NORMAN CHAD: My plan to save bowling, future of democracy

SHARE NORMAN CHAD: My plan to save bowling, future of democracy

River Rand Bowl in Des Plaines. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media

We are here today to save bowling.

Sure, America has a host of serious concerns but Couch Slouch believes that the future of our democracy – the health and welfare of our children and our children’s children and our children’s children’s Uber drivers – is dependent on the stability and growth of bowling centers from sea to climate-change-threatened shining sea.

The more you bowl, the less you brood.

Every moment you are at the lanes is a moment you are not complaining about your job, not worrying about North Korea, not looking down at your smartphone in search of funny cat videos.

Andrew Jackson always reasoned that the Civil War would’ve been avoided had there been bowling centers both north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line. He knew that a nation that cares about dead wood could not be a nation divided.

But the bowling industry is now beleaguered. Somehow, the most family-friendly activity out there is no longer favored by families.

America has lost its way.

Over the last 30 years, one-third of bowling centers have shuttered. AMF Bowling, the world’s largest bowling center operator, has filed for bankruptcy twice since 2001.

Bowling centers are in a tough position. They take up a lot of real estate – which means high rents – and they’re trying to reinvent themselves. To attract a younger-adult crowd, they have turned the facilities into mini-nightclubs, trying to get hip with loud music, laser tag and trendy bar food.

With all that, the price of bowling has gone up; as a rule, a pack of cigarettes should not be cheaper than a game of bowling.

Well, it’s time to stop the Lucky Strike/Bowlero coalescence of our once-cherished bowling alleys.

I want to fill our bowling alleys again with affordable frames. I want to return bowling to its blue-collar roots.

Speaking of which, let’s talk laundry!

There are nearly 30,000 coin-operated laundries in these United States.

Clean clothes are the backbone of this country and have been ever since George Washington crossed the icy Delaware River on Dec. 25, 1776 with nothing more than a battle-fatigued army battalion and a freshly laundered sweater vest.

But the thing is, nobody likes doing laundry, particularly when you can’t do it at home.

The first time I moved out of my parents’ house, during college, I so hated going to the laundromat – man, you’re always looking for quarters – I just ended up piling my clothes into a duffel bag, taking them back to my mother and telling her, “You brought me into this world on a Sunday, now you’re gonna do my laundry every Sunday.”

Alas, much of America lives in garden apartments, with no washer-dryers in unit, and most trudge out with Ultra Tide in hand. Then it’s a waiting game – first for the washer, then for the dryer, all the while trying to find a way to pass the time during this dreary chore.


Why not introduce bowling center-laundromats?

There’s enough space in bowling alleys for lanes and laundry, plus air hockey!

Combining the joylessness of laundry with the joy of bowling, suddenly separating your colors from your whites will be energizing.

Throw a strike, presoak your delicates.

Pick up a spare, check the spin cycle.

Rock ‘n Bowl? No. Let’s Rinse ‘n Bowl! The beer frame could be the beer-and-bleach frame!!!

I am reminded of a wonderful event I attended last year, when my friends Gail and Dave Sell celebrated their son Noah’s Bar Mitzvah in Cherry Hill, N.J. The reception was held in a bowling alley; oh my goodness – does it get any better than brisket-and-bowling?

The only thing that could’ve made it finer is if I were able to fluff-and-fold my travel wear as I bowled in celebration of Noah. And, Judaism-wise, if Noah were now a man, what better way to truly reflect the responsibilities of manhood than picking out your own bowling ball and doing your own laundry?

Ask The Slouch

Q: Bryce Harper was recently ejected from a game after striking out, then blamed his pregame playlist of Chance the Rapper for getting him too jacked up. Would you suggest he switch to Sinatra? (Jim O’Brien; Racine, Wis.)

A: SiriusXM Channel 71.

Q: The newspaper where I read your column didn’t say you were on vacation; instead, it said “Norman Chad is away.” Where did you go? (Don Pollins; Hyattsville, Md.)

To a pinball arcade on a South Pacific island just beyond the sound of Stephen A. Smith’s voice.

Q: Colin Kaepernick has an 88.9 career passer rating – is it possible there are 64 better quarterbacks in the NFL? (Sean Sullivan; Redondo Beach, Calif.)

A: It is possible he has been African-American balled.

Q: Just a couple of updates while you were away – Wall Street continues to push the Dallas Cowboys’ team law firm as a “buy” stock and budget issues caused the cancellation of the first annual Chris Christie beach volleyball tournament. (Terry Golden; Vienna, Va.)

A: Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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