to gauge your audience. I have only been in a few lanes in the world where these rules were ever enforced and that was during league play in USA lanes where people take the game very seriously.
i wish i had lanes close to me to go but there is nothing in my city, one i used to enjoy closed down years ago was sad to see it go lots of good times there they had both 5 and 10 pin options
5-pin bowling? I've never heard of that. gonna have to look that up
Wow thanks for the heads up! I didn't know how rude I was being in the local lanes. I'll make sure I'm courteous next time thanks for the heads up
not being aware of something isn't really rude though is it? You didn't know so there is no foul here. The same can be said for most of the people that I encounter here that break the rules. They are unaware they exist. Since I don't speak Vietnamese I will kind of let my neighbors know that I am displeased with them invading my space by simply stepping back and waiting for them if they invade my space. I've noticed that this tactic takes a while, but they get the hint without anyone getting angry.
These are totally udnerstandable rules! Especially the first two schould be very common and known by everybody. This is a sport of skill and concentration and if you want to achieve good results nobody should interrupt you!
Great post :)
Paying attention to sporting etiquette is more like commonsense yet so many have no clue. Having manners and paying attention to what is going on around you is all it takes.
Ah yes, I was lucky enough to know about the adjacent lane thing before I started bowling. Otherwise it could have been really bad. We were on a league with a much older population and they likely would have given us the riot act had we not acted accordingly. This is a great compilation of rules you have here. It has to be hard adapting to the variances in culture...
Most lanes don't even post these rules and being told by more experienced bowlers is probably the only way that people are going to find out about them. I don't know if there is any official rules out there that mirror this but if you ever watch pro bowling you'll see that the players will get upset if someone in the audience so much as accidentally coughs.
I remind our participants every week that we go about the rules and a lot of them are inexperienced or are Vietnamese and never knew these things. Hopefully they will pass it on to other people that they bowl with in the future.
Fingers crossed that will be the case! I used to love watching the bowling trick shot competitions when I was a kid.