Article Contents

  • 1. Lefties: the good, the bad, and the ugly
  • 2. Equal is not always the same
  • 3. Conclusion

When lefthanded bowlers come up in conversation, it isn’t too long before a righthanded bowler says something like, “Lefthanders have it easy.” Or, “I wish I was lefthanded.” Everyone is familiar with the perception that the left side of the lane doesn’t change and/or the shot is easier on the left.

As Dr. Dean Hinitz is fond of saying, “Believing is seeing.” So, if most bowlers, whether righthanded or lefthanded, believe that the shot is easier on the left, then it must be easier on the left. Right? Hold that thought for a bit.

This perception is not always advantageous to lefthanded bowlers. If strikes are easy to come by, then why bother to spare? (Cashing or winning. But I digress). This is the same type of thinking that celebrities, professional athletes, doctors, and lawyers often have about money. “Why should I save anything when money is an infinitely renewable resource?” These folks are often terrible savers and notorious spendthrifts with second homes, large boats, fancy vacations, etc. and often fall onto hard times once their circumstances change.

Similarly, some lefthanders may tell themselves they can get by with being bad spare shooters. After all, “everyone knows” that they are bowling on the “easy half” of the lane and that they strike a lot and and therefore can make up for open frames by throwing even more strikes – except for the times when strikes are as hard to come by as high-paying jobs are during a recession.

Let’s go back to the premise that the shot is easier on the left. If so, how much easier is it? For how long has it been like this? Is there anything that can be done to make things more equal? Sometimes you have to go back to go forward.

History, culture, and language can often tell us something about how we got where we are today and, if we look carefully, how things may have changed along the way. Over time sayings work their way into languages such as “right” is good and “left” is bad, “being in your right mind”, “the divine right of kings”, “it will be all right in the end”, being “left out”, having “two left feet”, or a “ lefthanded compliment”. In bowling “lefthanded disease” refers to a righthander who is striking a lot but not sparing a lick. Even the word for “lefthanded” in some languages is negative.

The right hand has historically been associated with skill. The Latin word for right is dexter, as in dexterity. Conversely, the English word sinister comes from the ...

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Steve Fuhrman

About Steve Fuhrman

Steve Fuhrman is a USBC Silver Coach. He has degrees in Physics and Computer Science and searches for innovative combinations of bowling, science, and technology to improve performance.