Body Czech

NOTE: This has been transcribed from the backs of Staropramen coasters.

Watching Czechs Bowl —
Body English is more than just an expression, apparently. Body Czech is much more reserved. While the ball is rolling down the lane, the czechs have three options: watch blankfaced, turn away, or practice their follow-through (and that only among the bowlers who had been taking lessons earlier). All other reactions are saved until after the ball hits the pins.

Among those I bowled with in the US, the ballet of the bowler, subtly influencing the course of the ball, is a big part of the game. The gyrations, the hand gestures, the instructions shouted down the lane, all those things mattered.

It says something about both groups — the Americans think they can change things they have no control over and the Czechs don’t try. In the case of bowling, the Czechs can probably take the philosophical high ground, what with physics and all, but I lean the American way myself. We’re the dreamers, the poets of bowling.

Golf and bowling may be the only recreational activities with such a gap between action and result, that period that allows the actor to perform. Indeed, it is that stretch between performance and result that makes the games worthwhile.


16 thoughts on “Body Czech

  1. How can you stand there and just watch as the ball slowly wanders off the lane to on side or flys into the woods? We do have control over these things.

  2. Don’t forget the Major League Baseball propensity to admire your home run…

    Oh crap! It hit off the top of the wall — now I have to try to leg out a double and risk the embarrassment of getting thrown out at second!

    Sort of the mirror-image of Czech bowling, but how might the Czechs react to deep, towering shots to left?

  3. Who knows? There may be unknown force fields that are affected by leaning, gestures, or just a fervent wish that the ball roll just a wee bit more to the left. Of course, said force fields just might be inclined to nudge the ball a bit to the right, just for spite. At least, that’s how such force fields appear to work in Rio Arriba County.

  4. As for sports with a time delay between athletes contact with the object and the object coming to rest, I prefer curling. And I’m not even Canadian.

  5. Ah yes, lawn curling…

    Oh wait, Canadians? You must be talking about the ice version.

    Then there was the game involving throwing a tennis ball up on the roof of the Emmadome, stuff happened while it was out of sight, and then more stuff happened once it appeared. Does anyone still possess the brain cells necessary to fill in some of the blanks?

  6. Is that the one where one attempts to rearrange one’s molecules and pass through a screen door while it is closed?

  7. No, the game you’re thinking of normally followed many rounds of beer ping pong, beer lawn curling, or beer throw-the-ball-up-on-the-roof-and-do-


  8. You are right John, the memories are fuzzy but fond.

    I think the “do stuff” in beer-throw-the-ball-up-on-the-roof-and-do-

    stuff-while-it’s-out-of-sight was:

    a.) run the couple steps to the beer pong table on the patio on which sat your beer,

    b.) drink (what else?), and

    c.) backpeddle a couple of steps to position yourself to catch the ball before it hit the ground.

    I think our favorite outcome was when the catcher got hit in the forehead by the tennis ball. (And I think it happened often.)

    Was lawn curling the one that was sort of hula hoop shoes in which one rolled hula hoop so that it completed its death spiral as close as possible to (with hope over) the target peg? If so, that was a good one, too. It was elegant, odd, drama filled and paced such that one had plenty of time for drinking.

  9. Lawn curling was my favorite day-after drinking game. Ah, watching the elegant curve of the hula hoop as it hooked around the patio to come to rest over the croquet post. The leisurely stroll past the beer-pong table on your way to the other end to see if you scored a flop.

    Drink for change of honors (closest to peg goes first next time), drink for getting within a flop, drink more for a ringer.

    On the occasional round when nobody drank, we called it a “dry heave”.

  10. I think it was 3 drinks for a ringer and 1 for a flop.

    If only we had trade marked “the flop”, then the Texas Hold ‘Em boys would be paying us royalties.

    It’s probably only a matter of time before cable channel 123999XYZ puts on the Beer X Games. Lawn Curling (in which the announcers explain the term dry heave) will no doubt feature prominently. Perhaps John is still flexible enough to stage a bite the bag comeback.

  11. I seem to recall a drinking rule for leaving your hula hoop leaning against the shrubbery, but don’t remember whether it was an award or penalty.

    I’ve played far too many rounds of post-Emmadome Bite the Bag against truly talented competitors to believe I might be competitive. At my best, I bit an edgeless bag off the floor with my lead foot propped up on a phone book, but that game ended with two younger, more flexible players biting the dwindling scrap of paper off the floor with both feet propped up on stacks of multiple phone books.

    Even rigorously enforcing the drinking rules didn’t help, and made for unpleasantness the next day.

  12. Now, it souds to me like beer curling can be taken to the next level if done at Five O’Clock Somewhere. Instead of some nicely tailored patio-lawn space, we have something like a 20-degree slope, with a whole lot of rocks.

    Now, let me assure you, these aren’t any ordinary rocks. You don’t want to do beer curling among unstable, irregular rocks. These rocks are sandstone, and because they fracture in a generally planar manner, they are rectangular in shape. Yes, they have some irregularities, but they’re much more stable than your typical breccia. For confirmation of that fact, see Jer’s rock-stacking episode from when he was here. (Jer, can you provide a link?) You will see that the rocks here at Five O’Clock Somewhere are of much higher quality than most rocks elsewhere.

  13. Glad you asked – because the pictures were missing off the page. Who knows how many rock-stacking talent scouts have gone to that episode only to find no example of my work. I hope the pics aren’t lost forever, but I doubt they are.

    Anywho, I give you Litho, Ergo Sum

    Those are some damn fine stackin’ rocks.

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