Because this is a pussified country that doesn’t believe in making kids go to school 24/7/365 until they turn 21, one of the challenges facing parents is trying to find things to keep their little
demons angels occupied on those days when they don’t need no education. Sure, you could tell them to go play out in the street, but that might get you arrested these days. Facebook and cellphones can keep a small mind in a small body occupied for hours these days, but what back in the day before technology ruined all of our lives? Was there anything clean and wholesome for kids to do that would keep them away from the egg frying dope dealers on the corner?
Why yes there was! Back in the mid 80’s, a group of bowling enthusiasts thought it would be a great idea to get kids to come out to their alleys for more than just the awesome arcade. For just $3.79, you could pawn your spawn off on the unsuspecting staff at your local bowling center on the weekend so they could have a good time wreaking havoc while you went out and got plastered. Super Bowlin’ Saturday was born!
Yes, that’s THE Mary Lou Retton shilling for Super Bowlin’ Saturday. For those of you who weren’t alive during the 1980’s, Mary Lou was the darling of the 1984 Summer Olympics, which was held right here in the good ol’ U. S. of A…. and knowing that there is absolutely no future in being a gymnastics pixie, she made damn sure to cash in as much as she could before she joined all those other Olympics stars in the dustbin of pop culture by the time the next Games rolled around in 1988.
While Super Bowlin’ Saturday was a noble effort to get kids hooked on bowling when they are the most impressionable, let’s look at this program realistically. Here are some stills taken directly from the ad… see if you can spot any kids bowling.
Nope, this looks just like those same stupid gimmicks baseball teams use to try to get kids to want to go to the ballpark. Enticing children with licensed garbage, treats, and ridiculous contests is one of the lowest forms of pandering for popularity from the apathetic crowd, and unless the toys are small enough for the kids to choke on, completely not worth the trouble. If you’re going to confine kids to a bowling alley for three hours and take their folks’ hard earned money, you better damn well be letting them do some bowling!
Hell, even when they do let the kids take to the lanes, there’s our flexible sweetheart strutting on the approach getting in the way of all the fun. Seriously, get the hell off the lanes and let the kids bowl, Mary Lou! You’re lucky Pete Weber wasn’t in the house.
I bowled in a youth league on Saturday mornings when I was a kid. My parents paid good money to pawn me off for a few hours to actually bowl three games… not play with action figures or try to win Rainbow Brite bicycles. And as a result, I grew to love bowling and still bowl in a league on Friday nights, helping to keep the flame of the game burning brightly. How many Super Bowlin’ Saturday alums are out there rolling a few frames these days? Probably not a damn one. They’re probably still playing with their cheesy SBS swag now that they’re in their 30’s.
Fun, prizes, refreshments, and possibly a chance at some point to pick up a house ball and chuck it down an alley with big plastic tubes blocking the gutters. That’s the Super Bowlin’ Saturday we knew and loved, and here at The Nest, we give a 7-10 split salute to the Mary Lou Retton endorsed weekly 80’s tradition that was the most fun kids aged 6-12 could have in three weekend hours down at their secondhand smoke-filled bowling center. You may not have caused more youth disinterest in bowling than the automated scoring revolution did, but you certainly shot a turkey when it came to turning a fun sport into a fucked up mess. Bowling may not be the popular activity it once was… but at least thanks to Super Bowlin’ Saturday, we taught an entire generation that the only way to have a good time was to be constantly distracted from the task at hand…