The article by Rees Hughes about Irish road bowling ("Throw Like the Irish," May 14) contained a number of inaccuracies.
Firstly, Hughes' was not the first game of Irish road bowling played in Humboldt County. There is an active underground Irish road bowling association that started almost 10 years ago in the Arcata Bottoms. Dan Messer, Laurence Hart and others have annually competed in a game of "Bol Chumann na hEireann" since the summer of 2005.
Secondly, your photo of a bowler throwing the bowl/bullet in an overhand position is misleading. The two pound bullet is always thrown underhand, after a running start and leap as the bullet is released. An underhand throw is much more powerful than an overhand throw.
Thirdly, in my opinion, our roads are not particularly suited for road bowling. The best road bowling roads (in Ireland) are typically bordered by stone walls or landscape features that tend to shift a wayward bullet back onto the road. In Humboldt County, most of our roads tend to lack these important features of the game.
Lastly is the issue of safety. A two-pound ball of steel caroming down a road with a potential interaction with vehicular traffic is a recipe for disaster. High stakes games in Ireland are watched by dozens of people standing both in front of and behind the distance points of the throw. This slows or warns automobiles to be aware of pedestrians and the fast, flying steel ball. Practically speaking, it is important to have a clear line of sight for couple of hundred yards.
So, I am happy that Mr. Hughes enjoyed his wee game but there is much more about the game he needs to learn before he can write a credible article about it.
William Hart, Arcata
I just read with disappointment the Journal's promotion of the concept of heaving heavy steel balls onto our local roads. How about if we promote hitting the roads with sledgehammers? Great fun! And it doesn't cost anything to do it, right? Not.
In my work I travel a lot around the state and the country, with a lot of driving, so I have a pretty broad experience of road conditions. Humboldt County has among the worst road conditions anywhere, IMHO. Even in Arcata, I know I'm home when I get to the stunningly crappy conditions on Beverly Drive.
How does the Journal prioritize the common good and collective costs vs. promoting individuals doing whatever (intentionally or unintentionally) destructive activity they may dream up and mask behind some positive value such as outdoor recreation?
I received an email from a colleague recently with this footer that seems a worthwhile reminder: "Thought of the day: Knowledge is being aware of what you can do. Wisdom is knowing when not to do it."
Bruce LeBel, Arcata