While you may think you know everything about the sport of bowling, there's one crucial aspect of the sport with which many people are unaware.
Bowling lanes, from the ones at your local alley to those on the Professional Bowlers Association tour, are coated with oil. This allows the ball a slicker surface on which to roll. And while many bowling alleys apply the oil in a way that makes it easier to hit the pins, in the professional leagues the oil is used to challenge the bowlers.
It might be applied one way on a certain day and a completely different way the next. This affects strategy and makes it difficult for the pros to get comfortable.
While the oil is transparent and difficult to spot in person (not to mention on television), the PBA has a cool new idea that may allow fans a better understanding of the sport.
Bowling's governing body announced that it will be dying the oil blue so fans can see what sort of pattern is present on each lane. The oil was tested at the World Series earlier this month, and fans will be able to see how it looked when the championship airs on ESPN on Dec. 1.
"Throughout its history, it has been difficult to describe the challenges players face in our sport," PBA
Commissioner Tom Clark said in a statement. "How oil is applied to the lane, and how it transitions as competition progresses, is something no one is able to see with the naked eye, and those are critical variables in scoring and player strategy.
"For the first time ever, we're going to add dye to the oil so that bowling fans on site and watching at home on ESPN will literally be able to see how the pattern of oil looks on the lane. We are sure it will be educational and insightful for all levels of fans tuning in and we hope to learn from this experiment and improve it moving forward."
The blue playing surface worked for Boise State, so we can see why the PBA thought it would be a good idea.
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