For 35 years, Fort Benning’s bowling center has partnered with Faith Middle School each year to offer bowling as part of the physical education curriculum. Buses transport the students to the Family Entertainment Center on Main Post, where they bowl for nearly an hour each day for 12 sessions.
“The students love it,” said Angie Cotton, principal of Faith.
“They thoroughly enjoy it, but they’re getting more out of it than just playing the game. They have to apply the math and problem-solving skills and the techniques they learn in the classroom.”
Tracy Locklear, who manages the FEC and the Mall Bowling Center on Marne Road, said bowling is one of the few sports that actively engages all ages and fitness levels. “You don’t see many 50- or 60-year-olds playing soccer or football, but you see them bowling every night of the week. This is a sport you can enjoy at any age,” she said.
“And it’s affordable — you don’t need a lot of gear. You can bowl in a league, with your family or friends.”
Locklear said studies show bowling develops self-esteem and team skills.
“That’s why I encourage parents to start children early. It’s one of the few sports that doesn’t involve a lot of variables — there’s no one out on the lane running interference. It’s just you and a ball and 10 pins,” she said. “The ball may hit the gutter the first time, but it doesn’t take long to figure out what you need to do to knock down a few pins. You keep trying, you learn from your mistakes, and eventually you experience success. That’s a great lesson for a 4-year-old or a 14-year-old.”
Fort Benning bowling facilities, operated by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, offer specials and discounts regularly.
The Mall Bowling Center also hosts a Kids’ Club and a bowling coach, who is available for private lessons.
As with all MWR facilities, bowling centers on post keep their prices at least 20 percent below off-post bowling alleys.
The going rate, per game, on Fort Benning is $2.75 for adults and $2.45 for children. Off post, the average price per game starts at $4.20.
To learn more about the bowling centers, recreation on Fort Benning and regularly scheduled discounts, go to benningmwr.com.