Gen Y [Still] Lets The Good Times Bowl
- April 1st, 2010
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In yesterday’s Essentials I referred to the rise in young bowlers as a comeback for a retro pastime. Upon closer examination and a flashback to a post from Anastasia on this same trend back in the early days of Ypulse circa 2005, I’d like to revisit that commentary. But first, a look at the press release:
[The Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America (BPAA)] saw a banner growth year for the industry in 2009 and, for the fourth year in a row, enjoyed a considerable increase in consumer involvement at bowling centers across the country. In particular, we continue to see rising participation among women and youth bowlers, a stark contrast to the misperception that bowling is dominated by older males,” said Steve Johnson, executive director of the BPAA. “Now more than 60% of all bowlers are under the age of 34 and half are women.
So bowling hasn’t exactly just popped up on to the youth radar. At the same time, I would argue that there’s been a recent movement towards revamping bowling culture. Along with the classic lanes we associate with cult films “King Pin” and “The Big Lebowski,” in the past few years we’ve also seen the rise of deluxe alleys meet lounges like Lucky Strikes and Bowlmor catering to an all ages crowd, virtual versions like Wii Bowling as well as several low-key bowling/bar spaces like the ones I’ve seen popping up here in Brooklyn. Personally, the latter has been my reintroduction to the game. As hybrid bars/bowling alleys (one in my neighborhood even hosts concerts), the activity and the atmosphere play a key role in drawing nostalgia-seeking twentysomethings, but it also doesn’t change up the normal nighttime routine too much.
So was bowling really in need of a cool makeover, or is this growth just the result of young people discovering it in more places they already spend time? Like high school, where the BPAA says there has been “double-digit growth in five of the last eight seasons and the number of varsity bowlers has more than doubled this decade.” I’d say it’s probably a little bit of both. After all, like Anastasia pointed out in 2005, wherever you are bowling can just be a fun, physical activity to do with friends. Even if you are ridiculously uncoordinated and get mocked mercilessly for your stance (not speaking for personal experience or anything…).