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August 6th, 2007

Bye Bye Bowling Alleys

Yesterday I went bowling for the first time in ages. I went to a nice, small, local, old-school bowling alley where the attendants were slacker teenagers, the scoring was manual, and the decor was strictly 1982. And it was fantastic.

Sadly, this stood in stark contrast to my having seen two semi-local bowling alleys demolished recently. Neither one was a big chain (ie, Brunswick Extreme Zone) and worse, I never played at either one of them. Now they’re gone and I won’t get that chance. Isn’t that sad?

While the one I played at yesterday was past its prime, that was also its beauty. There was no attempt to even try to modernize this place. Everything was old. I appreciate that.

On the other hand, there are places like Lucky Strike. Still fun, but decidedly upscale. It’s a very different experience and I certainly sympathize with Ryan’s old Ping. That’s why the local joints need to stick around. And that’s why I’ll go back.

Posted in Sports

Ryan August 6, 2007, 2:12 pm

Manual scoring, wow…

Give me manual scoring with a wax pencil over the automatic scoring anyday.

Bowling alleys are one of those institutions I hope never go away. Which reminds me, I need to go bowling at my local alley.

Dave Walls August 6, 2007, 2:51 pm

I’ve thought about giving the Lucky Strike Lanes a shot, but 5-6 bucks for ONE GAME strike me as a little overpriced. (No pun intended by saying “STRIKE ME”, I swear).

There’s still plenty of good, local lanes about, but they are starting to become harder to find. Near my parents house in Delaware, there’s a great alley in Newport that hasn’t updated a damn thing since I’ve seen it. Same little snack bar nestled in the corner that might as well serve Coke in a glass bottle. No glow in the dark bowling. Just bowling. I bet if you traveled back in time to it’s opening day, it would look exactly the same, minus the automatic scoring, which I think is nearly impossible to get around these days.

A couple of years ago, there was a bowling alley in SW Virginia that I used to frequent that closed, where they didn’t even have an automatic pin setter. Someone would be down at the end of the lane to reset your pins. How freaking cool was that? It was just west of Salem, but I don’t remember where it exactly was.

Paul August 6, 2007, 6:38 pm

Dave: “Someone would be down at the end of the lane to reset your pins. How freaking cool was that?”

Oh yeah, there’s a place on Chicago’s north side – Southport Lanes – where this is still the case. It’s great.

Another lost lane near my hometown… Victory Lanes in Riverside. Only 6 (or was it 8?) lanes, automatic pins, manual scoring. Small small house but very fun. They closed for a long time before converting to a party-only venue (ie, rent the lanes for your next bat mitzvah!) before… demolition for condos.

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