Bowling a perfect game is easier now than it used to be. In 1980, 5,373 league sanctioned perfect games were bowled. Last year, despite shrinking league memberships, 42,163 perfect games were bowled. Why are fewer people bowling more perfect games?

Most pros blame improved ball technology. The balls are better — many can correct for bad shots — but the pins are the same.

I’m curious about whether there might be a social component to the explanation as well. This is pure speculation, but if it’s true that more people are bowling alone instead of in leagues, might it also be true that these loners are practicing differently? Instead of learning how to pick up shots with spares (which is emphasized in league practice, where the focus is on the team’s preformance), the loners are most likely focusing on strikes. At least some subset of these loners might join leagues, and their resulting league play would logically result in more strikes.

Of course, there are other, more important implications of bowling alone, but pondering its effect on scoring is an interesting intellectual exercise.

Posted on December 4th, 2002 by Katxena