Bowling No More

20130610-075742.jpg“There is no joy in Mudville…” – Ernest Thayer, Casey at the Bat

There is no joy in Greenhills. The bowling alley has shut its doors for good.

A few years ago, there was a book called Bowling Alone. I didn’t read it, but I understand it was about our shifting culture of disconnection. People don’t have the same sense of community and friendship that they used to have – of which the weekly bowling night was a time-tested symbol.

I confess I had only bowled there a couple times, but even I am sad at the demise of the local bowling alley. If you ever saw the TV show Ed, you’ll have a sense of what this place was like. I suppose the fact that I would cite a TV show for a point of reference is evidence enough of the shift in our culture. A generation ago, everyone knew what the local bowling alley was like. Unfortunately, some of my strongest memories of bowling are of Fred “Twinkletoes” Flintstone and Barney Rubble going bowling every week. My grandmother bowled a mean game, I’m told.

However, maybe bowling isn’t dead after all. I was thinking that I’d write this post about how it’s ok that bowling is dying out because, after all, it’s not like life didn’t exist before bowling. It’s only been around for a hundred years or so. After a little research, I found that bowling has been around for hundreds, possibly even thousands of years! According to the International Bowling Museum, bowling may have existed as early as 3200 B.C.!

So, now I’m thinking that bowling is certainly changing. Or, at least, our culture is changing and bowling is going to have to adapt with culture. And frankly, I’m not really that concerned about bowling except for the nostalgia of it all. As I stated, I don’t bowl much. I am, however, concerned as I see change happening to our culture. I don’t fear change. I’m the type of person that likes to ask some questions as we change. For instance, are we losing our sense of community and caring for each other. With all the concern about social justice nowadays, I don’t see much in the way of genuine love. Even in myself – I rarely stop to talk to my neighbors. There are folks who live within three or four houses of me whose names I don’t even know (did I really just admit that?)!

Perhaps it’s time to join a bowling league? I’ll need to drive a little farther to get to a bowling alley, but maybe I’ll cultivate some friendships along the way. If I was Ed, I’d just buy the Greenhills Lanes and open it myself.

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  1. Tom Ballard says

    Years ago, we packed our bags and moved 1,800 miles to a small town in Wisconsin. The goal was to give our kids a better life. Although I am not a bowler, the sport is alive and well in small towns across the country. But we have lost some culture. What happened to couples getting together to play cards, or square dancing. What happened to the Fred/Wilma Betty/Barny thing? We have lost something. Great discussion topic.

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