Unfiltered: Matt Guinta on Detroit's Bowling Boosters
Casual conversation with people sometimes leads to the best revelations. A few months back, I ran into Matt Guinta at a meeting downtown, and he mentioned how his friends got together in Detroit every week to go bowling.
I adored the idea of this gang of young professionals hitting the lanes to talk about job leads, city politics, new hangouts and whatever else was top of mind. Guinta, an architect by training, said the venue – the legendary Garden Bowl – has provided to be the perfect backdrop to this unexpected yet completely natural group of people.
They bash Bing. They chat about Corktown. They plan meet ups at the River Walk. It is what living, working and playing in the D is all about.
My favorite line:
We love our city ... Most places we would just be Yuppies, but somehow, in Detroit we are crusaders.
Where Detroit's Fan Club Bowls
By Matt Guinta
Two years ago, I graduated university and took a summer hiatus from my fair city of Detroit. I came back, got a job, lost a job, but in the middle of this, I took up bowling.
Every Wednesday night, our bowling league meets.
We call ourselves the Pin-Ups, an eclectic and active group of many ages. More than just “Scene-sters,” we work on a grass-roots level with much influence: We independently organize, participate, and are a part of the social and professional reclamation movement of this urban society.
During the day time we are public servicemen and women, lawyers, doctors, urban planners, architects, bartenders, CPAs, musicians and a slew of other titles. It is my belief that we represent a piece of Detroit's Booster Class.
Naturally, we would have a bowling league. It's our meeting of the minds. Here we find out what's going on, who's playing where and even what bar could use a little extra patronage, in attempt to rescue from insolvency. We love our city – even with the grit. We live for its 5k races, art shows, festivals and professional societies. Most places we would just be Yuppies, but somehow, in Detroit we are crusaders.
Our banter goes something like this:
“On May 1st, we're doing Clean the D, you want to come?” says the planner, that is, after we hear of her one-of-a-kind Opening Day party complete with customized t-Shirts. To the under-employed architects, “The AIA (American Institute of Architects) is having a Portfolio Event on April 17, it's cheap, you should come... and have you heard of more lay-offs?” The other says “No, but I think they may hire one person – talk to HR.” Or the music-philes “Are you going to OK-GO” “No, but I am thinking about MGMT. Did you hear GOOBER AND THE PEAS this winter?” followed by “Although we may plan on a trip to the Motor City Brewing Works instead for some birthday libations. Better yet, we should go after bowling.” And the business owners, "Mayor Bing is all business, but we still need some PASSION and CHARISMA in our city,”... and completely unrelated: “You worked at the same summer camp, Philmont? Really, I was there in 2003 also...”
And it's no coincidence; we meet up at many of the said events and our past path have paralleled and crossed many times before. Our social calendars are forever filled. Spontaneously, we'll find each others' clans at Detroit's Dirty Show or the Corktown Parade. We spread the word of the great things.
We can even find like-minded people to discuss the new light rail plan for Woodward, or how much we love the River Walk and all the life that has congregated there. Or even the lady with the munchies at McDonalds last week (although we don't focus on that). City politics, for the residents and business owners. And yet, just the simple pleasures of new friends and a whiskey and water. I have yet to meet one naysayer about the Boll Family YMCA. And if there was, they would chime-in with the rest of us.
Our league's eclecticism is only surpassed by that of our meeting hall: Garden Bowl. A part of the Majestic Entertainment Complex, our alley has something for everyone: A rock/aerobics stage over the center four lanes, two great eateries, a bar that rivals the cities best watering holes, multiple music venues and at the end of the day, it still is America's Oldest Running Bowling alley.
Now, to the point, Garden Bowl and the Majestic Entertainment Complex inspires us. We boosters are proud that we bowl at something 94 years old rather than some vanilla franchise. It is as original as the neighborhood and city that it inhabits, but then again, it is the city that inhabits Garden Bowl.
I am so glad to be Detroit.