Feeling a little smaller about the weekly bowling league

I’ve read the stories about the incredibly shrinking interest in bowling around my part of the world. Family-owned bowling centers have been closing. The number of bowlers registered to the national organization that tracks us is steadily shrinking. The sky is falling on a sport that I’ve held close to my heart since the days both my parents made sure I participated in one of their share interests in my Wonder Bread years.

Somehow I thought my Thursday Night Men’s League at Bowling Green in North Syracuse was immune to the downward spiral. For more than a decade I showed up eagerly to the small alley, 12 teams filling all dozen available lanes, five bowlers per team, everybody rolling 31 weeks per season.

Hardy and hearty bunch, we are.

This September I showed up to an eight-team league.

Empty ends.

A full third of our league had dropped out since the end of the previous season last April.

An empty feeliing.

It’s a changed atmosphere for sure, rolling with lanes one-and-two and 11-and-12 empty every week.

Some teams jumped to other leagues at bigger bowling centers, I hear.

Robust in the middle.

I still get along with the five guys on the seven teams joining us for our now 29-week season, for sure.

But my feeling of invincibility for our Thursday Night Men’s League has vanished.

I really wonder if it’ll be around for another season.

10 thoughts on “Feeling a little smaller about the weekly bowling league

  1. aw, that’s so sad, and is as much about the social aspect as it is the sport. such a long-standing American institution and all ages can enjoy it. I hope it continues but must feel different.

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  2. Unfortunately the world moves on and continues to change.
    I just watched the PBA and the fellow giving the trophy said there are over a million and a half members.
    However I believe that some factors are at work here. The younger generation is brought up with video and electronic games and virtual reality. Also the world is getting more impersonal like emails in business vs. a phone call or visit.
    In hobbies such as stamp collecting has essentially died and coin collecting following suit. Here the age groups 20-50 are not picking up the hobby the majority of collector base is 50-80 so the next wave is evaporating similar to things like bowling.
    We will have to continue to adjust.
    The only thing constant is change!
    This isn’t Valley View House anymore.

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  3. I think bowling is still fairly popular here in Buffalo, but I personally haven’t gone in years. My mom and dad were both in leagues, and dad actually went to other cities for tournaments and won a few trophies. I remember going to the alley with my mom occasionally, and we’d always go out for a girls-only dinner after. It was so much fun.

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