Bowlers throughout California have tried everything to get Governor Gavin Newsom to lift his order that has kept most bowling centers in the state closed since late March; but there’s an ace up their sleeve, a Facebook group where bowlers come together to voice their frustrations in hopes of opening all centers.
The movement behind the “Open California Bowling Centers Now” Facebook group page was started by Ric and Carolyn Hamlin, a passionate couple that is determined to do what it takes to get California to open its centers for good.
There was a brief tease where several counties (excluding Los Angeles county) permitted their centers to open, and people were happy; but most importantly, no cases of a COVID-19 were reported.
There have been tournaments held on Indian land at Canyon Lanes, which does not have to abide by the state’s restrictions. In fact it has attracted bowlers from all over Southern California that need to feed their craving for some strikes, spares and possibly some gutters due to bowling rust.
In only two days of the group’s creation (article was written Saturday; group was created Thursday), it has accumulated 3,718 members, and it’s rapidly growing. There have been dozens of posts from angry bowlers who want to return to their home centers to hang out with their friends (in a safe way) and indulge in their favorite game, bowling.
One such post of importance is a peaceful protest planned for Wednesday, August 19 at Steve Cook’s Fireside Lanes in Citrus Heights, Calif.. A time is not finalized as of publication, but you could check the group post out for more information. The group is hoping to go from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. This could trigger media attention which would in turn help to spread the message to Newsom.
Bowling centers have had plans in place to reopen while heavily sanitizing their centers. The ones that did get to open welcomed their bowlers back with open arms, and they were ever so happy to be back, and thankful that their centers opened their doors.
An issue throughout the industry is that health officials are likely misconstruing just what bowling is though, and it’s likely why bowling continues to be overlooked below activities scientifically proven to be more dangerous than bowling such as gyms, bars, nightclubs and indoor dining among others.
Are health officials league bowlers? Probably not. They likely have been by their local centers to bowl a casual game with friends, co-workers and family, sharing house balls and house shoes, and feeling as if all bowlers do that.
They don’t, officials. Most bowlers have their own equipment, and those interested in getting into the game are encouraged to purchase their own gear. It makes bowling more fun, and helps to get a better understanding of the science and game.
Many centers have had guidelines prepared for their opening date, with guidelines such as instant sanitation of balls and shoes following the conclusion of bowling, spacing of an empty lane on each side of a group of bowlers, and masks required while on the concourse of bowling centers.
While messaging officials hasn’t seemed to get very far, it’s worth continuing to fight for change.
The Facebook group and peaceful protest is a good start. You can join the group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/590585188290806.
This story was originally published in the August 18 issue of The California Bowling News.