Let’s Go Bowling

January 22, 2016 at 8:01 pm 2 comments

Life Preservers Blog Let's Go Bowling 2I used to say, If I win the lottery, I’ll buy a tropical island and live there in sunny bliss with a couple of gorgeous cabana boys. Today, the 22nd of January, 2016, with snow piling up outside, I announce to you this official change to my Lottery Winning Prospectus:

If I win the lottery, I will buy a bowling alley.


 

I just found out that Route 19 Bowling Center (the place where I currently bowl) will be gone in a few months. Done. Gone. Bulldozed. For a mall.

Crap.

I like that bowling alley. I like bowling. I like bowling night.

Bowling is a family-friendly, date-friendly, friend-friendly, clutz-friendly, age-friendly outing. It’s an inexpensive bit of fun. It’s a stress-free escape. It’s a place where everybody gets a level playing field, and being average is perfectly all right.

I’m a single person who works from home. Bowling night is a life preserver. On bowling night, I get to leave the house. I get to knock down pins, knock back a couple of brewskis, hang with my friends, and laugh a full week’s worth. Bowling is the last vestige of Younger Days, when nights out were almost nightly. It is also the near end of a thread that weaves back even farther, to my earliest childhood . . . if an unsanctioned four-year-old wearing no shoes, standing at the foul line, and dropping a 12-pound ball onto a big toe can be considered bowling.

That cherished moment took place at the Mt. Royal Bowling Alley in Glenshaw, an alley within walking distance of where I grew up. It’s where I won my first bowling trophy.

I should note that (A) it was a mother-daughter tournament with the winning score based on a combined total; (B) my mom is a really good bowler; and (C) it’s where I won my only bowling trophy. But I broke 80 that day, my mom kicked butt, and we took first place. In the tangled jungle of my aging brain, that moment is a sun-drenched clearing. Unadulterated joy. Vainglorious triumph. In my mind, that bowling alley is perfectly preserved.

In real life, it’s a drug store.

Folks in the North Hills of Pittsburgh will also remember another once-great bowling alley: McKnight Lanes. That building is now a Bed, Bath, and Beyond. (I still stick out my tongue anytime I drive by.)

McKnight Lanes is where I bowled in my first league and enjoyed many happy, silly times as a kid, a teenager, and a young adult. I broke in my very own bowling ball there in the late ’70s. It is actually the same ball I used right up until a couple of months ago when it was, well, broken in completely. (See photo to fully appreciate bad pun.)Life Preservers Blog Let's Go Bowling

Mount Royal Lanes. McKnight Lanes. And now, Route 19 Bowling Center. The three main places I have bowled, gone, gone, and going soon.

I am bummed. I am sad. I am disappointed with the world.

I want to wail like a four-year-old with a bowling ball on her foot.

Yeah, I know. Time rolls on. Things change. And, while I kind of adore the tradition and kitsch of bowling, it’s not the everyman activity it used to be. I know not everybody loves bowling. But do we really need another mall?

No. We do not.

We need more bowling alleys. Bowling alleys with cabana boys.

Entry filed under: Humor - Commentary, Life Preservers. Tags: , , , , .

Anna & Oscar Schmidt Happy Leap Day! Love, Francesca

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. WritingbyEar  |  January 26, 2016 at 11:33 am

    We went bowling on a rainy day in Myrtle Beach on my last visit in October. It was a fancy place, with waitresses that brought drinks and appetizers to your lane and a nice bar and pool tables, darts, arcade games, etc. We had a blast. Closer to home, Pines Plaza Lanes is still there – for now at least!

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    • 2. B. Schmidt  |  January 26, 2016 at 11:40 am

      Love Pines Plaza! That’s where my parents’ league was for 30-40 years. We played in the play room there as little kids (when they couldn’t get a sitter), and I bowled there myself over the years on occasion. Perry Lanes is also still there (farther North on 19/Perry Highway).

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