Opinion: Why is bowling dying? Our game is deeply flawed.

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Opinion: Why is bowling dying? Our game is deeply flawed.

Post by MegaMav » November 11th, 2018, 10:04 pm

When replying, please do not quote this entire post, please press reply instead.

This opinion comes from someone who has participated in other sports, basketball and football mostly.

Participating in and observing the game over the last 30 years has been interesting to say the least.
I wanted to write an opinion piece, more or less outlining the cases against bowling by the masses.
What im about to outline here in very verbose fashion are observations I've made about the game and may or may not be evident to those out there that struggle with the sport and its intricacies. Also some of these could be the reason many have left the sport or decline to become more deeply involved.

1. There is a perceived dependence upon ball technology.
This first one is no surprise, even though, IMO it's a flawed argument. Most middling to mediocre players think a new ball will fix all of their ills and flaws as a bowler, it will carry a few more 10 pins on those cuffs, wheel back to the pocket on pitch outs and throw scouts like Jason Belmonte. Champagne would fall from the heavens. Doors would open. Velvet ropes would part on their way to another honor score. Gone are the days of working at the game to become a well rounded player. "Hook in the box" is the new gold level coach, an expensive and ineffective one at that.

2. Bowling has invisible obstacles.
Everyone knows about oil, its effects in the front of the lane and on the backend (although some dispute oil on the backend is a myth). What's really not talked about is the mostly invisible topography problems most bowling centers with four seasons have. Is there any coincidence that every year there is a scoring boom in January and February? Whats the cause? Is it bowlers getting into a mid season groove or is it the groove created by the shape of the lane? The shape of the lane of course, it's the coldest, lowest humidity time of the year. The lanes depress most and create a subtle or in some cases no-so-subtle bowl effect, making an additional bumper to the pocket. We're talking thousands of an inch to affect ball motion, bowlers cant see this, they're blaming the lane man for changing the oil pattern, but in reality a good majority of the complainers are "up 10" track area bowlers, right in the middle of the topography combat zone, where the lane isn't screwed down.

How about topography you can actually SEE on the lane? Humps near the gutter where the lane has buckled and the screws have failed, ramps and edges at the seams making the ball dip and jump. How are these centers getting certified every year? Our certification process is rigged in favor of the business, rather than the sport and it's affecting bowlers because there is no uniform playing environment house to house, it's all different, and bowlers dont want to "figure it all out". It can be frustrating, especially when it comes to tournament time. If the gutter doesnt hook (which you dont find out until after you've paid or if you've bowled in the center, or possibly the lane before), which seems to me in the majority, its a power player's game on the inside, no matter how flat the pattern is, they have the bowl between 30 and 10.

Topography in most cases is mysterious, invisible and inexplainable unless you're really sharp analyzing ball motion.

3. Matching up is harder than ever.
Positive Axis Point, Axis Tilt, Axis Rotation, Speed, RPMs, lane surface, lane surface age, coverstock strength, differential, intermediate differential, differential ratio, drill angle, Pin to PAP distance, VAL angle. All of these factors really weren't talked about 30 years ago. The modern environment has become so complex, you need to either learn for yourself how to match up to technology, have a competent pro shop guide you (this is exceedingly rare), have a specialist from a brand match you up, or get lucky. Bowlers are getting tired of buying technology off the shelf and not have it work. What if you purchased a $220 radio from Best Buy and it only played out of one speaker? You'd be pretty pissed right? What if you brought it back and they told you to fix it, it would be another $30 and the appearance of your new product would appear to be damaged?

This is an incompetent modern pro shop which has become commonplace on the market. Bowlers are getting tired of it and with modern technology being more and more aggressive its become more and more difficult matching bowlers up and satisfying them. Some of the satisfaction comes from expectations based on marketing materials of the product they want or purchased.

4. Versatility is a premium in today's game.
Gone are the days of grooved wood shellac lanes with low tech equipment, lining up close to the same as your competitor and just "doing it" better than he does. The scoring environment is now riddled with so many obstacles detrimental to scoring that its become the duty of the bowler to overcome these obstacles.

This requires versatility, and lets be honest, with most bowlers, work is something they do 9-5, not after hours with the guys in league. Its hard to become versatile when all you're know is hook out and hold in and you're carrying a 230 average. It gets awfully comfortable close to the top especially when you're shooting only a few single pins a game and the Miller Lite's are going down extra smooth.

Real versatility and excellence comes from overcoming adversity, its tough to come by when perceived adversity is measured by the score sheet and the same soft shot is put out for your pleasure, not punishment.

League bowling on high ratio house shots is The Matrix.
It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. Its a prison for our minds. We're not encouraged to grow as players on weeknights, just drink beers and mash to our hearts content no matter how much we forget how bad we threw it that night and got away with it. The bar business is where money is made, why would proprietors want you to think beers have an negative effect on your score? Have another one.

5. Power has become a necessity to succeed.
Most players are not blessed with power naturally. While I may not have agreed with this statement a few years ago, as I bowl more competitively I see it more as a truism now than ever. On flush hits, I don't think rev rate matters all that much, however with off-hits it definitely has an effect. The strike pocket is much wider when you can send a pin off the wall. Also, power has the ability to overcome downhill topography. More torque off the spot "shows" topography problems less and can get back up the hill with less effort. On softer conditions power has even more of an advantage, it's easier to get the ball back to the pocket after giving away the headpin and carry with speed and revs than playing softer with touch. Speed is part of the force equation and it holds true.

Power is not everything. In fact. I think rev rate still is the most overrated measurable when it comes to bowler perception and talent evaluation. Repeatability is still most important to scoring. Personally, I throw it more like Norm Duke than EJ Tackett and I can see it. Some events I can tell immediately I'm behind the 8-ball with ball motion, and just don't have the ability to overpower the lane.

I can see how this can be demoralizing to other bowlers competing by seeing collateral splash damage on an off pocket hit. It gives the appearance of rewarding less than perfect execution.

We have what we have naturally, and some ruin themselves physically trying to find power either thru injury or ingrained poor technique.

6. Players can negatively affect the scoring environment.
Very few bowlers "play nice" on the lane, especially when money is involved. Name another sport where bowlers can negligently affect the scoring environment for others even at their own peril? Maybe in other sports, players can inadvertently do it, like walking on a putting surface in Golf, but bowling is the only sport or activity where sabotage can be legal and not unsportsmanlike. Players starting too far left on competitive shots, bowlers using urethane on high volume conditions, urethane on short patterns and inverting the pattern slope, using shiny weak balls and making the lane super tight, to near impossible. The worst part, it doesnt affect the entire field, only those that drew that lane skip.

I've seen all of this in person and these players have the capability to take out up to 1/4 of the field on their own once other players cross their pairs. These are all non-environmentally caused problems and can make the game very frustrating for those lacking versatility in their personal game and equipment.

7. Throwing a bowling ball is not a natural motion for the human body.
Bill Walsh, one of the greatest coaches of any sport broke down what affects timing the most with Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers, it's the ball delivered below the waist to a receiver, it affects their stride. Balls thrown by a quarterback should never have the tip of the ball below the waist. There's no coincidence here. Bowling is difficult because we're swinging a heavy object off our center of gravity, below the waist while walking, tilted forward slightly and slightly sideways with our head over the ball. Very hard to do well and not natural. It can be uncomfortable to do right. The body wants to walk erect and straight, spine vertical, not slide and squash all body weight onto mostly one leg. Bowling the right way is physically demanding and athletic. Maintaining and gaining flexibility and athleticism takes work, the current league bowling era doesn't reward determination and hard work, thus the lazy mentality is baked in at the lowest levels of the game.

8. This used to be mostly a blue collar sport that now requires a white collar salary.
This is a big one IMO, and is rarely talked about. Bowlers used to buy equipment once every 4-5 years and use one, maybe two bowling balls for all their needs, spares and strikes. We now have arsenals of balls with all different shapes and coverstocks to match us up best (plastic balls, urethane, reactive, etc). All of this has a cost and some bowlers don't want to buy more and more equipment to keep up. It isn't necessary in most cases, a trip to the shop to revive and restore balls is all that's usually needed, but the perception of keeping up with "The Jones'" is still there. Some people just want to show up and bowl well without much investment, and the perception is, its not possible, even though it is.

9. We have a fundamental disconnect with the professional level of the game.
I don't think the professional level has a big effect on the game's success and failure at the local level, but I do think the state of the game at the local level has a direct effect on the professional level. There is a chasm of difference between what it takes to succeed during the week and what is takes to succeed on the weekend on tough, professional level shots. The ball motion is different, the release is different, where you play on the lane is different. There's a couple of reasons why serious tournament numbers are down year after year. There is no bridge between the high ratio easy shot and the low ratio shots.

Middle of the road challenge leagues just don't exist beyond youth leagues. Bowlers go from weekday participation, bowl a tough tournament, struggle then tail tuck and go back to their Matrix-like cocoon where they have it baked into their ego that they deserve to score 230+.

Its tough, we need that bridge, the easing in. IMO, tournament oils patterns at the local level, as a generality, there shouldn't be oil patterns put out below 3:1. The lack of talent and lack of knowledge, the non-systematic destruction of those 1.5:1 patterns and bad topography drags those competitions down into a 175 beats 168 type of match. The luck of a trip 4, or cross over. Which brings me to my last point...

10. Bowling is 2 parts skill, 1 part good fortune.
This may be what hurts bowling the most, IMO.
The stone 8, the 4-9, the flat 10, the ring 10.
The light strike, the trip 4, the rolled 2, the caved in bucket.
Good fortune versus bad fortune.

Unlike most sports, bowling has no guarantee of results based on level of execution.
Very poor execution could be a strike, you could execute poorly and get a light strike and execute well and get a stone 8. is that fair? "Well, thats the game." is easy to say, but it still stings for the bowler that works to execute better than his competitor and isnt rewarded. Its a competitive flaw of bowling.

That's only pin carry, that isn't all of the educated guessing we do, oil transition between shots and our interactions with a lane surface that isn't perfectly flat. We dont genuinely know what the ball will do after it leaves our hand. We guess.

Does Steph Curry ever take a cross wind in the rafters into account when shooting 3's from 30 ft?
Does Sidney Crosby ever take into account the temperature in the building when determining slapshot vs. wrist shot?
Does Tom Brady ever take into account the PSIs of the ball when playing below freezing?
OK, forget that one, but you get the point.

Bowling is very much environmental and variable, mostly beyond our control, and there's plenty of educated guessing. The game isn't purely in our control, which for some can be tough to take.

Our game, as you can see from the above points, is deeply flawed.
Its not as pure as other sports out there, like shooting a basketball, throwing a football, shooting darts, playing pool, etc.

It's no surprise recreational bowling is succeeding and is part of the current business model now.
It's void of most of the above flaws in the game. It's simple. Hit the headpin and let the pins fall where they may. The age of innocence.

Those that remain in the game beyond the recreational level have embraced these flaws as character and continue to participate happily as a lifetime career of perpetual self improvement and challenge.
Others have given it up and I suspect the points above have something do to with it, but not entirely.
Maybe bowling and its shtick has worn out its welcome on society.

Either way, I'll keep on bowling and I hope to see you out on the lanes.
“When you prepare for everything, you’re ready for anything.” - Bill Walsh

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Re: Opinion: Why is bowling dying? Our game is deeply flawed

Post by RobMautner » November 11th, 2018, 11:27 pm

Very good post!

While you and I do not always agree, I think you are spot on with your assessment of bowling today. Please permit me to add a couple of comments.

First, one thing that you did not mention that I believe has had a great impact on bowling today is the changes the "new" PBA made to their telecasts, even before they went to holding their world series formats featuring several tournaments in one week. The PBA at some point decided that league bowlers were not their audience. They decided to go after NASCAR fans and Pro Wrestling fans. Professional bowlers went from being perceived by league bowlers as athletes comparable to professional golfers or tennis players to professional actors akin to wrestlers on television. They began to be announced like wrestlers at the beginning of the telecasts, and started wearing advertising jerseys much like NASCAR drivers uniforms. Many league bowlers quickly lost interest in the new updated version of professional bowlers and turned their tv sets to other events. In the meantime, the PBA never secured the interest of their newly targeted audience, leaving those of us who are still interested in the professional side of the sport to pay for the privilege of watching it on our computers.

Secondly, part of the problem with shifting topography on the lanes is that many long-time bowlers refuse to acknowledge that many lane inconsistencies are not due to oil variations. Add to this the fact that oil transition that sees oil removed from the lane often results in the two lanes that make up the "pair" changing in opposite directions as more friction brings more gravity into effect accentuating the topographic differences in the lanes.

Finally, having served for a couple of years on the local USBC Association Board of Directors, I wholeheartedly agree that the USBC Certification standards are there for the proprietors, not the bowlers. How else can they possible justify the practice of allowing an out of spec measurement to be retaken three feet up from the original spot, and three feet back from the original spot. If any of the measurements taken within the six-seven foot section of the lane are compliant, then the lane is deemed to be compliant. Talk about a bad joke!

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Re: Opinion: Why is bowling dying? Our game is deeply flawed

Post by EricHartwell » November 12th, 2018, 12:13 am


Most everything you say about Bowling can be said about golf as well.
I have started to participate in Golf. Subbing in league not yet a league regular. I play in tournaments.

There are things that the golf courses do to make the play tougher for more competitive play akin to tougher oil patterns. Rolling the greens to make them faster, hole placements, Tee box set ups. longer grass in the rough etc.

I am now comparing the two platforms.
I did not have to pay a Sanction Fee to participate in the league.
I also did not have to pay green fees because I have a golf membership that gives me unlimited green fees.
Bowling proprietors need to look at the Golf model.
If I had a membership at a bowling alley and did not have to pay linage for leagues I would probably bowl more than one league in that house and probably practice alot more more too. Spending more time and money at the bowling alley.

I spent more time at the golf course this past year than I will spend time at the bowling alley this season. All the bowling alleys I frequent have restaurants/bars tied to them. All they need to give me a reason to be there more and I will inevitably spend more money there.
More revenue would make for better maintenance of the lanes, hopefully. Bowling alleys barely making enough money to keep the doors open doesn't lend itself to a place that is going to put money towards keeping the equipment up.
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Re: Opinion: Why is bowling dying? Our game is deeply flawed

Post by RobMautner » November 12th, 2018, 12:49 am

There is another comparison between golf and bowling which is very relevant: equipment. In bowling, the USBC's neglect in keeping control of the bowling balls has led, at least in part, to the lack of challenge on the modern house shot (failure to control oiling is a separate issue). In Golf, the failure of the USGA and The R&A to put limitations on the golf ball has led to the obsolesces of some of the worlds greatest golf courses, as well as the quickly approaching extinction of par 72 courses in favor of par 71's and par 70's as all but the longest of par five holes are being converted to par fours for the Pros.

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Re: Opinion: Why is bowling dying? Our game is deeply flawed

Post by scotts33 » November 12th, 2018, 2:23 pm

I also did not have to pay green fees because I have a golf membership that gives me unlimited green fees.
Bowling proprietors need to look at the Golf model.
If I had a membership at a bowling alley and did not have to pay linage for leagues I would probably bowl more than one league in that house and probably practice alot more more too. Spending more time and money at the bowling alley.
Great idea Eric. I would also participate more in various leagues at the main house I bowl at with this idea. It would also keep a specific bowling center with more loyal patrons.

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Re: Opinion: Why is bowling dying? Our game is deeply flawed

Post by Bahshay » November 12th, 2018, 3:39 pm

I agree with everything mentioned in the OP, but it’s missing, IMO, one of the largest factors.

Money, and the expectations that come with it.

For all the faults in our game, I rarely hear someone quit because of most of the reasons presented. Maybe they stop bowling competitively for some of those reasons, but rarely do I hear someone quit outright because they’re annoyed with topography. All of the people I know that have quit fall into three buckets:
1. They got bored. It happens, tastes change. I think this would happen less if people were challenged more, but ultimately it would happen regardless to some extent.
2. Other priorities (typically work or family) got in the way. Again, that’s going to happen.
3. Leagues are too expensive. To me, this is the one that was totally preventable and totally our own fault.

Over time, bowlers have a developed a strange thought process about bowling - that we all DESERVE a chance to make money doing it. We have huge prize funds in recreational, handicap leagues. Where else does that exist? What other hobbies do we see payouts like this for recreational activities? I’ve heard of SOME golf leagues with small prize funds (keep in mind - I’m talking recreational with handicap), but most other sport leagues are simply the cost to participate, and maybe the winner gets some T-Shirts. My sister races bicycles, and when she wins she gets a medal and maybe a mug or a jersey. A good friend runs - for winning his races he might get a pair of sneakers from the sponsor. I’ve played volleyball leagues - the winner didn’t get anything at all.

To drive up prize funds, league dues can be as high as $25-30 a WEEK. Some leagues are even higher. What do we get out of that? Once the recreational bowlers realize their odds of actually making money over the course of the year aren’t great, they quit and find other hobbies that cost less. And then we can’t replace them - new bowlers scoff at paying $25 a week. I’ve tried for years to get non-bowling friends to bowl in a fun league with me. I have a grand total of 1 who is still interested in doing so. $100 a month just isn’t in their budget.

I’ve always though bowling would be better off if they got rid of prize funds in handicap leagues. At most, maybe a league sponsor provides a small payout to the league champion. But If we are just paying lineage, bowling would cost $10-12 a week. We can drive new participation for $10 a week, but $25 is over the breaking point of what people are willing to spend.

I’m fine with sidepots and gambling in handicap leagues. Want to put in an extra $25 a week for brackets, eliminator, etc? Go for it. But big prize funds make it an expensive night for EVERYBODY, even those just looking for a night out. Leave those costs to the small contingent of people that actually WANT to compete for money, they can duke it out in SCRATCH leagues. Anyone that wants to compete for money will simply need to get better.

Unfortunately, I don’t think any of this is plausible at this point. We’ve already made our bed, and now we’re stuck with a recreational sport that’s too expensive to be recreational.
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Re: Opinion: Why is bowling dying? Our game is deeply flawed

Post by JohnP » November 12th, 2018, 4:26 pm

When I started bowling in adult leagues, in the mid-60's, all the handicap leagues were trophy-only. The weekly fee above the game charge was very minimal. And the leagues were all full. But as people, especially the better bowlers, won more and more trophies they ran out of places to put them. So the better bowlers started handicap leagues with higher prize fees and larger pay-outs, and the trophy leagues were primarily lower average bowlers that weren't as dedicated to the sport. Eventually they died out and now it's hard to find a trophy league. Even the junior leagues have scholarship awards. -- JohnP

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Re: Opinion: Why is bowling dying? Our game is deeply flawed

Post by RobMautner » November 12th, 2018, 7:58 pm

I bowl in two recreational leagues each week. Fees for each are $12, and we get money back at the end of the season. Open bowling is $2.50 per game for league bowlers. I also play golf once a week. Cost averages $50 per round depending on the course and the time of year. Nothing comes back to the golfer. If you ask me, bowling is a pretty good value.

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Re: Opinion: Why is bowling dying? Our game is deeply flawed

Post by georgeh » November 12th, 2018, 10:52 pm

Bowling isn't "dying" because of us, the ones reading and posting on this and other forums. It's fading away as the recreational, work, daytime leagues and bowlers, go bye bye due to a myriad of reasons beyond the control of semi-serious to serious bowlers nor the proprietors.

Cost, ability, lack of knowledge (or desire to learn), conditions (oil patterns, topography) have become reasons, excuses or bitches for the semi-serious to quit. The serious bowlers, for the most part, hang in year after year, until age or injury hinder their game to a level they are no longer comfortable competing at.

I started competing in ABC adult leagues in 1975, at or near the peak of sanctioned league membership. After 1982, I noticed the 9:00pm leagues vanish, along with the work/factory leagues, then the women's, both daytime and early evening. By the early nineties, most of the scratch leagues were gone, the Jr programs had lost more than half, and there were more mixed leagues as they consolidated.

AND then came the closings, first one then another. The land was more valuable as a vacant lot ready to be developed, since the leagues were no longer supporting the business. Money was to be made, and since most of the ones closing were older and in dire need of remodeling, owners took the money and ran.

Where are we today? The closings have consolidated the leagues into the better run houses that know how to cater to the bowler today. Boutique bowling, with it's outrageous pricing has become a "thing" for the not so serious, and the regular houses have adapted some of the promotions of the boutiques, to bring in the casual clients.

Bowling is going to survive, maybe with fewer house and bowlers. Serious bowlers are going to have to learn the game and all the nuances to reach the top. The rest, will have to accept the level they are in ability, knowledge and desire to continue to compete, or they will quit in short order.

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Re: Opinion: Why is bowling dying? Our game is deeply flawed

Post by TomaHawk » November 13th, 2018, 7:39 pm

"Its not as pure as other sports out there, like shooting a basketball, throwing a football, shooting darts, playing pool, etc."

That statement eludes to the physical frustration a bowler might experience on the lanes. Now, let's make the shot tougher where striking is at a premium and the bowler bangs a solid 9. The phrase "Not Fun" is not enough to describe the sensation going on in that bowler's mind.

Beyond that, bowling was routinely an outlet that allowed people to get together with friends and family. It offered a safe, competitive environment for it's participants. Thinking about it in that light, with friends and family strewn nationwide now, that aspect of bowling has fallen by the wayside.

Going back years ago, bowling did not respond to the influx of competitive business either. All of sudden there were arcades to capture a young person's mind, golf gave people an opportunity to be competitive and be outdoors, health club memberships rose, family pressures increased, football took over the television market, there was the growth of cable tv, and let's not forget about cell phones which can consume a large portion of an individual's disposable income.

Today, more and more people are getting college degrees too. When they are finished with school, they might start families. All the while, they and their families are strapped with student loans on top of everyday necessities (like cell phones, health club memberships, golf fees, and cable tv). Food and daily living expenses fits in there somewhere.

Last, but not least, time. The bowling proprietors made a huge mistake when they opted to force people to bowl 36 weeks. They did not realize the psychological effects it would have across the realm of human emotions. It's hard enough being married to someone you love, now, for 36 weeks you might be in a weekly setting with someone you just cannot tolerate.

Bowling is going to live, but not like we used to know it. It is entertainment now, we don't have to go.

For sure, we don't have to go with anyone but the people we love.

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Re: Opinion: Why is bowling dying? Our game is deeply flawed

Post by Mongo » November 16th, 2018, 9:15 pm

Excellent post.

I think "dying" is a strong word, but shrinking may be a better way to put it.

It will never die, but I treat bowling, even at the professional level, much like amateur golf. Those doing it at an elite level are not doing it for the money, but the love of the game.

Problem is, the game that many of us grew up loving changed drastically about 25 years ago. Today, the game is more about power and having the right ball in your hand. The lane patterns are infinitely more complicated. As Eric said, it is definitely a white collar sport these days.

I think a telling point was during the Teen Masters 2-3 years ago when the tournament director was talking about how his tournament was about shot making and making the bowler responsible for what the ball did. Pedersen took the modern argument and said that today a bowler should know what equipment to use and when. That is where we are now.

When the phrase "you can't outbowl a bad ball reaction" is the biggest truth out there, you have an issue. The ball manufacturers took over the game when the ABC/USBC turned a blind eye to to nuclear bombs they introduced in the 90's. Now, we have an environment where, in some houses, you might need as many as 6 balls for league. That's ridiculous.

All that being said, bowling does have a healthy core with HS and collegiate bowling. If you have been in that environment, you know that that is a level of enthusiasm I never got to see growing up. That part of the game is thriving. Unfortunately, most local associations aren't keeping those kids after they get out. Unless you truly love the game, why in the hell would a successful collegiate bowler invest his time and money into a sport that, at best, where he might be able to make as much as a McDonald's manager. As I said above, the best equivalency of top tier bowling is amateur golf. Equally complicated game that is competed strictly for the love of the sport. Yes, there is some money to be made bowling, but most are doing it because they enjoy competition, not because they can make a living from it.

However, don't discount societal changes and the internet. I think most sports are down in participation simply because kids live on their phones. I mean, e-sports are a thing now. They are selling out stadiums to watch people play video games.

At this point, I think the time is to ditch the doom and gloom, get the ones who enjoy the game involved, and give them a reason to stay in the game once they hit adulthood.

That's all I got.
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Re: Opinion: Why is bowling dying? Our game is deeply flawed

Post by kajmk » November 19th, 2018, 7:15 pm

Just got back in town.
Many interesting points have been made.
I'm reminded of the tongue in cheek nickname Bill Taylor used for bowling from time to time, "Sticks and Balls".
Can't really say anything not already stated.
Though bowling has never been as simple as it appeared (never merely sticks and balls) the casual observer, over the years levels of complexity have been added.
Bowling competitively may just be the most complex and mentally demand sport there is and it's not cheap.
I think Mongo mentioned Societal changes, that is a big component. Those changes ushered in different expectations, attitudes, and attention spans.
If brevity is the soul of wit, simplicity may be the lure of a sport.

Bowling's curse may be analogous to that of "The Prince in Beauty of the Beast" in that to love it, you must truly get to know it.


Again, good thread, cogent points.
It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so

There should be a rule of war saying you have to see someone up close and get to know 'em before it's ok to shoot 'em



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Re: Opinion: Why is bowling dying? Our game is deeply flawed

Post by deanchamp » November 20th, 2018, 12:33 am

A quick search of "Why is golf dying?" and the parallels are striking:

People are too damn busy - Studies show that leisure time has shrunk for both sexes.

It’s elitist and too expensive - Golf is destined to continue to hemorrhage participants and further ensure its place as a mostly-white, suburban, rich men’s niche sport with plenty of TV sponsors who make cars, write insurance and invest money.

It’s just not cool - Tweens and teens probably don’t have the time to regularly play 18 holes, what with soccer practice, saxophone lessons, and coding classes to attend to. Even if kids had more time, would they want to spend it playing an “old man sport”? When iPhones and tablets and Xboxes and Instagram are drawing their attention?

It’s too difficult - Golf is renowned not only for being frustratingly difficult for beginners, but even longtime players “enjoy” it as a frustratingly difficult hobby.

I played in badminton, table tennis, squash and indoor cricket leagues in the 1980s and early 90s, and played a lot of golf, along with many of my school friends, but the participation in all these sports is also at an all time low.

As someone who works with teenagers daily, I have seen the rise and rise of technology distractions for each new generation of kids, and my feeling is by the next century all sports will be at risk of losing new participants and dying out.
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