In gathering the most fascinating questions asked about sports and entertainment into a handy Gem format, pop culture guru David Feldman demystifies these and much more in Imponderables ' : Fun and Games. Providing you with information you can ' t find in encyclopedias, dictionaries, or almanacs, Fun and Games is a fun look at the little things that make life so interesting.
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September 30, 2006
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Excerpt from Imponderables(R): Fun and Games by David E. Feldman
WHY ARE RENTED BOWLING SHOES SO UGLY
We know that taste in art is a subjective matter.
We are aware that whole books have been written about what colors best reflect our personalities and which colors go best with particular skin tones.
But on some things a civilized society must agree. And rented bowling shoes are ugly. Does anybody actually believe that maroon-blue-and-tan shoes best complement the light wood grain of bowling lanes or the black rubber of bowling balls
Bruce Pluckhahn, curator of the National Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum, told us that at one time "the black shoe ' like the black ball ' was all that any self-respecting bowler would be caught dead using." Now, most rented bowling shoes are tricolored. The poor kegler is more likely to be dressed like Courtney Love (on a bad day) than Walter Ray Williams.
We spoke to several shoe manufacturers who all agreed that their three-tone shoes were not meant to be aesthetic delights. The weird color combinations are designed to discourage theft. First, the colors are so garish, so ugly, that nobody wants to steal them. And second, if the rare pervert does try to abscond with the shoes, the colors are so blaring and recognizable that there is a good chance to foil the thief.
Of course, rented bowling shoes get abused daily. A bowling proprietor is lucky if a pair lasts a year. Gordon W. Murrey, president of bowling supply company Murrey International, told Imponderables that the average rental shoe costs a bowling center proprietor about $25 to $50 a pair. The best shoes may get rented five hundred times before falling apart, at a very profitable $2 per rental.
Even if rentals were a dignified shade of brown, instead of black, tan, and red, they would get scuffed and bruised just the same. Bowlers don't expect fine Corinthian leather. But can't the rented bowling shoes look a littler classier, guys Isn't a huge 9 on the back of the heel enough to discourage most folks from stealing a shoe
Submitted by Shane Coswith of Reno, Nevada.