Mira Mesa Lanes provides a relaxing bowling sanctuary

Mira Mesa Lanes provides a relaxing bowling sanctuary

By Colleen McNatt

(Mira Mesa) In bowling, there are certain etiquette and rules to abide by when attempting to play this centuries-old sport.

So it is at Mira Mesa Lanes, 8210 Mira Mesa Blvd. – one of the few remaining bowling alleys in the entire county.

A bowling alley is not a free-for-all field like at the neighborhood park, but it is a family-friendly sanctuary where people can gather for fun or competitive sport. It gets pretty intense when school groups visit the bowling center: kids sprinkled throughout the lanes, balls dropping in the wrong places. Once you learn the do’s and don’ts of bowling, muscle memory kicks in, rules are followed and players become hooked.

Saturdays are the busiest days at Mira Mesa Lanes. Youth bowlers ages 3-17 occupy the property in the morning and formal leagues started again in September. The Junior Elite programs offer competition, comradery and college scholarships. Adult leagues are the bread and butter at Mira Mesa Lanes, with 21 teams currently registered. This is at reduced capacity since the bowling alley is not open until 1 p.m. due to COVID-19 restrictions and staffing challenges.

A new generation of bowling enthusiasts include students from UCSD, mostly from word-of-mouth. Local military families visit Mira Mesa Lanes in large turnouts, many with their own gear, and dominate with their bowling experience from other deployments. “Cosmic bowling,” with strobe lights and old school disco balls bring an influx of customers on the weekends.

Bowling alleys are an endangered entity. Mira Mesa Lanes is now the only full-scale bowling center within San Diego city limits – with 44 lanes. Real estate offers shuttered Poway Fun Bowl and Kearny Mesa Bowl during the pandemic. Mira Mesa Lanes, then a sister entity with Kearny Mesa Bowl, was facing closure before pro bowler Missy Parkin, her husband Drew and a silent investor saved the 50-year-old mainstay. The Parkins live in Orange County. Drew visits the center often throughout the week. Missy travels on the Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) tour and is one of the world’s top seeds. Their three-year-old son has already visited 29 different states as his mother competes on the PWBA circuit.

But you don’t have to be a pro to check out a bowling center. Gutter balls, in which the bowling ball misses any pins and travels down the side, are okay and accepted. For novices, there is even a group at Mira Mesa Lanes called “Lousy Bowlers.”