Thursday, August 2, 2007


I recently ran across "Bowling Alone," Robert Putnam's book on the unraveling of the American community. (Thesis: we're all steadily disconnecting from one another.) That's all well and good, but Putnam ignores a far more profound question. Never mind whether or not we're bowling alone. Are we bowling enough?

The answer is, without a doubt, no. Enthusiasm for bowling is at a low ebb. People have in large part abandoned the joys of the lanes. And think what they're missing: the subtle discipline of the wind up and release, the satisfying crack of ball against pin, the meditative waiting-for-the-ball-to-come-back. Bowling "strikes" patience and humility into the hearts of men. It "spares" nothing in its insistence on calm control. And most importantly, it restores to the bowler, in these tumultuous times, a sense of his own efficacy. How much of the nation's rage and frustration is ascribable to insufficient bowling?

Take to the lanes; save the world.

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