Name a memorable sporting event and things like the Super Bowl, the Olympics, Baseball’s World Series, the World Cup of football (soccer here in the US), the Tour de France, and Nascar’s cup challenge series come to mind. The older generation might think of the Kentucky Derby and the other Triple Crown races. So, then ask the question: what is the competitive sport with the largest participation in the US and I am sure you will be stumped. That is, unless you are among the 43 million who enjoy rolling a 16-pound spherical object along a wooden floor at great speed towards ten objects arrange in a triangle shape. That’s right, bowling.
Part of it has to do with the capability to play well into retirement age and it also attracts the young. Even The Dude” in “The Big Lebowski” was an avid bowler. Then there is the space requirement. You don’t need large arenas (though some bowling lanes are tremendous in size) there is no need for tall ceilings nor does it encompass hundreds of acres of rolling green fields. It can be placed in a basement why even some private homes have two lanes set up in the lower level (the White House has one lane under the North Portico down from the two lanes built for Harry Truman in the late forty’s.). So you have multiple generations enjoying a sport in harmony.
The sport is relatively easy for the novice but requires dedication to achieve the level of performance to compete with the 0.1% in the professional level. It is just easier to learn than say golf and much easier to gain the competency skills needed for the sports of tennis football basketball and baseball. It is also one of the few games which can be done by oneself. Head on down to the bowling alley and start rolling away if you want. The competition is real. Bowling leagues abound and usually are active on every night of the week. Then for the truly gifted the USBC awaits you with a strong league many highlighted venues throughout the nation and significant prize pools. Their Open Tournaments are the largest competitive sporting events in the world with between 75 000 to 100 000 participants each year. The draw is amazing at the events and the locale doesn’t need to be in a 60 000-seat arena costing billions of dollars to build. The local bowling alley can be the setting for some interesting sporting drama.