11 Things You Should Never, Ever Do In A Bowling Alley

by Grace Eire
Grace plays in a band and is the mother to a black cat named Fitzhugh.

Whether you’re a top-tier bowler or you need the kiddie bumpers to get a score higher than zero, heading to the bowling alley is always a good time.

For those who go bowling for fun as opposed to the pure, unadulterated sport of it, it’s really all about connecting with family and friends, having a few cheat-day snacks, and getting out of the house for a few hours. Maybe you’ll get a strike or a spare, and everyone will cheer and shout for you. Man, this makes me want to go bowling right now!

However, there are some things that you should absolutely never do in a bowling alley.

Think of all the people that have worn those rental shoes and sweat in them.

Think of all the hands that have touched those balls each and every day. Think of the powerful machinery of the ball-returning equipment so close to your fingertips.

To keep family bowling fun and safe, avoid these 11 things at all costs!

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Thumbnail source: Wikimedia Commons / FDA graphic by Michael J. Ermarth

1. Forget Or Forgo Socks

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Always remember to wear socks — thick, absorbent socks — to a bowling alley. Even if you arrive in sandals, put them on! Never slip those shoes on without a pair.

According to Dr. Thomas F. Vail, bowling alley shoes could very well be a host to many bacteria and fungi that can cause warts and athlete’s foot. If you’re extra worried and really love bowling, you may want to invest in your own pair of shoes!

2. Ignore The Right Of Way

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Just like driving, bowling has a right of way as well. The person who’s bowling on the lane to the right always gets the first go. This avoids any distraction or conflict during the game.

3. Be Vulgar

tips to bowling
Grace Eire

Unless you are in a bowling alley that is exclusively for adults, it’s common courtesy to keep the cussing and the vulgarities out. Children have birthday parties and afternoons out with friends and family at bowling alleys all the time, and parents don’t want their kids exposed to bad language when they’re trying to have good, clean family fun.

4. Eat At The Lane

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There are tables away from the lanes for a reason, and that reason is that spillage can be a big issue! Sure, snacking is great, but you should keep it confined to the tables behind the lanes, not in the little area where bowlers wait for their turn. If you spill, someone could slip and fall!

Also, think about how your fingers have been all over the communal bowling balls. You might just want to finish eating before you resume bowling.

5. Touch Your Face

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Look, the fact of the matter is that there is no way to clean each and every ball thoroughly on a daily basis.

According to a bowling alley employee, his facility only cleaned the finger holes a couple of times a year with disinfectant. While a little bit of germs won’t kill you, just try not to touch your face, eyes, or mouth. Like in most public places, you’ll want to wash your hands before letting them come in contact with your face.

6. Pick A Ball That's Too Heavy

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Lifting too much weight, in any situation, poses major risks. You can give yourself a hernia, a spinal injury, or something as simple as a pulled muscle that will inhibit your movement for a day or even longer. Know your limits, and don’t try to show off with the heft of your bowling ball. Make sure you’re lifting whatever weight you have correctly, with your legs, or else you can injure yourself.

Plus, if you try to bowl with a ball that’s too heavy, you won’t be as accurate, and your score will definitely not be as good!

7. Cross The Line Onto The Lane

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Bowling lanes are very well greased for the ball to make it down to the pins in just the right way. If you step onto the lane, you could, and most likely will, slip and fall right onto your behind. Not only would this be embarrassing, but you might hurt yourself.

Also, if you track grease around the bowling alley, it will create another chore for the employees to clean up once you’ve left.

8. Get Impatient With The Ball Return

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If you get too eager to reach for your favorite ball, then you could end up with a smashed finger. Those balls come up that chute fast, whether you like it or not.

If you try to snatch one up before it’s come to a stop, you might end up with your finger getting right in between two heavy bowling balls. Ouch! It’s better to be patient.

9. Leave A Mess

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Be kind to the bowling alley employees and clean up all your snacks and beverages once you’re done. Also, return your shoes to the counter instead of leaving them in a pile at your lane.

They’ve got enough to worry about without cleaning up after you. Besides, wouldn’t you rather keep the wheels of kindness turning?

10. Bowl With Long Fingernails

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Speaking from personal experience, bowling with long fingernails, especially thumbnails, only ends in a painful broken nail. If you’re bowling with longer nails, maybe try to find a new technique for holding the ball that doesn’t require you to stick your fingers into the holes. Save yourself the pain!

11. Get Embarrassed

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Look, not everyone is a professional bowler. It’s totally OK if you assume an unconventional technique, like the granny roll, to play your best game and have fun. Unless, of course, you’re endangering someone else by swinging the ball about, do whatever works for you, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

Did you know you should never do these things in a bowling alley? Please SHARE with family and friends on Facebook!