Bowling isn’t a sport

November 18, 2021 — by Jason Cheng
With its lack of physical exertion and discipline, bowling is more of a recreational activity than a sport.

When we hear the word “sport,” we often associate it with the traditionally popular physical activities such as basketball or soccer. Yet, audiences have continuously debated the age-old question of what truly defines a sport, with “sports” such as bowling existing on the fringes of such definitions. 

Merriam-Webster defines a “sport” as “a physical activity engaged in for pleasure or exercise.” That being said, while elements of bowling may be considered sport-like, bowling, as a whole, is more of a recreational activity than sport.

Consider the physical aspects of bowling, for example. The only time effort is exerted is when the ball is rolled down the lane, and after it is released, we simply stand around and watch: Bowling clearly falls behind in the physical department.

Furthermore, strength isn’t really necessary to excel in bowling. As long as you can lift the ball and direct it toward the pins, you’re good to go; with enough practice, the average high-schooler could become elite.

Practice, of course, is key to success in anything. Skill plays a major role in bowling, but that isn’t enough to make it a sport: We need skill to accomplish many things in life — solving math equations isn’t considered a sport, so why should bowling?

That isn’t to say bowling’s lack of “sporty” qualities takes away from its value. It can be a great bonding experience to get out of the house and have some fun on a Friday night while sparking friendly competition.

As such, bowling falls under a similar category as so-called “sports” such as golf or billiards. While you can make a case for either side of the argument, these fringe sports ultimately fall short of traditional sports that have taken the spotlight with more appealing dynamics between players. Plus, classifying such activities as “sports” takes away from the more rigorous sports due to the disparity in physical demand. 

Nonetheless, despite being mislabeled as a “sport,” bowling is a perfect recreational activity for all ages, revolving around nonchalant competition to encourage entertainment and relaxation without the prospect of damaging injuries. 

67 views this week