EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — At age 70, James Ratliff Sr., of Pleasantville, says he’s going to keep on bowling.
“My goal is to bowl as long as I can and encourage others to bowl,” said Ratliff, a bowler in the Atlantic City area since 1972. “I enjoy this sport because it’s very competitive, and it allows me to be myself while I’m on the lanes.”
Ratliff is among 69 million people who bowl nationwide, according to the U.S. Bowling Congress.
The sport of bowling is recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Bowling is a sport that spans generations, often with older family passing along the sport to children and grandchildren.
It’s unknown exactly when bowling started, but one British anthropologist found in the 1930s objects inside a child’s grave in Egypt that appeared to have been used for a form of bowling, according to the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame. If he was correct, the origin of bowling dates to 3200 BC.
Bowlers can compete in leagues and tournaments affiliated with the USBC.
There are 15 chartered bowling associations in New Jersey affiliated with the USBC, according to the New Jersey State USBC Bowling Association.
The Southern Jersey Shore USBC covers Atlantic, Cape May and part of Cumberland Counties.
Six bowling alleys are affiliated with it, including King Pin Bowling, Strike Zone Lanes, DiDonato Family Fun Center, Island Bowl, Mouse Trap Lanes and Campani’s Legacy Lanes.
There are four alleys in the Ocean County Bowling Association.
The Showboat Casino Hotel’s bowling alley closed in 2014, and Loyle Lanes in Vineland was destroyed by an arson fire January 2010.