Would you go bowling if they changed the rules? (ThinkStock)
Would you go bowling if they changed the rules?
Lexile

About a month and a half ago, Kevin Dornberger and his Swedish friend Christer Jonsson were watching a tournament in Hong Kong. They made it through most of the afternoon before Jonsson, the secretary general of the World Tenpin Bowling Association, looked at Dornberger, the president of World Bowling.

"This is boring," he said.

Dornberger nodded his head emphatically. He has bowled since he was eight, had a 40-plus-year competitive career and rolled 16 perfect 300 games. Now he heads the sport's governing body.

"I've watched more world championships competitions than anyone in the world," Dornberger said Wednesday on the sidelines of the Asian Games bowling competition in Incheon. "And it has occurred to me that the people who say we are boring have a point."

Dornberger says he has a solution, to radically overhaul the very heart of the sport's complicated, but to bowlers beloved, scoring system.

What he would like to see is an arrangement similar to the soccer World Cup that would pit players against each other in a group format culminating in finals. Scoring, possibly only in the finals, could be simplified into a frame-by-frame showdown. The player winning the frame would get one point and any player getting to six points would automatically be the winner of the game.

Another radical suggestion is to make every strike count for 30 points, no matter what the next ball is, and spares would count for 20. That would make the math a lot easier, but retain the 300 as the perfect score for a game, a tradition many bowlers would be very unhappy to see vanish.

"I'm open to anything because I love our sport," Dornberger said. "I love tradition, but it's vital that we become an Olympic sport. If we have to be dragged into the 21st century to do that, I'm ok with that."

At big international competitions, dozens of bowlers are playing at the same time and the winners are determined by cumulative scores, not finals. It's hard for spectators to get emotionally involved and no one knows the winners until the whole day's competition is over.

"It took 11 1/2 hours to complete the two rounds of play today," said Bill Hoffman, a five-time world champion and Hall of Fame bowler who is coaching Hong Kong's team at the Asian Games. "That is way too long."

Hoffman said the changes would likely face the most opposition from the 10 or 15 players who are at the top of the world standings. After all, the system is working for them the way it is, but he thinks major changes are required to attract spectators and sponsors and win the backing of the International Olympic Committee.

"I think we will see change," he said. "I think the industry in general knows the need for change so that we are more relevant on popular culture again."

Mike Seymour, an Australian who is the World Tenpin Bowling Association's vice president, said a working group is scheduled to make four or five proposals in December. He said top-level bowling could soon start to look more like tennis.

With each game shorter, finals could be played in a best-out-of three format. But he acknowledged that, even for supporters of the overhaul, letting go of the magical 300 is hard to imagine.

Critical thinking challenge: Is bowling boring? How will changing the scoring system make it seem more interesting, if the game remains the same?

Filed Under:  
Assigned 7 times


COMMENTS (29)
  • NW2000Basketball
    10/01/2014 - 08:37 a.m.

    It depends how you bowl or who you bowl with. If your a good bowler you won't usually be bored, or if you bring your friends you won't be bored . The only time bowling is every really boring is if you bring your parents. They might be the boring factor. One rule you can change is that you can have the walls up for bowlers who aren't that good yet.

  • christophert20
    10/01/2014 - 10:19 a.m.

    i would not go bowling if they changed the rules. i think bowling is a nice thing that teens do when they go hang out with friends but when they change the rules kids will not go and play anymore. so i think it would be best if they didnt change the rules.

  • klai
    10/01/2014 - 10:23 a.m.

    I don't think these rules will effect me because I haven;t been to an actual bowling alley in a while.(because of the Wii and X-Box Kinect.)

  • tevinb3
    10/01/2014 - 10:26 a.m.

    this is about how you and who you bowl with... If u bowl by yourself your good... if u bowl with someone your not that good.i like to bowl but not like that

  • diamondj4
    10/01/2014 - 10:38 a.m.

    This is about a man named Dornberger. He is good at bowling ad has been doing it since he was 8. i would not go bowling because i dont know how to do it.

  • MikaylaStazewski-Ste
    10/01/2014 - 10:53 a.m.

    I would go bowling if they were to change the rules, just to test it out. It's good to try everything at least once, but if they were to change the rules, it probably wouldn't be considered bowling anymore.

  • NashMcComsey-Ste
    10/01/2014 - 11:24 a.m.

    Bowling, to many, may seem boring. I would be open to the idea of changing the sport, as long as it is done correctly. The ideas within the article are admittedly intriguing, i would certainly try a game of this.

  • TF00Music
    10/01/2014 - 01:00 p.m.

    No, I don't think that bowling is boring. I actually think that its fun to see your final score and be really confused about it. It would make it more interesting because you would have something different instead of the old scoring system that we always used.

  • DD2000BASEBALL
    10/01/2014 - 01:00 p.m.

    Bowling, to many, may seem boring. If they wanted to change the scoring system I would be on board. The arguments they have are very valid and intriguing.

  • IM2000food
    10/01/2014 - 01:09 p.m.

    bowling is not boring because it is fun to have fun with your family. changing the sore system will make the game for because it would be a challenge and I like challenges. if the games remains the same ill keep playing with my family

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT