When most people think of bowling alleys, stale smoke, staler beer and a cheap night out comes to mind. Not so in New York. Lanes can cost up $60 per hour on weekend nights and most alleys have a clubish vibe with strobe lights, music videos and Grey Goose martinis. Not quite the scene from Lebowski or Kingpin, huh?
Regardless, a couple months ago a few of my friends got together to start the greatest bowling team known to man. Ok, so our current record is 0-5 so we may not be that great, but we are still superior by any other metric. (Last season we went 4-2 if that makes us more legitimate.) Our league is run through ZogSports, which is a common social sports club in NYC, and for $80-100 per season you can bowl your heart out every week on Tuesday, Wednesday or Sunday nights at Leisure Time Bowl in Port Authority Bus Terminal. Now you might say a bus terminal is an odd location for a bowling alley, and you’d be correct, but if you go to Gate 230 you will see a suited bouncer ready to welcome you into newly renovated alley, making Leisure Time the best thing to happen to shady Port Authority since Jamba Juice opened shop.
Most bowling teams have 6-8 players since Zog only allows 4 bowlers per game, but my team (Strike This!) has 11. We simply create a batting order for each game and waterfall through each of the four positions (our players are always Britney Spares, The Dude, Jesus and Matt- since half of our team was named Matt last season), so that a person bowls roughly every two or three frames depending on how many players show up that night. This provides ample time for enjoying Leisure’s meter-beer towers or pitchers of sangria. Last season this formula worked quite well for us, we consistently bowled in the 140’s and since we weren’t in the gunners league, we went to the semi-finals where we valiantly lost to the C U Next Tuesdays (trashy clever, aren’t they?). Nowadays, however, our bowling average is somewhat abysmal. Our average is below 120, sometimes in the 90’s, but our team spirit seems to have paradoxically risen, so I’ll take it!
Some people scoff at bowling leagues and I’m convinced they either hate fun or take themselves too seriously. I attempted to play in a Zog soccer season last fall and it was nothing short of disastrous. I hadn’t played soccer competitively since the fifth grade and was assured this was totally fine because our team was all about fun. Liars! We had some former college players on the team who yelled at the newbies every play, essentially shattering any self confidence I brought to a game. It got to the point where I’d rather sit on the sidelines than be held responsible for an error. On top of that, my dear friend LB broke her nose while playing defense and was ambulanced dramatically to the nearest hospital. Bowling is definitely much more my speed.
I am hard pressed to find a better week-night activity than bowling. Friends? Check. Drinks? Check. Schizophrenic music playlist that jumps from Kokomo to Paparazzi with accompanying music videos? Check. Excuse to incessantly quote The Big Lebowski without judgment? Check. If these things don’t appeal to you, well, then obviously you’re not a golfer.