I got mad at a friend yesterday for saying bowling doesn’t get good media coverage because it isn’t “worthy” of it. What I found especially maddening about this was that he and I subscribe to FloBowling and regularly and enthusiastically follow professional male and female bowling and chat about it virtually every day. Watch some televised PWBA stepladders from early in the 2016 season, and you will see him sitting in the stands watching and texting me about what’s happening. And although you can’t see him in the audience of the televised PBA Masters stepladder recently that Jacob Buturff won, he was there.
I confess that I felt his remark like a slap in the face. And when he defended it against my protests and then said I needed to stop being so “emotional” and "honestly" face up to the truth, I didn’t exactly feel more favorably disposed to his point of view. Because what I understood him to mean, which he did not dispute, by his “not worthy” remark is not that bowling simply isn’t popular enough to garner more media coverage, but that it isn’t GOOD enough to deserve greater popularity and coverage. And while I realize that many people believe this, to the extent that they ever even give elite bowling a thought, it shocked me that HE would believe and say this to ME.
And because I felt my temperature rising as this discussion unfolded, I quickly made it very clear that I didn’t see any point in continuing along that line because it seemed that we had made our respective views plenty clear and that there was nothing to be gained (and, by implication) much to possibly be lost by chatting any more about it at the time.
Was I being too “emotional”? In hindsight, I’m willing to consider that possibility. In fact, I concede that a wiser or more mature response would have been to dispassionately take note of my friend’s opinion and then just let it go like I would a similar remark from a child or adult who knew nothing about bowling and was just talking out of his ass or trolling.
But my friend knew a lot more than nothing about bowling and he knew full well whom he was talking to, and he still said bowling wasn’t “worthy” of more popularity than it enjoyed or coverage than it received and that he had the right to hold this opinion and to express it. Well, I disagree with his opinion of bowling’s worthiness, but I agree with him that he has a right to that opinion and to express it. By the same token, I could say that I had a right to disagree with him and to express my emotional antipathy to his holding and expressing his opinion so long as I didn’t didn’t do it any more disagreeably than I did. But I’m not sure our asserting our respective rights in this regard gets us anywhere we want to go. I don’t know how he feels in the aftermath of our disagreement, although his uncharacteristic silence may well provide a clue, but I do know that I don’t feel particularly good about it.
And it’s not only because I don’t like having angry confrontations with people whose friendship I value and then having, with unpleasant awkwardness, to try to reconcile, but I also wonder if I don’t deep down agree with his opinion of bowling and am angry over the fact that he forced me to confront and examine it. Is elite bowling NOT worthy of the greater popularity and media coverage that other sports including football, basketball, baseball, boxing, soccer, tennis, and golf enjoy and receive? And am I foolish to be working, as I now am, to produce a podcast devoted to covering elite bowling?
I don’t have any solid answers. Just unsettling questions. I guess I’ll mull on them a while.
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