Sunday morning, and I’m on the treadmill at 24 Hour Fitness. Bank of TV screens up there. Always lots of sports on the screens, maybe not surprising. Sunday mornings seem to be the bottom of the sports barrel, though: Today one of the channels was televising pro bowling.
Bowling has got to be the most boring sport on TV, bar none. There is only one strategy: Knock ’em all down. And the tactics are at entirely the level of the bowler’s grip on the ball, which is invisible.
Golf on TV is almost as bad. They have to keep cutting away to about four different foursomes because there’s so little action, and the players never interact with one another, and the ball is almost too small to see.
A nine-ball tournament is pretty boring on TV, too — unless you happen to play pool, as I do. If you know what’s going on on the table, you understand that every shot is different. The players’ ability to control where the cue ball ends up after the shot is consistently jaw-dropping, and that’s the essence of the game. It isn’t just about putting the other ball in the pocket; it’s what happens after that, as the cue ball slows down and stops. A good nine-ball player can stop the cue ball within the diameter of a silver dollar, starting from almost any shot on the table.
Maybe there are subtleties like that in bowling, too. But I kind of doubt it.