Sunday Bowling is a Hoot

Image courtesy of Chris Barbee of Bowling Ball Yard Art


Sunday bowling is a hoot. The alley was packed when we got there yesterday. There was the usual Sunday senior league. And I mean senior. They take their walkers to the foul line and someone hands them the ball. But there were also several parties.

There was a costume party going on. Adult men in wild outfits. There was a rather large bride, a not too religious-looking nun and someone who was, well, I don’t know what he was, but his face was blue, his hair was yellow and his coat was hot pink faux fur.

There were several birthday parties. The alley had rented three stacks of giant speakers and placed them near the front desk. The music was blasting out.

Despacito. This is how we do it down in Puerto Rico.

We had to scream to be heard.


Kid’s birthday parties at bowling alleys are all the same. 15 to 20 children all running around screaming and scarfing down cake and pizza and fried whatever. All the lanes have bumpers up. The kids are throwing six pound balls as hard as they could straight into the bumpers. The balls zig zag down the lanes. The chance of hitting any pins is purely coincidental. Their parents are seated behind the lanes drinking alcohol and totally ignoring their offspring.

And of course that means that we are directing the kids. “You can’t stand there.” “Move out of my lane.” “No, you can’t use my ball.” More than once I’ve looked up to see my ball rolling down someone else’s lane. I get it. My ball is a lot better looking than the alley balls. That’s the one I would want, too. And it’s funny because my ball is lot heavier than theirs and they really have to struggle to lift it, but they do it somehow.

I’ve noticed over the years that bowling etiquette is not often taught. People bring their kids because the kids can’t break anything, they can yell as loud as they want to and it looks like exercise. The ones who do teach the rules are themselves bowlers and are passing along the love of the game.

Bowling etiquette is very real. You don’t stand in anyone else’s lane. You stay on your side of the bowling ball rack. Most important, when a bowler is making his approach to throw the ball, the bowlers to either side must stand back and let him complete his throw. The bowler should not be able to see any movement out of the corner of his eye to his immediate right or left.

But if you need to have those rules followed in order to enjoy yourself, don’t go bowling on a Sunday. Because Sunday bowling is a hoot.

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