By Michael Cousins
The two-handed game has been admired, scrutinized, loved, and hated since its global inception; indifference is rarely, if ever, exhibited.
But why, I ask, has it been met with such widespread emotion? Why must it be good or bad? Why can’t the bowling community find common ground and take it for what it is: just another way to bowl.
Ever since Osku Palermaa and Jason Belmonte popped onto the screen, two-handed bowling has been the talk of the game. Is it good for the sport? Is it ruining the sport? Is it just a fad that will die out? Is it something lasting that could, perhaps, alter the face of bowling forever? Or is it simply just another way to bowl?
The answer to this question seems to really depend on what era of the sport you grew up in.
The older generations seem to oppose the two-handed game, believing that it is an unfair advantage. Many seem to believe, be it true or not, that the two-handed game is “easier” and “less challenging” than that of the one-handed approach. They feel as though it creates more power, creating more margin for error, thus eliminating the need for shot making.
While this may, in part, be true – the two-handed delivery certainly produces more power than the traditional approach – I do not believe that the two-handed game is “easier” or “less challenging.”
If it were as “easy” as this generation tries to make it out to be, why don’t they do it? The answer is simple: some – many in fact – are incapable of doing so. In order to get to a high level of play with a two-handed delivery, it takes a certain level of athleticism that many simply lack.
You cannot be out of shape and expect to bowl two-handed. You cannot have a weak core and expect to have success with this delivery. One must keep themselves in good shape if they wish to do this at a high level for any length of time. Thus making the argument that it is “easy” irrelevant.
The current generation – my generation – seems to be somewhere in-between; there are those that love the game and those that hate the game. But, if Junior Gold or the PBA Tour are any indication of what the future holds, the two-handed game isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Osku and Belmo might have started the trend and revolutionized the delivery, but countless young, talented bowlers – Simonsen, Svensson, Via, Low, to name a few— are spearheading the next generation of two-handed bowlers.
Whether or not you like it or agree with it, the two-handed game is here, and it is here to stay.
And I say that it is a good thing. It intrigues the younger crowd and keeps them interested. As we move forward, more and more youth bowlers are going to adopt the style. Future generations will continue to develop and hone the craft. It will become more and more common.
So why not accept it? Why not just embrace it? Why not acknowledge the fact that it is becoming the norm? Why not move past the differences and welcome the change?