Bowling alleys: the last slice of paradise

Maybe it is the stale cigarette smell and yellowed walls.

Maybe it is the sound of crashing pins, or the sight of bowlers exhibiting their unique celebration dances.

Or the kind employees, who often rate helping a customer in the same category as having their toenails pulled off.

Whatever the reasons, the bowling alley is one of the last pieces of paradise left in the world.

Bowling has become one of the forgotten sports — stuck in the shadows of more popular American pastimes like baseball, basketball and football.

I first started bowling in high school, and the goal back then wasn’t to get a high score, it was to steal your bowling shoes after the game and show them off at school the next day.

Back then, the two-tone slick-bottoms were the most popular around.

Now that I am older, my goals have changed.

If I am not shooting to get over a 100, I am trying to see how many balls I can bowl at once. My record is three.

But there are numerous reasons why bowling should be re-recognized as one of the greatest recreational activities around.

1. Bowling is humiliating.

And that’s not so bad. Every time you throw the ball straight into the gutter it gives all your friends an opportunity to laugh at you. As a human being, we need to be laughed at — it’s a way of staying humble. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re not having fun.

2. It is entertaining.

Sometimes the music at local bowling alleys is so horrendous, you can’t help singing along. Other times, the music is just plain moving, like the time last week I heard Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” pump out of the speakers.

3. It has great dance opportunities.

I’ll let you in on a secret. Bowling shoes have slick bottoms, so you can do an incredible moon walk, just like the King of Pop. Additionally, bowling shoes are great for 360-degree spins and fast-slide steps. Dance moves complement any strike or spare.

4. It ain’t a bad place to start or end your Saturday night.

Bowling alleys serve alcohol, so the drinking the 21-and-older crowd might be doing at a boring bar in town or at a friend’s house can be saved for the lanes. Although your score decreases, the fun balloons.

5. In some way shape or form, bowling is a form of exercise.

I am not exactly sure what muscles bowling works, but I know they are not your average ones. Every time I bowl, the underside of my wrist hurts and so does my rear. It’s the price to pay for working out.

So if you get a chance in the next couple weeks, grab a few friends, a brother, sister, wife or husband, and see what this whole bowling thing is all about. You may find yourself having an unexpectedly enjoyable time.

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