Is Bowling Fun? Our Beat Writer Investigates.

Just the other day, my buddy asked me how my bowling outing went over the weekend.

“Well,” I began, “I hit more gutters than I did pins. My toe is still killing me from dropping the ball on it. The next day I shot in the 70s on the golf course, and that was still better than my bowling score. And I slipped and hurt my butt stepping over the foul line.”

“But did you have fun?”

“Best time of my life.”

Listen, I’m not going to rack up the spares and strikes like Bill Murray and Woody Harrelson did in Kingpin. You won’t see me on ESPN soon winning any bowling trophies in Las Vegas. And it may take me five or six games before I even combine to hit 300. But at least once or twice a month, you’ll find me at the local alley relishing in fun hitting some pins…or rather, gutters.

Why is Bowling Fun?

I love bowling. There’s something gritty and real about walking through those doors and hearing the rumbling sounds of the balls smashing the pins. I only wish my throws could make that noise. It’s the one place you can wear clown shoes and get away with it. Seeing the arcades and pool tables in the game room brought back memories of birthday parties and the famous bumpers. 

bumper bowling

Today, it’s an escape from my everyday stressful life. It’s the chance to hang out with friends, have some food and drinks, and just laugh while forgetting about everything on the outside. Unless you’re a retired millionaire somewhere living on the beach, life probably has some hectic and crazy attached to it. Bowling gives you that chance to get away from all that. It’s a significant victory for our mental health.

I don’t care what I shoot; if I did, I would have quit long ago. That’s not what bowling is about for me or many people. A lot of families take advantage of it to come closer together. We all need a little social (or family) time in our lives, and there’s no better place to spend it. 

Of course, the competition adds a little more entertainment. I don’t think me and my friends have ever gone bowling without a little friendly side bet. Usually, it’s something goofy, like the loser has to sing “Baby Got Back” at karaoke afterward. Needless to say, I’ve memorized all the words to that song. But the competitive factor provides that extra excitement, making the experience 100 times better. 

red and navy blue bowling shoes
You can almost smell that dank leather and Lysol combination…

And if you don’t have a group to go with, there are plenty of opportunities to join one. Nowadays, the beauty of the internet is that you can look up bowling groups in your area, and a dozen different results will pop up. Better yet, it gives you the opportunity to meet new people and make more friends.  

Is Bowling Fun for the Solo Bowler?

If you want to go alone, bowling is still a lot of fun. It’s also decent exercise. If you bowl a few games, you’re gonna burn some calories and force some flexibility to those muscles. Of course, throwing down a few nachos and pizzas could put those calories right back on. But it’s good recreation and fitness for your body, and it doesn’t matter how old you are.

It also makes you a better athlete. Not only does it improve your physical capabilities, it helps your mental game, a crucial component in the competitive world. It’s a game of strategy and decision-making sometimes, sort of like chess with a heavy ball. You have to figure out angles and get creative from time to time. If you play enough, who knows–you may become really good like my buddy Chris Thompson in high school. His thumb was perpetually swollen from the ball, but so was his wallet.

300 bowling ring
Chris always wore this ring…he swore it “got him chicks”

Bowling truly offers that feeling of excitement. Just like holing out a long shot in golf or swishing a 3-pointer, it’s the most incredible sensation when you knock all the pins down in one throw; a strike! For me, it only happens once every two outings or so. Trust me, I’m running around that alley celebrating when I do it. But even a spare can be so satisfying. It’s that sense of accomplishment. There’s a certain euphoria about it that makes you all warm and happy inside.

The Final Verdict – Should You Bowl?

I’m not skilled enough of a sportsman to tell you how to bowl. There are dozens of sites and YouTube videos for that. But more importantly, I will tell you to bowl. Bowling is fun and 100% worth your time.

So hopefully, I’ll see you down at the local bowling alley sometime. Look for me. I’ll be the one throwing a ball in the wrong lane or trying to figure out how to work the little computer. I’ll also be the one smiling, laughing, and having the time of my life.

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