Is Bowling Declining or Are We?

Is Bowling Declining or Are We? By Michael Cousins

As the years go by, more and more honor scores are being bowled, be it 300s, 800s, and, yes, even 900s. This has angered some of the true, old school purists, but what we must understand is that sports – all sports – are changing, and changing rapidly at that. In golf, players are hitting the ball farther than ever. In tennis, forehands are being cracked back and forth at a much faster speed than ever before. And in baseball, basketball, and football, athletes are getting bigger, faster, stronger, and more athletic every single year. If your child or young sibling is interested in playing tennis, you can give them the best junior tennis racquets so they can be comfortable while playing.

The fact of the matter is this: we are changing. Yes, you, me, your teammates, and the rest of society. Whether we care to admit it or not, we are ever growing and rapidly advancing. And this is generally looked upon as a good thing in life and other sports. So why is it that when our sport, the sport we love, changes and progresses, we view it as a negative? Why should bowlers be any different?

There is very little denying that recreational bowling has gotten easier; I do not think that anyone would argue otherwise. And, yes, honor scores are becoming the norm rather than an accomplishment, but I ask this: is it really that big of a deal? How often do you hear Roger Federer complaining about how fast the tennis balls are traveling? When was the last time Tom Brady complained that his teammates were getting too fast? Have you seen any recent articles where Jack Nicklaus is whining about how much farther his successors are hitting the golf ball? Again I ask: why should bowlers be any different?

Rather than moaning and complaining every time the sport changes, why don’t we accept it, embrace it for what it is, and adapt like the rest of the sports world? Bowling balls, just like drivers and racquets, aren’t going to regress. Science is ever evolving, bowling balls are going to continue to hook more, hit harder, and allow scores to reach new heights. It is just the way it is. It is simply out of our control. We must embrace it and accept it if we are to continue to grow as a sport.

I say this, to each and every bowler: I challenge you to accept bowling for what is. Not what it once was. Not what it might be. But, rather, for what it is. The game will be more fun, bowlers will be more welcoming of one another, and the sport will grow.

4 thoughts on “Is Bowling Declining or Are We?

  1. tim says:

    equipment and bowlers talent really have nothing to do with the decline, the price,the length of the season,and of course the usbc awards, is the real the reason for the decline. who wants to bowl 32 weeks anymore, its crazy.

  2. Steve says:

    The only problem I see is that the equipment is getting better not the bowlers. For example, bowlers today don’t know how to adjust, they just get out a different ball so they can play the one line that they know. And hey are carrying 6,7,8 or more balls. Learn how to adjust and you can get by with two balls, one for heavy oil and one for light oil, then you adjust accordingly.

  3. Ralph Lindgren says:

    The true fact is bowling centers are catering to the open bowler and not the league bowler. Go to any bowling center today and try find a house that does not promote some crazy black light noise garbage loud music playing at night or weekends. The League bowler has a difficult time finding open lanes to practice. The price per game has gone through the roof, even though most centers offer free practice games for the league bowler, it is difficult to practice n the dark.

  4. Jessie says:

    Yes our equipment is getting better, but why can we not make the lane conditions harder? The THS is too easy. If the equipment is getting better, why can we not still make it more challenging? Also, stripping the bowlers of their honor score rewards is very aggravating honestly. Especially honor scores on sport shots that are tough as hell. I disagree with the guy who said 32 weeks of bowling is crazy, I actually like the lengthy seasons. However, the costs are only getting higher and we’re getting less for the cost. The USBC needs to get back on the game and give awards out. If they’re tired of giving out too many awards, make harder shots.

    Lastly, we need to boost the junior program again… The size of the junior program when I came up through juniors was incredible. 32 lane house filled with 3 person teams on Saturday mornings. The other bowling alley in the county had 4 man teams and even more lanes. Now, my local bowling alley only gets like 20-30 kids on Saturday and the neighboring bowling alley gets 50-60? The Junior leagues are the future of bowling and they’re completely dying.

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