The History of Bowling – Part 3
Most centres by the time 1960 came around were carpeted and air-conditioned, and provided such services as billiards tables, pinball machines, restaurants, and childminding.
In the latter part of the 1960’s, the game experienced a dip in popularity as people seemed to lose interest in playing and there were fewer youngsters replacing the older players who had taken bowling more seriously than the younger generation. Less investment was being made and a large number of alleys were being closed, turning into gyms, bingo halls, and restaurants. The game waxed and waned for some years, finding itself with competition from a number of activities and sports, which seemed to rise with each passing year.
A new 80’s look
There was something of a comeback for the game in the 1980’s, which managed to sustain, with a large number of centres built and old ones given a facelift. Bowling promoted itself as a leisurely recreational activity, with alleys providing disco lighting and parties, while also managing to retain those who took the game more seriously. Bowling was helped by automatic scoring as players weren’t required to have any knowledge of how to score or even need to note the result after each time a person bowled. The bowling alleys of today are often part of larger all-round entertainment centres, featuring games rooms, nightclubs, cinemas, and restaurants. In 2005, The United States Bowling Congress was established after the men’s women’s, and youth association merged. The Congress maintains rules and standards, certifies coaches, and sanctions tournaments and leagues. In 2008, there were 2.6mn paying members of the Congress, which was more than any other post. There’s no doubt that bowling has enjoyed a successful ride, overall, from its days as a gambling avenue for drinks and crooks. Now millions of people around the world enjoy the game.
More about the ABC
The Congress’ founding fathers not only recognised their role as the game’s governing body but also the value of freedom of operation at both league and club levels. That basic philosophy remains in place today. There is much freedom of operation in today’s leagues as long as playing rules are adhered to. Having established a set of rules for ten-pin bowling, these men stood firm in ensuring that their rules were enforced. The national body also realised the value of local organisations. That same value is respected by today by the United States Bowling Congress. The ABC’s strict and yet fair approach had earned respect from those with a passion for the game. In the early days, players had formed their own clubs. They held intra-club competitions once a week and enjoyed an exciting rivalry. While these clubs were heavily reliant on New York’s German settlement, the game was also winning over other fans across the country. The game’s leaders in other cities adopted the ABC’s rules and attended the conventions to offer support and to pass on any ideas they had on how to improve both the organisation and the game itself.