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Bowling is a great alternative to traditional winter sports

December 6, 2012
By Jon Buzby ,

It dawned on me the other day as I was watching a very competitive Special Olympics bowling tournament that the sport is one most people really don't consider a serious sport.

When we think of bowling, we usually think of it as inexpensive indoor recreation during the winter months when we are looking for activities on weekends to entertain our children. Unless a parent participated in competitive bowling as a child, it's not typically one of the youth activities we think to register our kids for, and yet, it really is a great sport, especially for kids who might not enjoy the traditional team sports.

When parents think of what youth activities they want their kids to participate in once the weather turns cold, it's usually basketball, wrestling, swimming or maybe an indoor soccer or lacrosse league. But if your child isn't interested in any of those traditional sports, bowling is a great alternative to help stay active over the winter months.

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Most youth bowling winter programs start shortly after the holiday season, so it's not too late to join. A quick call to the local house - that's bowling lingo for bowling alley - will answer any questions you might have.

I did a little research and a child can bowl in a league for anywhere from $8 to $12 a week, depending on location. Most youth leagues and programs are offered once a week on a variety of days and at times conducive to school schedules. The programs typically last the length of a normal youth sports season (8 to 10 weeks).

I would not go "all-out" the first time your child signs up for a youth bowling program (or any youth sports program for that matter). He doesn't need a personalized bowling ball emblazoned with a favorite cartoon character, or fancy shoes or an embroidered towel. The houses provide all those things as part of the registration fee. And remember, like any youth sport, your child might lose interest and not ever want to participate again. Good luck selling kids bowling shoes at your next yard sale.

A second thing to remember is that although your child might love to bowl when he is attending a birthday party, it doesn't necessarily mean that passion will transfer to a regularly scheduled weekly bowling program. Remember, birthday parties usually involve friends, food, arcade games and party favors. Most bowling leagues do not.

The upcoming holiday season is the perfect time to take your child to the local bowling house and see if there really is interest in bowling for what it is -- a true sport.

Bowling isn't for everyone, but like any youth sports program, it's one that deserves a chance.



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