An Open Letter to Ten Pin Bowling

Dear Ten Pin Bowling

I am not sure if you are a sport, or a collective of like-minded centres, but what I do know is that after a recent experience with your operation I have more questions than answers.

Last Friday I partook in a couple of games with the lads. It was the first time I had been Bowling since I was a high school kid and we used to have to go every Thursday for Sport & Rec.

There was one time about two years ago I checked out one of this those inner-city underground bowling bars that look like somewhere Transformers would bowl. I feel like placing those establishments in the same category as the standard joints I am referring to is like comparing haute couture form Paris Fashion Week with the Target spring catalogue.

I noticed the guy who ran the place acted as Lord of the Lanes. From his plywood box castle he ruled over all the 26 kingdoms of the pins, allocating lanes to grateful pilgrims in exchange for their gold coins.

‘Happy’, as our group referred to him as, begrudgingly availed us of a few lanes and the customary bowling shoes.

It is my humble opinion that the bowling shoe is only bettered by the Japanese house slipper and Dutch clog when it comes to killer cultural shoe icons. Why then does your movement need the shoes to be covered in so much talcum powder that they resemble a bathroom bench top after a Mexican Cartel’s Christmas party?!

The game itself is quite appealing. Simple to understand and open to anyone with at least one arm and relatively good vision. Very few sports can boast this type of broad appeal and low barriers to participation, beside perhaps arm wrestling.

Why then it needs to take place in a neon den of nostalgia is confusing? The arcade games are cute, but unless they are a museum exhibition designed to attract punters, then most people’s phones would have more engaging and better looking games.

The mirror ball is also something that seems to be in every bowling alley I’ve been to. You do know that disco balls don't wow the kids anymore right? These millennials grew up with light shows emanating from the mobiles hanging over their cots. Unless you’ve got holographs of Jay-Z and Beyonce congratulating them every time they get a strike, the kids don't care.

Your catering offerings seemed to be lacking and I am not referring to variety. I am referring to the ingredients; different combinations of potato, flower and animal-by-product meats deep fried. Whilst this type of food may have strong cultural appeal to those of Trucking heritage, the average modern customer would rather a sushi platter, grain salad or a simple high protein salad rye wrap.

To conclude, the sport you champion is truly majestic. I wouldn't be surprised if the angels played it in heaven whilst listening to Sigur Ros, enjoying laser light shows from their feet and feasting on sushi grain salad rye wraps. However the current offering of your establishments are as close an example of Hell on earth as I can imagine, if you don't count Bikram Yoga studios.

Introduce a few more lasers and bowling’s light may once again shine bright.

Yours in size 13s,

LR