At the Bowling Alley


Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

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105 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Take the Skinheads Bowling by Camper Van Beethoven


  2. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    Am I just weird, or does anyone else really like bowling sounds? The balls rolling down the lane, and that hollow sound the pins make when they get hit, and the way it all resonates in that huge room.

    As for the game itself, it’s all right. But I take more delight in courting pretty maidens in the morning, bright and early.Report

  3. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    Wait…wait. Back up a minute. There’s a Grease 2?Report

  4. Avatar zic says:

    I’ve never been bowling. As a child, we farmed, so there wasn’t much time (or money) for stuff like bowling. As a teen, I injured my neck, an injury that as an adult keeps me from many activities that involve the neck/shoulders, including bowling and golf. Too much chance to inflame things, and make life really miserable.

    But I love the idea.

    I read a book where a physicists (Wm. Bell?) described trying to understand quantum particles by throwing electrons at them was like trying to understand bowling by rolling balls across the lanes.

    And I love the song Take the Skinheads Bowling, take them bowling.

    When I was in high school, I dated a guy for a while who always told his mother we were going bowling. And he always made a point of smoking pot from a bowl at some point through the night, so he wouldn’t be lying to her. He loved his mom, and she loved that he enjoyed bowling so much.

    But most romantic of all is my in-laws.After he returned home from serving in WWII, my father-in-law proposed to my mother-in-law in a bowling alley. On their 50th, he had a beautiful pin made for her, with a giant black pearl for a bowling ball and two oblong fresh-water pearls for a pin. So there’s romance in bowling alleys, Laverne and Shirley got that part right. (And did I ever tell you all how much I covet a poodle skirt?)

    I do know that bowling alleys are, when walking about an unfamiliar town, a good place to stop, find out what we should see that won’t be in the tourist brochures, and use the restroom, maybe get a cup of something good to drink. And it’s mighty fun to watch the middle-aged and older folks play a game like they were still teens. Ageism doesn’t seem to hold so much sway in bowling, an I like that a lot, too.

    Thanks, Mike. It’s good to hear you had a good outing with the guys.Report

  5. Avatar Michelle says:

    We used to take my stepson and one of his friends bowling at this small, old bowling alley in Skokie, IL. It didn’t have all the bells and whistles of the more modern lanes, but I loved that place.

    To me, bowling is more of a ritual than a sport–renting the shoes, finding the right ball, drinking a beer or two. It’s definitely a piece of Americana worth preserving.Report

  6. Avatar Angela says:

    I worked at a pretty small engineering company that had a really skewed gender ratio, but always wanted to be part of the nearby co-ed bowling league. My joining the company meant another team could be formed. My first game was truly bad (39) although I got to a reasonably consistent 120 by the time I quit. It was a fun, social outlet, that had all the layers of the company playing together once a week.

    I’ve also heard that Wii Bowling was a huge hit at the senior centers when it came out. They could play the game (with sounds!) without the problems of the ball weight and balance concerns.

    For the leaguefest: there’s a couple bowling lanes downtown, along with our go-to place further north:
    Lucky Strike – close to the hotels. A chain, but fun:
    10-pin – Located in Marina Towers. More of a club:
    Waveland Bowl- They throw a great kid’s b-day party:

  7. I grew up with bowling as a semi-regular leisure activity with friends. I was never very good.

    Then not so long ago we went to a bowling alley for our office holiday party. And all the clowns I work with were raised with candlepin bowling, and had never bowled with a heavy ball before. It was the first time in… ever that I looked like 1) a kick-ass bowler and 2) athletic.Report

  8. When we moved here a few years ago, one of the things that I liked about this town is that it had a bowling alley. I’m sometimes a good bowler, though not a great one. I am, however, somewhat introverted and bowling is a social activity that I like to do. So I figured that would be my “in”. I’d go bowling, I’d join a league, and I’d make friends that way.

    It was only after we arrived that I realized the bowling alley was closed. That just messed everything up. I know that there are other ways for me to go out and meet people, but I had settled on absolutely doing that one. I didn’t have the energy to figure out something else.

    Now, of course, I have a little one, and so leaving the house to meet people is difficult in any event. But I suspect that things would have gone a lot better here for me if that bowling alley had been open.Report

  9. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    I’m amazed how many people here haven’t bowled much. I am a scratch bowler at best (145 average) but I probably bowl at least ten times per year. Is that a geographic thing? If you look at a map of bowling alleys nationwide it seems there are more along the coasts but it always feels like a very midwestern thing to do.

    Map of allbowling alleys in the US here:,-85.76824&sspn=4.93701,11.634521&t=h&hq=bowling+alleys&z=7Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      You’re not in the Midwest; you’re in Kentucky. 😉Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Not much. Lately I’ve been bowling quite a lot on my Xbox Kinect which is a surprising amount of fun, but that’s not exactly the same thing without the weight of the ball.Report

    • Avatar Bob2 in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Mike: It’s more of a class and cultural thing I think. I mean, you’re a hunter also and probably your other extracurriculars growing up will reflect certain things based on where you grew up. I’m about a 145-150 average also, but I never got serious enough to get a finger ball due to cost growing up. If you watch TV bowling, it’s pretty much the same. It’s very heavily dominated by the white Christian set. Watching Parker Bohn III bowl was always a treat if you like fantastic technique and consistency.

      Bowling is an extremely popular as a social activity here (South Jersey) among all race groups, but the kids that bowled more seriously were white kids in my area coming from lower middle class families. Our best team bowler was a WASP who had at least one 300 game in high school. The same went for ROTC to some degree, hunting, baseball and football. In a high school as diverse as mine, they still ended up doing what their parents did or encouraged, or what their particular group did.

      Asian and Jewish parents approved of sports, but they tended to get funneled into academic or music extracurriculars more than sports as a cohort. There were a lot of Asian tennis and volleyball players, and the Jewish kids did spread out a bit more into things like swimming.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Bob2 says:


        I think you’re right on the blue-collar thing. If you look at the distribution of bowling alleys in the city they definitely favor the less affluent areas. I grew up very blue collar with most of my friends’ parents working at the GE plant or Ford. Bowling was cheap entertainment and joining a league isn’t much different than having a regular foursome in the golf cours from a social perspective. In the old days all the alleys had a few decent arcade games for the kids to entertain themselves on while mom and dad did their thing. Lots of parents around to keep an eye on them so it was one of those ‘takes a village’ things.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


      We had a bowling alley in the town over that we’d hit up occasionally growing up. My dad was fairly blue collar… fire fighter, landscaper… so this was a regular past-time for him. My mom was much more white collar… teacher… so she never accompanied. When I got a bit older, I’d go with friends to “Rock-and-Roll” Fridays, where they’d turn the lights down and blare rock music and the crowd was a bit younger and hipper. We also had a bowling team in HS, playing at the same lanes, which a couple of my friends were on.

      When I went to college, in Boston, they had candle pin bowling, which seemed to be a bit more white collar of an activity, bordering on hipster. It also seemed secondary to what you did alongside it, which was drink. So, folks seemed to do it quite often, but in a very different way. I never partook.

      At this point, I don’t know if there is an alley near me. If there was, I’d be up for going. I’m not particularly good… I roll around 100 from what I remember… but I always had fun for a few games before my arm got tired and I got frustrated with my lack of talent. Wouldn’t shock me if there were some lanes nearby, as I now live in a more conservative, blue collar area, but I could also imagine there not be, as there is little in the way of entertainment options in general (people seem pretty happy just keeping to themselves).

      As others have noted, I think there is a real class issue at play. Even when we went as teens, we’d sometimes laugh/snicker at the yokels, even if some of them reminded me of my dad and his friends.Report

  10. Avatar James Hanley says:

    Re: The post’s accompanying photo.

    The White House still has the one-lane bowling alley Nixon had built. (The picture in the link of Bush bowling is uncomfortably reminiscent of the photo of Nixon walking on the beach. At least the trickster knew enough enough not to bowl in loafers.)Report

  11. Avatar NewDealer says:

    I’m horrible at bowling. Though I do remember it as a fairly popular choice for elementary school birthday parties along with roller skating.

    I think bowling is making a slight comeback among the hipster set in San Francisco. I can’t tell whether this is done ironically or not. There is a bowling alley in Pacifica that people like to go to:

    There is also now:

    Bowling combined with fancy cocktails and fancy foodReport

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to NewDealer says:

      I can’t tell whether this is done ironically or not.

      Dude, they don’t even know anymore.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Glyph says:

        First we got ironic about irony. Then we got ironic about the irony of irony. Then we got ironic about the irony of irony’s irony. Then one day I woke up and realized I actually do like What’s Happening!!.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to NewDealer says:

      A similar thing is going on in Portland, so I’m going to go with definitely ironic.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Huh, weird. They opened something similar a few years back where I live, so somehow we managed to be ahead of the Portland/SF hipsters?

        We’re so far behind, that we manage to be slightly ahead.

        Not sure how well it does, due to the market, hipster demographics and/or the location (an entertainment complex that has had serious financial troubles, IMO in part because it’s not easy to get to).Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Roller Derby is the hipster revival hobby that really puzzles me.

        I would love to do an in-depth study to see how many hipsters really come from working-class/blue-collar backgrounds and grew up with stuff like roller derby and bars that resemble and Elks Lodge from rural Indiana in the 1970s and how many are just appropriating retro blue collar styles.

        My theory is that the later group feels that their upper-middle class suburban upbringings were not “authentic”* and the earlier group is still fond of their blue-collar upbringing but feels class issues** about it because they are know members of the college-educated, artsy, will be upper-middle class and urban. So the veil of irony allows people to enjoy this stuff at a safe distance.

        *You could write a Talmudic length study on the psychological issues that some Americans feel about authenticity and what is authentic and what is not. Upper-middle class suburbs are not authentic (for reasons I don’t understand) but growing up in a city at any economic level is authentic. Blue-collar/Working-class upbringings are more authentic than having dad and mom be lawyers, doctors, consultants, engineers, etc. Also for reasons I don’t understand Roller Derby and bowling are authentic because they are connected to blue-collar 1970s stuff.

        **Socio-economic class is the other issue that you can write at Talmudic length about in America. Our great taboo. I notice that the British know what class they are in even if they become upwardly mobile. Born into the working class, always in the working class even if you go to Oxbridge and end up with a posh job in the City. America seems to expect people to change as they move up and down or sideways on the class ladder.

        This is a good essay showing America’s schizophrenic attitudes on class:

        Short version: Author needed a cheap apartment and found a great one for 400 dollars a month (this most have been a long time ago in NYC). However, she did not take it because the apartment was carperted and she felt carpet signified being in the wrong class. She wanted to be part of the class with hardwood floors and oriental rugs. While I prefer hardwood floors and oriental rugs, I think I would be able to take an apartment with carpeting for a good deal in a great location. I know this because I did so for my first apartment in NYC.

        The Billfold also ran a great article in the summer or fall of 2012 about a writer who worked as an on again/off again waitress and was on food stamps. The writer talked about how a lot of people felt she should not be on food stamps because she was a white, college-educated woman.Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to NewDealer says:

          At least when it got big around here, I saw roller derby as associated with almost an echo of that whole 90s riot grrl dealio – gals with tats and piercings, throwing some elbows. Obvs. popular with the rockabilly set too.


          • Avatar dhex in reply to Glyph says:

            while roller derby is not my thing as it were, the vast majority of the derbyists i’ve known were reliving their youths from various suburban and rural enclaves across the midwest and east coast.Report

            • Avatar NewDealer in reply to dhex says:

              I grew up on a suburb in the East Coast during the 1980s. I never heard of roller derby being a thing.Report

              • Avatar dhex in reply to NewDealer says:

                yeah but aren’t you like blue blood from the north shore of strong island or something?

                this was always more of a white working class woman homosocial bonding thing. at least in jersey. it never went away completely, though obviously it’s far more popular now.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to dhex says:

                I am from the North Shore and an upper-middle class background but far from blue blood. My dad went to Bronx Science. My maternal grandparents moved from the Bronx to Long Island when my mom was five.

                I think you need three or four generations at prep school and/or the same Ivy League (or little Ivy) before counting as blue blood.

                I have a friend from high school who does it now that she moved to the Northwest. She is just as much North Shore as me. I can see it being a white working class woman homosocial thing. Hence my curiosity about what percentage of hipsters came from the white working class but ended up at finer liberal arts colleges everywhere and what percentage came from the upper-middle class and are appropriating white working-class culture.Report

          • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Glyph says:

            Ha! Thanks, that video was great.

            I have a grand unified theory that there Generation X and the hipster basically morphed into each other. Hence the line in the video “may be seen in guys as late as 40”. In the Bay Area and New York (and other metro areas) you see a lot of people who were in their early 20s during the hey day of Gen X but basically morphed into Hipsters.

            The rockabilly set overlaps with hipsterdom as well in many ways.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to NewDealer says:

          To me, it is one thing to wear ironic clothing. So long as it’s not physically uncomfortable, you’re not even aware of what is on the front of your shirt most of the time. You might be wearing something you otherwise wouldn’t but it makes little difference as you go about your day. But taking two hours of your life to do something you don’t enjoy to be ironic? Really? Seriously, what the fuck, man?Report

          • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Kazzy says:

            I think the issue is more complicated than people doing something they don’t enjoy to be ironic.

            I think most people probably like all of the “ironic” activities but feel a bit bad about it because they think such activities are against their class (whatever that class might be). So people use “irony” as a psychological distancing.

            This is a theory that usually gets me in trouble when I express it.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to NewDealer says:

              Also, most of these ironic activities are accompanied by moderate-to-heavy drinking, which makes them enjoyable whether they are or not.Report

              • Avatar dhex in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                the whole “doing it ironically” thing is, i think, largely myth.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to dhex says:

                this, dhex says, ironically.Report

              • Avatar dhex in reply to zic says:

                “this, dhex says, ironically.”

                i love trash, but only sincerely. it’s high culture i have to pretend to appreciate (because it’s so goddamn boring).Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to dhex says:

                I dunno, dude. The one that gets me are hipster mustaches. Google Image that mess, and tell me that those guys looked in the mirror before they left the house and seriously thought, “hey…I look GOOD”?

                I’m talking ones like “The Reverse Hitler”, or the ones like carnival barkers via Bruno.

                Also, there’s a decent, critically-praised restaraunt near me, and the owner is roughly my age, which is to say, middle-.

                And I see him, and he’s wearing a t-shirt depicting “unicorns in coitus under rainbows. ”

                That scream “sincerity” to you?

                But if you just mean that roller derby or bowling IS pretty fun (or – god – even shuffleboard, which I swear was A Thing Around Here), no irony required, then I won’t argue (much).Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

                Ah, Borat, not Bruno. Still, I think the point stands.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Glyph says:


                The thing in Brooklyn was for bars with indoor Bocci courts.

                Also I see a lot of people with facial hair and I wonder if they took their inspiration from old sepia-toned photos of immigrant-waiters in little Italy or lumberjacksReport

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Glyph says:

                I don’t get the hipster love for mustaches at all.

                Just like why I don’t get why movember is supposed to be fun and charming.

                Sadly there are a lot of things that are supposed to be fun and charming that completely go over my head.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to NewDealer says:

                Rule of thumb – unless you are Tom Selleck – trash the ‘stache.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to NewDealer says:

                Fashions never make sense to people who aren’t into them.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to NewDealer says:

                Before I heard about Movember, I heard about Mustaches for Kids, which I believe is in March or April. As I understand it, you get people to sponsor your mustache with the money going to a children’s charity of one kind or another. Part of the requirements are that you start the month sans mustache, so that you are actually growing a mustache for the cause, not simply doing what you normally do (though I’m sure some guys normally do sport mustaches and just take them off to start). And your mustache must be a mustache… full beards are out. So where a charity walk requires you to make a physical sacrifice to raise money, MFK asks you to make an aesthetic sacrifice. They also have weekly gatherings at bars with mini prizes for the best mustaches.

                I don’t know if Movember is actually part of something or is just a stupid trend. But MFK, with its delightfully creepy nickname, at least does some good in the world.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:


                Movember does the same for prostate cancer.

                I suppose I am not willing to do the aesthetic sacrifice. I’ll gladly donate money or do a walk-a-thon. Volunteer to help kids, toy and book drives, etc.

                Grow a mustache gets a hell no from me. Especially because the really bad portmaneu (I hate English as created by marketing majors).Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to NewDealer says:

                Thanks, ND. I hadn’t realize. I’ve heard folks talk about it as just a group mustache growing thing, which makes me wonder if everyone really understands it and if there are guys doing it just because they think it is a thing to do, not because of a charity (which is fine… it’s there face).

                Fair or not, you just can’t be a male PreK teacher and have a mustache. It is off limits for me.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to NewDealer says:


                “Rule of thumb – unless you are Tom Selleck – trash the ‘stache.”

                I tried growing a handlebar last summer as an experiment. I’ve always worn a beard but my company has a no-beard policy for management and since my next promotion would put me in that group I thought I should do a trial run. I’m still optimistic I can pull it off at some point in the future. I know some guys with mustaches that pull them off well but they are all over 50. That’s a ways off for me.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to NewDealer says:

                NewDealer, do you believe that women ought to shave their legs?Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:


                I certainly don’t think companies should have policies like that. That is the epitome of stupid HR in my opinion.


                What are you talking about?

                People can do as they please with their bodies. My expressed opinions do not represent any belief that people will listen to me.Report

              • Avatar dhex in reply to Glyph says:

                “That scream “sincerity” to you?”

                isn’t there a choice “c” in here, i.e. that’s a funny shirt i think i’ll wear this funny shirt because to err may be human, but to laugh is divine?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to dhex says:

                I agree its more a myth or an easy shallow explanation for people doing something others think they aren’t supposed to like. I’m usually not sure what people mean when they say something is done ironically.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to greginak says:

                As I understand it, I think to do something ironically is to do something to draw attention to the fact that it isn’t otherwise being done and/or to deliberately defy expectations.

                “I bet you thought no middle-aged man would wear a t-shirt with unicorns fucking. Well, joke’s on you, square!”

                Generally speaking, fashion sort of boggles my mind. My rule has always been that I’m going to wear A) what’s comfortable and B) what I think looks good/cool, allowing for certain social or professional conventions. I don’t really care if it actually looks good or cool… just whether or not I like it. Now, there is an extent to which my sense of “good” or “cool” is influenced by outside forces; there is no denying that. But unless I’m being deliberately silly, I never think, “Wearing this is going to make OTHER people feel that, so I’m going to wear it so I can make them feel that way.” So, folks following fashion trends always strikes me as a bit strange. But then folks deliberately not following fashion trends by following OTHER fashion trends but insisting they aren’t following any trends (Really, dude, you think you invented the mustache?) and defining their own trends by defiance to more mainstream trends… I just start to get a headache.

                Part of my trouble is that aspects of my own personal style have become popular in different sects, which sometimes seems to align me as such. For instance, I have a beard. This is primarily because I hate shaving and don’t look terrible with it. So I grow it. I’ve tried to grow a beard going back as far as 2003, when I’m not sure I knew anyone with a beard. Unfortunately, I couldn’t grow one at the time. By ’06, I could, and have had one off and on since. I keep it pretty basic. I grow it full and every so often trim back the neckline and sometimes the cheeks where the hair grows sparse. If I’m TOO aggressive in either spot I sometimes get the chinstrap look, but it fades in a couple days. Anyway, the point is I like having a beard, whether or not it is fashionable. Sometimes people call it a hipster beard, which is sort of annoying but would be a dumb reason to shave it. And eventually, people will call it a creepy beard, which will also be sort of annoying but would also be a dumb reason to shave it.

                There is an episode of “Community” in Season 1 where Troy struggles with the decision of whether or not to continue wearing his high school letterman jacket. Eventually, Jeff sets him straight, saying something to the effect of wearing it in defiance of other people or to impress other people or taking it off because of pressure from other people is still making it about other people, and that is what’s weak.Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to greginak says:

                Hipsters consciously pursue irony. “I am doing this uncool thing in the full appreciation of its uncoolness, making me cooler than the cool people who simply avoid it, and way cooler than the people who do it unironically. ”

                And it’s also a perfect defense against being being uncool. “Dude, you’re going to Harvard for an MBA? Man, I though you didn’t buy into any of that corporate drone mentality.” “Chill out, dude. Think about it. When I have the big house, the Ferrari, and the trophy wife, it’ll be like the world’s biggest goof on people that really care about that stuff.”Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to MikeSchilling says:

                I know I have linked this before, but I can’t see the word “goof” without thinking of this sketch from the movie The Ten.


              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to MikeSchilling says:

                That’s a far better way to describe it than I did.

                It would seem that to do something ironically is to do something in a way wholly devoid of pride.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to MikeSchilling says:

                Whoops, I forgot. NSFW ^^^^^^^^^Report

              • Avatar dhex in reply to MikeSchilling says:

                i’m not even sure that’s a real thing, honestly.

                i do, however, think it stems from that most american of fears – being laughed at.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to MikeSchilling says:


                I’m reminded of a comment in Norwegian Wood by Murakami where he noted that the biggest campus protestors were always the ones who cut their hair immediately after graduation and went to work for Mitsubishi.

                I think it is the “way cooler than the people who do it unironically” that causes much of the perplexing nature and ire against hipsters.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MikeSchilling says:

                True Story:

                During an anarchist confab in Eugene, OR, the local news interviewed some of them as they were protesting. In response to the question of why he wore a mask to hide his identity, one replied, “Well, like I might want to get a job someday or something.”Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to MikeSchilling says:


                Please say you have a link for that quote?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MikeSchilling says:


                Sorry, I just happened to be watching the news that night.

                Thing is, as easy as it is to mock the guy, I really kind of sympathize with him.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to MikeSchilling says:


                Are you saying that you want to be part of an anarchist collective?

                Generally I am with you. I don’t think people should be fired for their off-work activities as long as those activities are lawful. This includes being a protestor and member of an anarchist collective.

                I still think there is something odd about a young anarchist who basically admits he is going to sell out eventually. Or possibly hypocritical.

                But I guess we all need jobs.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to NewDealer says:

      It;s in Pacifica? Ironically .Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird says:

    When I was a kid (in 3rd grade maybe?), we had a “how to score bowling” section for math.

    Now that I think about it, that was a pretty great way to sneak advertising for one’s local bowling alley into the classroom.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

      Nowadays, kids don’t have to learn to score, because it’s all automatic . Most of them probably don’t even know that the first ball after a spare counts double, so they’re not trying so hard that they throw a gutterball. In fact, they’ve probably got the damned bumpers up, so it doesn’t matter if they throw it straight into the gutter.

      Off my lawn, all of you!Report

      • Avatar Miss Mary in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        They’ve had automatic scoring since I began bowling as I child. I would know how to do it myself.

        My parents divorced when I was three so I grew up in a handful of small towns in Oregon, California, and Texas. Every small town had a bowling alley, and a movie theater. That’s about all there was for the kids.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Grease pencils or you’re a sucker. There is no other answer.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        When I was young, I thought a game was 30 frames. How else would you roll at 300 with only 10 pins out there at a time? My dad explained the scoring to me in a couple of minutes. It really isn’t that complicated, at least conceptually (I could see screwing up the math if you have multiple consecutive closed frames). One thing I did love about the automatic scorers we had at my old neighborhood lanes was the crudely drawn turkey that’d pop up after three consecutive strikes. Also, nothing stopped you from putting in naughty words as names, or screwing with your friends’ names… watching them stand in triumph in front of a turkey-laden scoreboard, unaware that it was celebrating the exploits of Ass Muncher.Report

        • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Kazzy says:

          Explain in 25 words or less why you get extra throws for a spare or strike in the 10th frame 🙂 It’s obvious once you see it, but I’m not sure I can find simple words for it.Report

  13. Avatar Dan Miller says:

    I bowl a couple times a year, but it hasn’t been the same since I moved away from the Brookfield Bowl (in the Chicago suburb of the same name). It was so old-school that they didn’t even have computers to keep score; you kept score via pencil and paper, on little scorecards that they gave you. The frames were numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, beer, 6, 7, 8, 9, beer. Some great nights there in high school and college summers.Report

  14. Avatar Peter says:

    A popular bowling alley not too far from me looks to be out of business after its roof collapsed under almost 30 inches of snow.Report

  15. Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:


    Godless, socialist liberal that I am, I was in two bowling leagues in 2011 and 2012. Since the second of those leagues ended, I haven’t bowled another game. I did bowl a 247 once though, so that was fun.Report