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Letters & Opinion
Wouldn't you really rather be
at the bowling alley?
by Leslie Fielding and Dan Barnett
Originally posted March 27, 2007
Revised, expanded, and reposted April 1, 2008

Related Links
Croquet World Readers' Forum on "Court Dress and Deportment"


Croquet World has never until now revised and republished a front-page story, but on the first anniversary of the publication of this one, we have good reasons for breaking precedent - including a threatened lawsuit by BADL. In accordance with abundant legal precedent, we are allowing the BADL representive equal - and equally prominent - space in "correcting" the entirely subjective judgments made by Leslie Fielding in the poem in question. This poem was properly labeled an "editorial," and thus presumed to be framed by personal opinion. Further, it should be noted that the poem does not refer in any way to lawn bowling, which - although just as boring as alley bowling - does not have the vulgar trappings to which Fielding alludes in the offending lines. We trust that with this re-publication, apology, and clarification - and equal time/space given to the representative of the alley bowlers - the matter will be finally laid to rest. To state our case clearly and unequivocally: we intended no direct offense to any one person or to any sport, no matter how vulgar or trivial; the intention was only to create a dramatic contrast against which croquet could be seen and appreciated in all its innate glory. Surely everyone would agree that there could be no more vivid contrast than the bowling alley!


Leslie Fielding plays off a familiar stereotype to parody the attitude of some croquet players in defending the traditional, conservative values of the sport. Just for the fun of contrasting stereotypes, we give you these over-the-top photographs from a recent issue of Palm Beach Illustrated, re-captioned to fit the theme of Leslie's editorial.


Wouldn't you really rather be
at the bowling alley?

At the bowling alley
     you can drink beer
     and smoke simultaneously
     express your emotions
     freely and loudly
     in scatological language
     when you miss the split
     and you'll fit in perfectly.

At the bowling alley
     you could be a big hit
     with your tank top
     and cut-off jeans
     and your tattoos
     and pierced navel.

At the bowling alley
     you could enjoy
     the cameraderie
     of your buddies on a par
     with your own standards
     of personal taste
     and public conduct.

Of course you're perfectly
okay just as you are.
You're a splendid person
with your own personal style.
It's a free country.

But wouldn't you be
a lot happier
at the bowling alley?

And we'd be so happy
for you....

Wouldn't you rather dump this stupid game and just get it on?

Wouldn't you rather go shopping at Saks with the cash we earned from this gig?

Wouldn't you rather eat razor blades than play croquet with 5-inch heels under the midday sun in these outrageous get-ups?


TO WHICH DAN BARNETT RESPONDS
FOR THE BOWLING ALLEY ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE

Sir: (and we wonder why we use a word denoting respect to someone who showed us so little)

This is to inform you of our impending lawsuit against you. We are BADL, the Bowlers Anti-Defamation League, and we are ready to do BADL with you.

It has come to our attention through our extensive network of anti-defamation investigators that you have published a so-called poem regarding bowlers.

First of all, it is not even a poem. It doesn't rhyme. We don't have a dictionary here at BADL headquarters but we're sure that if we did it would say that a poem has to rhyme.

Secondly, the so-called poem sucks. You are obviously defaming our sport and our sporters. Mocking our time honored traditions like drinking beer and cussing.

We all know the purpose of drinking, and beer gets the job done just as fast and at a fraction of the price of the pink Champagne you fancy folk drink.

As for cussing, there is no form of communication known to man that can express one's feelings more succinctly than a blue streak of expletives undeleted.

As for our mode of dress, you might wear a tank top too if you actually had some muscles to show off from years of loading freight or pounding nails. You boys probably got little noodle arms hanging out of your starched polo shirts like loose strings.

But you know what; we're not here to fight. We leave that to our lawyers.

If you got some folks there at the croquet place that aint up to your uppity standards, send them over. Everyone is welcome at the bowling ally. We'll even buy them their first beer.

And when we beat your pants off in court it'll be cold ones on the house for everybody.

Sincerely

Dan Barnett for BADL
[Bowlers Anti-Defamation League]
West Palm Beach, Florida


TALK BACK TO LESLIE FIELDING!

We encourage readers to self-publish their comments on Croquet World's Bulletin Board Forum. Just click the pull-down menu on "Court Dress and Deportment", read the comments of others, then hit the SUBMIT A POSTING link at the top of the Index page and follow the menu. Please, no profanity or other tasteless remarks!


 
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