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The bars are boring. Parties reek with COVID-19. What else is there to do in Maryville? After months of craving some excitement, I finally discovered the cure for the Maryville blues — bowling. 

I’d already opted out of the usual social scene Friday night when I received a surprising text, “Want to go bowling?” 

I didn’t know at the time, but that text would lead to a rather soul-healing experience. 

It only took me about 15 minutes to find the perfect ball. Thankfully, they aren’t labeled in any way to make the process more of an adventure. I slipped my fingers into the greasy holes and let her fly. The sound of the ball tumbling down the lane filled me with a welcomed burst of nostalgia, but I wouldn’t get to experience the clatter of pins until my friend bowled next. 

I was about to take another turn when the stale fluorescent lighting switched to black lights; it was party time. The strobe of the neon lights combined with the twangs of country music really set the mood — I had always wanted to experience a creepy, cowboy space disco in a bowling alley. The cosmic combination must be the key because my next bowl was a strike. The pins scattered, and euphoria rushed through me. 

This, I thought, is what I’ve been missing. I couldn’t believe how much we were enjoying ourselves. Since that night, we’ve been hooked, choosing the bowling alley over the bars. Maryville is officially so boring that bowling is fun again, and Bearcat Lanes is officially the place to be. 

Next time you find yourself stricken with small-town boredom, tell your friends to grab their balls; we’re going bowling.

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