Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Last Sunday, I bowled at Mel's (Redwood Lanes) Bowl in Redwood City for the first time in several months. I took advantage of an AMF coupon of $1.49 games. It was evident I hadn't bowled there in awhile as I had practice games ranging in scores from 117 to 203. Mike, one of the general managers at Mel's came over about halfway into my visit to tell me Mel's will officially close May 8.
The closing didn't come as a surprise to me. Rumors had been circulating for several years that condos would replace the lanes. My Monday night league at Bel Mateo already have 14 additional teams signed up for league this coming fall. Most of them are bowlers from Mel's. I know overall league bowling has been in decline for several years, mostly because lanes shifted their focus to attract casual bowlers to help increase revenue. Personally, I find many casual bowlers to be a nuisance (see July 14, 2010's blog entry on Bowling Lane Courtesy).
While it'll be fun to have a bunch of new/returning bowlers this coming fall, the closing of Mel's still saddens me for these reasons: 1) Mel's was the place that started my bowling obsession (work league). A 12-lb. house ball with scores of 129 and 132. I bought my own ball and shoes 2 days later. 2) I could almost always get a pair of lanes and practice without much interruption or distraction. 3) Discounts and specials given out all the time. Every time I paid for my games I always got more coupons for future visits.
The good news is that 2 new bowling alleys are slated to open in San Francisco sometime next year as venues geared toward entertainment. The bad news is that it won't do much to attract folks to pursue bowling as a sport.