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    by Randy Ooney     

My Nickel’s Worth                     by Randy Ooney


My Nickel’s Worth                                by Randy Ooney




Two weeks ago, the Star Tribune ran an article titled “In the Gutter” describing the abundance of closings of bowling centers that the Twin Cities has experienced recently.  For some reason, the author insisted on calling Mady’s, Maple, Maplewood, West Side and others, “Bowling Alleys”.  Although I read the article, I gave it a one on a scale of 1-100 because it was poorly written and contained innuendo, not facts.  Unfortunately in the bowling industry there will be closings.  Several years ago on these pages I wrote an article called “Cathedrals” lamenting the closings over the last few decades, and many of you responded with your personal experiences.  Life goes on and the bowling industry is not in danger.  Many of the lanes that closed have been replaced by Brunswick Zones, Pinz, River City Xtreme, Treasure Island Xtreme, Stars and Strikes, and more.  There are no more Red Owl Stores in town, no Country Club Markets, Shoppers City or Denny Hecker Auto dealers. Life goes on with their replacements.  I wrote my objections to the op ed at the Star Trib, they thanked me for writing but said they couldn’t print all the letters they get, but they sure found time to print more Minneapolis Orchestra comments.  So employer of Sid Hartman, STOP ripping the bowling industry and STOP calling bowling centers “Alleys”.  Here’s an excerpt from a previous article I wrote with my friend Brent Prentice in mind:

Saturday summer, when I was a kid, we went to the bowling alley and here’s what we did…..  I never understood why it was called a bowling alley.  It was a building.  There was an alley behind it.  Inside there were 16 lanes.  I suppose you could have called one of those an alley.  It was 60 feet long and only about 4 feet wide, but I knew it was called a lane, because the sign out in front of the bowling alley said “16 lanes”.  We now have some beautiful bowling centers in the Twin Cities, with anywhere from 24 to 48 lanes, but I still hear folks of my generation say they are going to the bowling alley.  Tough to teach old dogs new words.

Nowadays we have beautiful bowling centers with high tech vending apparatus selling candy, soda, tape, aspirin, nail clippers, rosin bags, and paper towels with special sauce on them which is guaranteed to make the ball hook more.  The soda machine knows where to find your can or bottle of pop and drop it behind the little door.  If you open it quickly after the machine has dropped it, and cover it with your mouth, you may still get to feel the prickles in your nose.  There’s Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, Gatorade, Root Beer, various juice drinks,  sometimes even watermelon flavored Arizona Tea.  But alas, there is no grape soda.  I guess it was eliminated for fear that people might call the center a bowling alley.  




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