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This article is from the Lefthanders FAQ, by Barry D. Benowitz b.benowitz@telesciences.com with numerous contributions by others.

12. Do Lefties have an advantage in Bowling?

While there is no consensus that such an advantage exists,
here's the debate in a BIG nutshell:

The surface of a bowling lane is oiled for various reasons, one
of which is to provide a "condition" on which to bowl. Second
only to a bowler's skill level, the manner in which lanes are
oiled (called the "lane condition" or "oil pattern" or "shot")
greatly determines what type of bowler and his corresponding
style most often will prevail.

Most of the time, the "shot" will be symmetric with respect to
the middle of the lane lengthwise, i.e., the oil pattern from
the 20th (middle) board out to each respective gutter will be
similar in a mirror-image fashion. Thus it appears that being
left-handed is of no advantage over being right-handed, and vice
versa. However, there are two things that create an eventual
disparity -- one, there are more right-handed bowlers (RHB) than
left-handed bowlers (LHB) in most situations. Two, the lane oil
isn't static. It migrates as bowling balls roll through it and
gets deposited in new places on the lane before eventually get-
ting carried off the lane. These two factors are the basis for
argument between RHB's and LHB's.

RHB's argue that LHB's have an unfair advantage because:

*Bowling is a sport of repetition and consistency, and when the
playing conditions remain stable, it is easier to maintain the
muscle memory in order to repeat motions. Since there are fewer
LHB's in general, the condition for them doesn't change as much
or as dramatically as it does for the RHB. Thus a RHB must con-
stantly adjust to the changing conditions, thereby destroying
any consistency he has tried to develop in earlier frames or

LHB's counter with:

*WHEN (more correctly is IF) the "shot" is tough (an oil pattern
that tend to make it difficult to get the ball to the pocket),
LHB's get stuck with dealing with it for the duration of bowling;
whereas RHB's on a tough shot have the greater numbers in which
a shot can be "broken down" into something more score-able.

Ultimately, it comes down to a matter of respect. Many RHB's don't
respect LHB's because they feel that the accomplishments of a LHB
are tainted because of the unfair advantage of easier, more consis-
tent bowling conditions than what RHB's (often) get. IMHO, it's a
valid point, although I don't feel that this is the case 100% of
the time.

OTOH, LHB's can't argue the flip side because there is no equivalent.
LHB's generally resort to defending themselves by asking things like
"why do RHB's assume that when a LHB bowls well, it's because they
have an easier "shot", and not because the LHB is talented or made good
shots?", or "I can't help it that I'm left-handed, I don't oil the
lanes". As you can probably figure out, this is a sore subject with
many LHB's, as RHB's outnumber them and dare I say most RHB's have
some sort of animosity or envy towards LHB's and their conditions.

Thanks to: Mark Hideo Fujimoto <fuj@uclink.berkeley.edu>


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