Bowling still knocking ’em dead in Kent

Adam Griffiths

A women’s bowling league plays at Kent Lanes on Wednesday afternoon. Kent Lanes is one of many bowling allies in the Kent area. PHOTO Caitlin Parat, Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Jason Hall

It’s just a lot of fun.

Seventy million people bowl at least once a year, and that number is on the rise, according to the United States Bowling Congress.

Mike Waddle, junior flight technology major and a member of the Kent State Bowling Team, has been bowling ever since he can remember.

“You can do it at any level,” he said. “It’s got a competition level, but you can also just go out and do it with friends.”

Jim Palmer, owner of Kent Lanes, recognizes that, as Kent is a college town, a good majority of his audience is students from the university.

“The college kids are good to me, so I try to give it back to them,” he said.

Palmer recently worked with Mobile Campus, the text-messaging based advertisement system available to Kent State students, to make Kent Lanes a part of “mc now,” a new feature that allows students to get immediate discounts at local businesses. Students can text ‘330KENTLANES’ to 628398 to get a discount on Tuesday nights.

“We’re just trying to stay linked to the college campus,” Palmer said.

Kent Lanes offers specials that appeal to college students looking for fun without spending all of their last paycheck.

“You could bowl three games, rent shoes, get wings, have a couple of beers and be under $15,” Palmer said.

This goes over very well with Kent students.

“That’s a college kid’s dream,” said Adam Carney, 27, who works at Kent Lanes and has bowled since he was 5.

“It’s popular to just go out and have fun, and that’s what this is,” Waddle said.

To Carney, it’s a bar with a bowling alley.

“You get people who are like, ‘I want to bowl next to those guys because we bowled next to them last week, and we had a good time,'” Carney said. “And ‘We’re creating a beer pyramid bigger than theirs,'”

Above all, bowling is a sport anyone can play.

“There is a talent level that you have to maintain to play basketball or baseball,” Palmer said. “The thing about bowling is that it’s a handicap sport. We can make it work for you.”

Both Carney and Palmer said that change has been for the better and is a necessary part of keeping interest in bowling alive.

“You create what you want to create out of it,” Palmer said. “You can have ten different kinds of people in this place, and it meshes well.”

Contact assistant all assistant editor Adam Griffiths at [email protected].