Thursday, December 29, 2005
Bowling Suddenly Trendy
Groups of jocks have taken over local lanes
Bowling Grows As High School Varsity Sport
(AP and Sour Grapes Gazette)
In what is seen as both a disheartening trend and a bizarre sort of validation of nerds, students across the nation are becoming hooked on bowling.
High School boys and girls have descended upon their local lanes with an enthusiasm usually reserved for more traditional varsity sports, such as basketball and football. At a local family bowling center, overweight nerdy students were upset to find that groups of very cool students have taken it over, scattering the pins in a series of loud, clattering crashes.
"This is the worst day of my life," said Walter Smedford, 16, co-captain of the varsity bowling team at Twin Valley High in Pennsylvania''. "This was all I had. I am 50 pounds overweight, my face is pitted with zits, and I collect Star Wars action figures. Bowling was my one refuge; my one slim chance of finding a slutty trailer trash woman to have sex with me. Now the lanes are overrun with jocks and cheerleaders."
Bowling is hot in high schools, belying its stereotype as a pastime of beer leagues and smoky alleys. In fact, for boys and girls, no varsity sport is growing faster, especially since high school students began to realize that there are bars inside bowling alleys.
"Dude, it is hella easy to get beer here, even without ID," said "Sean" a former member of the school soccer and baseball teams. "Also, the security guard lets us smoke pot in the lot, as long as we share."
16 states now recognize bowling as a varsity sport, a fourfold increase since 1999. For longtime bowling nerds, this recognition comes with a heavy price tag.
"Sure, it's cool to have a chance to get a letter jacket, but now we have to compete with the "it" people," said Damian Sanders, a Twin Valley senior and president of the Astrophysics Club. "I am not sure it is worth losing our only sanctuary just to have the letter," he said.
To change the image of the sport, bowling operators are tinkering with their terminology. Most don't run bowling "alleys" anymore. Owners think "centers" or "houses" sound nicer. Some have incorporated current slang, such as renaming the girls league the "Bowlin' Ho's."
"Gone is the old school country music playing on the PA system, in is rap, hiphop, and heavy metal. Some of the older bowlers complain, but it's the kids who have all the disposable income. If I don't want my center to become a Barnes and Noble, I have to cater to their needs," says Jerry Waszchovski, manager of Jerry's Crib- A Bowling House in Des Moines, Iowa.
"You don't have to be one of the elite athletes to make the high school team," said Sue Melvin, a high school physical education specialist. "It's a sport in which coolness and hipness seldom play a role. You can be overweight, unattractive, or just a loser and still make it in bowling. Also, if you like to party a lot, another attraction is that bowling teams usually do not require drug tests as do most other varsity sports."