Friday, September 7, 2012

Bowling on the Central Coast

I had so much fun bowling with Cousin C that V and I decided we should return to the alley again while E was having her fun with SLO Little Theatre (more on that in another post). We both lack in form, but we make up for it in giggles and memories. We enjoyed our snazzy shoes, sliding on the slick wood, trying to figure out why our bowling balls liked to make last-minute turns, trying not to depend upon the bumpers which we discovered during the course of our second game. (Thanks Poly kid who took pity on us!)

My grandpa loved to bowl. I think my mom and her sister probably had their own balls, complete with names engraved, though I can't really be sure. (Would Auntie M even confess such a thing?) I seem to remember bowling with my mom way back in the day when the ball was more likely to throw me down the alley and smoke filled the building. In college, I bowled a little for fun, but in recent years my bowling has suffered.

It's a fun game; more difficult, really, to master than you might think. For me, a mastered game is one in which not a single ball found the gutter. For masters, an ideal game is one full of strikes, the antithesis of baseball. But more importantly, a successful bout of bowling for me involves lots of laughter, social interaction and not a single electronic distraction. OK, except for the electronic scoring which removes ALL confusion about scoring.

Bowling alleys are in short supply these days, but we're lucky to have some fun ones around here. Among my favorite is Mustang Lanes at Cal Poly. Though surely designed to entertain students, the public is welcome here as well. There are incentive cards, electronic scoreboards, shoe rentals and, nearby, an arcade for those of us not so enthralled by the pin game. I also enjoy Pismo Bowl, a funky older bowling alley just two blocks from the Pacific Ocean. If we want to stay on this side of Cuesta Grade, it looks like our new "local" alley will be Paso Bowl with its synthetic lanes. But with wood alleys, fewer miles and pay-by-the-minute parking, I think we'll continue to brave the Grade for Mustang Lanes.

Further down the road, in Santa Maria, was the girls' first bowling alley experience in Rancho Bowl. This was a fun spot to take teens back in my high school coaching days, too, for team building and fun away from the water. And if any bowling alley on the Central Coast is going to make it on its own, it's Zodo's in Santa Barbara. They do a fantastic job of creating events, packaging deals and drawing in various groups from youth to college students to seniors and the rest of us, too with fun events and incentives.

We had a short stop for lunch at a favorite sandwich shop. What do you think V wants for dessert?


  1. I don't seem to recall my name engraved on it but oh yeah - my own ball AND my own shoes. xxxooo YMWLYVM

  2. No ball or shoes for me. I would confess. I do enjoy bowling though. We started taking the kids when Big Brothers/Big Sisters FIRST started Bowl For Kids' Sake. Everyone was like "Oh. I'm not a bowler." My sales pitch was to be sure not to have "bowlers" on your team and that way you can just all laugh, have fun and raise money without being intimidated. Everyone had a blast...raised lots of money and couldn't wait to do it again...costumes began surfacing and the rest was history. Probably still a fundraiser for BB/BS.
    I'm no good either, but I like to have fun!


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