Bowling for Fun and Togetherness — Shocking!

Imagine a place where people of all ages put down their cellphones for an hour or two

The new year can bring new opportunities for both individuals and families to expand their horizons.

Family hobbies can be a great way to evolve and deepen relationships. If you’re looking for something different in 2017 that doesn’t involve screen time and is easy to adopt, you might want to try bowling — or, as the case may be, rediscover bowling.

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“Bowling today is for everyone, no matter the age or expertise in the sport. It brings people together, whether it’s through teamwork or fierce competition. Above all, it adds an interactive element that makes it a truly unique experience,” Samantha Bevacqua, marketing manager at Bowlmor AMF — a company with bowling lanes across the country — told LifeZette.

In an attempt to capture the “try new things” spirit that comes along with any new year, Bowlmor AMF is running specials to kick off 2017. On Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, the company is offering special daytime and nighttime packages that make it easier and more enticing for families to play a few rounds affordably — and to share some laughs and snacks in a stress-free environment.

Through Jan. 3, the company is also donating $1 for every select food or drink item sold to Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief program. The donations are part of the company’s annual Jingle Bowl charity initiative.

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Bowling may seem like a sport for the modern day — but it’s reportedly been around since ancient Egyptian times and was popular in ancient Rome. Pins could be made of husks of grain or leather, and bowling balls could be porcelain or plastic. Over time, the activity became a betting sport, with countries passing laws to limit the amount of money wagered on matches.

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Bowling was long considered an outdoor sport, played at parties on hosts’ lawns. The first indoor bowling lane opened in New York City on Jan. 1 in 1840 — it was called Knickerbocker Alleys. Hugely popular throughout the 1950s and ’60s, the sport dipped a bit in recent decades but has since been picking up again — and if you haven’t been to a bowling alley in a while, you’re in for a surprise. The decor, the music, the lights all contribute to a far more festive and entertaining venue.

It’s a sport with national leagues and drafts, but also a wonderfully simple platform. It’s easy for people of virtually all ages to pick up a ball, slip on a pair of bowling shoes — and get going. It’s perhaps one of the more inclusive sports. After all, even The Dude from “The Big Lebowski” was a bowler.

“Bowling has become more than just a sport,” said Bevacqua. “It has become a destination for entertainment — whether it is for a date, a family gathering, or a night out with friends.”

People of all ages, all shapes, all classes, all walks of life can be found at the nation’s bowling alleys. Men with local leagues that are excuses for weekly get-togethers, families needing a way to get everyone away from their phones and within a small radius of each other, moms or dads who enjoy a night out together — anyone can bowl. If there was a time to try to sling that ball down that shiny lane and see if you have what it takes, why not let New Year’s be your excuse?

Related: The New Year’s Goal I Aim to Achieve

The appeal of bowling goes far beyond the pins and slick lanes. “Bowling is more than just getting a strike. It’s about bringing families, friends, coworkers, and loved ones together on a day or a night out,” said Bevacqua.

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