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The Right Approach...Views on the world of bowling.

Volume 3, Issue 2, The 106th Edition
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez

      What are you doing on Sunday evenings this fall? Sure, many of you might be watching the baseball playoffs and the World Series, but there's something on NBC that should have you switching the channel during commercials and pitcher warmups, and after baseball is over, I'm betting you'll be looking forward to the end of the weekend.

      In only three airings, I think NBC's new hit show Ed has done more for the image of bowling than just about everything else I've witnessed in the last ten years combined. Given my track record for liking shows that go quickly off the air, you'll understand my concern for waiting a few weeks before weighing in.

      It's a cute little show about a bunch of people in a small town. The main character, Ed, has returned to his hometown from New York City with his law degree after a series of personal crises in pursuit of his high school crush. While there, he impulsively buys the floundering Stuckey Bowl, and sets up his law practice in the pro shop.

      The writing and dialogue is incredible--that alone would make me watch. But what I like about the show is that they seem to spend half the time in the center, which ends up being half an hour of positive PR for a sport that seems to be the red-headed stepchild of the sports world (no offense to red heads or stepchildren implied).

      Many people in the industry seem concerned about the fact the characters refer to Stuckey Bowl as an "alley." Let's face it, folks in the real world STILL call it that. All the bemoaning in the world won't change it. And if you look at Stuckey Bowl, it is an alley--with all the old-world charm that is lacking in the modern, sterile recreation centers of today. But the main characters are college-educated professionals--a doctor, a lawyer, and high school teachers, and the rest of the characters are charming in a quirky way. And they spend their free time in their friend's bowling alley. Even one of Stuckey Bowl's employees is a pediatric nurse. That should go a long way towards disspelling that notion of the level of education of bowlers and bowling center employees.

      The fact they're not beating everyone over the head with what bowling is, or what bowling should be, scores points. This isn't the place for bowling propaganda--let the bowling organizations do that. The characters meet up in Stuckey Bowl and the characters go bowling. They may enjoy a beer with their recreation, but there's no smoke cloud hanging over their heads and the characters are mostly thirtysomethings--an age group that's lacking in force in both leagues and open bowling.

      If the early ratings keep up, it's bound to mean more traffic for bowling centers. And when people do come in and see that their local centers are not lost in the 1950s, they'll be pleasantly surprised. And hopefully they'll be back. And as long as they enjoy themselves and want to return, I don't care what they call the place--a center or an alley.

      I know where I'm spending my Sunday nights this season. I'll save some popcorn for you.

      Ed airs every Sunday evening on NBC at 8 pm ET, check local listings for exact times.

Gotta Split,


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