Over 80 million people in the United States bowl, making it the most popular participant sport in the country. This seems like sufficient grounds for bowling to be recognized as the official American pastime, yet that has not yet happened in any official way. Part of the reason for this seems to be the plague of spectator mentality that has swept the nation for decades now. Baseball is usually called the national pastime, and football and basketball are also more popular as spectator sports than bowling. However, does just sitting and watching something really count? It seems rather lazy, doesn’t it? Too passive for a nation that is supposed to be made up of movers and shakers. If we are basing our idea of a “pastime” on passive spectatorship, then why don’t we say that watching reality TV is the American pastime. More people voted for American Idol than voted in the last presidential election. Why don’t we call the watching of contest television the national pastime? If we can acknowledge how silly that would be, then it seems to bring us logically to the conclusion that a pastime should be something you actually do, not just watch. If that is the case, then bowling takes the honors.
Bowling, an Inclusive Sport
Inclusiveness is part of American culture, and one of the best parts. Bowling reflects this. It’s not only the most popular pastime, it reflects American values. America is a melting pot of people of different ages, ethnicities, races, etc. Bowling reflects this. How many other physical recreational activities can people participate in from the ages of about 3 to 93? People can bowl even if they are in casts, use wheel chairs, or have other physical limitations. I used to work with mentally retarded adults with epilepsy. Guess what their favorite hobby was. Right – bowling. Now I teach with other Ph.D.’s, including some of the most brilliant physicists and engineers I have ever met. Guess what their favorite recreational sport is. Right again. While the patients I worked with in college may not have understood the nanotechnology that goes into the making of the most sophisticated bowling ball coverstocks, or the physics of ball motion as affected by an asymmetric core, they could still enjoy the simple fun of bowling just as much as my university professor friends. Whether you are into occasional recreational bowling, cosmic or bumper bowling with the kids, or serious tournament play, bowling is for everyone.
Bowling is Family Time
People throw around the term “family values,” but it’s not always really defined well. If you can get behind the idea of having good, clean family fun, then bowling is a great option. Pretty much every town in the country has at least one bowling center, and a bowling center is not just for bowling. Most of them have a restaurant (or at least a concession stand), video games, pinball games, darts, pool, and / or other entertainments as well. There is something for everyone, even if someone in the family wants to play a different game. And, of course, since just about anyone can bowl, Mom, Dad, and all the kids can bowl together on the same lane, sharing quality time actively. Now that’s a good pastime.
The author writes articles to help people find bowling resources, from the best bowling ball store in their area to the most fun place for Cosmic Bowling. He travels the country in his spare time, checking out different places to bowl and shop for the best gear.