What once was a big, big local attraction for recreation among men, women and children in and around New Iberia has gone the way of a few other long-time businesses in the heart of the Teche Area.

Bayou Pins closed its doors for the last time at midnight Feb. 24. The local bowling center, which attracted generations of bowlers during  various ownerships and one major change in location over the past several decades, is no more.

Gregory and Ginger Melancon, the bowling center’s owners, said on social media they were as sad to see it go as the rest of us who remember the hey-day of bowling here. On Facebook, they thanked bowlers for  supporting the house for the past six years under their ownership. And they apologized to the bowling center’s patrons, particularly the league bowlers who stayed to the end.

The Melancons cited on the page, which was scheduled to be taken down, that recent electrical and mechanical problems became too costly to rectify. They said they didn’t want to dwell on any negatives.

The owners also said they took over the bowling center to keep to keep bowling alive locally when they got it in 2012.

But six years ago the bowling industry already was in a tell-tale spiral. From 1998 to 2013, the number of bowling alleys in the country dropped from 5,400 to 3,976, according to Brandon[Gaille], Marketing Expert.

The marketing analyst also noted that although the number of people who say they go bowling increased by 10-percent, the number of people who join leagues at a bowling alley dropped 40-percent by 2016. “League members paid for lane time week after week. Occasional bowlers brought in less money over the long haul,” according to Bloomberg, which reports on business and markets news, data and analysis.

Also, the census of certified league membership declined by an average of 5- to 6-percent annually over the past decade, the report said.

The report also noted older bowling centers were less attractive to young people. 

Plus, in the age of Smartphones, modern video games, etc., it isn’t surprising to me that fewer and fewer boys and girls picked up a bowling ball, faced those 10 pins and rolled.

I am sorry to see the bowling alley close. I started bowling here in 1976, in a league and for fun with family and friends, and met so many great people and skilled bowlers, like Dickie Broussard, a retired Daily Iberian employee who still writes a bowling column for The Daily Iberian.

Four knee surgeries and an operation on a damaged right shoulder eventually shut down my appearances to the right and left of the ball rack, gloved right (or left) hand at the ready and cupping a bowling ball ready to approach and deliver. There’s a thrill in that and satisfaction in a well-placed roll and follow-through.

The local bowling center has rolled its final frame. 

DON SHOOPMAN

SENIOR NEWS EDITOR

 

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