Life in lockdown is not healthy. All that comfort food hoarded and binged on during those days and nights spent at home may have brought, well, comfort. It also brought on the pounds.
The renowned medical website “WebMD” jokingly refers to this dilemma as the “Quarantine 15.”
Doug Davidson has one word for this dilemma — and he is not joking because a lockdown weight gain is no joking matter.
Davidson’s word is “bowling.”
It is not surprising that Davidson would suggest bowling. He is VP of operations for MaxBowl, the family-owned, family-focused, state-of-the-art entertainment center located on Wilson Road just south of Will Clayton Parkway in Humble that is celebrated its 20th anniversary in September.
“Not many people know this, but bowling is good exercise,” Davidson said. “One hour of bowling burns off up to 300 calories for the average person, according to the Mayo Clinic.”
Davidson knows what he is talking about. He earned his master’s degree in physical education from Lamar University and coached and taught for years before moving into the oil and gas business, then selling project management/security software.
“All that traveling was getting old when my daughter, Brittney, asked me to take over management of the two bowling locations,” Davidson said. “She needed to spend more time raising my grandkids. I was ready to settle down.”
Fourteen years later, Davidson manages three MaxBowls, in Humble, Baytown and Port Arthur. He is certified by The Bowling Foundation’s School for Bowling Center Management and obtained a Birthday University master’s degree.
Ever the phys-ed teacher, Davidson pointed out all the health benefits of the top participation sport in the U.S.
The Bowling Proprietors Association says the typical bowler uses 134 muscles during a game. All that swinging, flexing, bending and stretching speeds up anyone’s metabolism, tones those muscles, can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, improves circulation, and lowers the risk of stroke, heart attack and diabetes.
Davidson pointed out that bowlers throw the ball up to 21 times each game. That is lifting a 6- to 16-pound weight each time.
MaxBowl is a true family operation. Son-in-law Max Tribble, now a partner with Susman Godfrey law firm, grew up in the bowling business. His parents were bowling entrepreneurs, partnering in 10 centers throughout Houston. When his dad died, Tribble inherited the one remaining center in Baytown. His mom, Betty, was the longtime bookkeeper before turning the operations over to Brittney. Now 93, Betty is still active and still paying attention to the operation.
“We converted our Port Arthur location to a family entertainment center,” said Davidson. “The transformation was so amazing that we expanded our Baytown center, then remodeled MaxBowl Humble.”
The Humble center is not just a bowling alley. It is a true entertainment complex — 43,000 square feet of 32 hi-tech bowling lanes, video arcade, two-story laser tag arena, skywalk ropes course and, of course, a full-service bar and grill.
“There is a big misconception about bowling. Dark, dingy, smoky environment filled with league bowlers,” said Davidson. “Those days are over. Yes, we have league bowlers, but families visit, too, and day cares, churches, schools and businesspeople. All enjoy a bright, clean and very family-friendly atmosphere.”
Since MaxBowl hosts lots of birthday parties, Davidson definitely hosted quite a 20th birthday party for the Humble location.
“We celebrated it all month; be sure to keep a lookout on our social media page for important events and exclusive offers,” he said. “Our fall leagues are starting up again, six days a week, and youth league on Saturday. And we’re hosting no-tap tournaments on weekends for those who are just learning the joys of bowling.”
COVID-19 has changed how MaxBowl does business.
“Like so many other businesses, COVID-19 hit us hard, but the folks who visit us are not our customers, they’re our guests and that’s how we take care of them,” Davidson said. “Our guests have told me how impressed they are with our employees. Once a group has left, our employees are there wiping down the lanes, all the high-touch objects, getting ready for the next group.”
There is a list of promises that Davidson and his staff follow: Safe sanitation and hygiene practices from all employees who receive a health check prior to each shift; abundant hand sanitizers; constant sanitizing of all equipment and high-touch objects; and adhering to all health standards. Davidson also asks his guests to follow social distancing and sanitary guidelines and wear a mask.
“We want our guests to feel safe and comfortable,” Davidson said. “We want them to have a memorable experience, whether it is bowling a 300 game or a simple birthday party. Both experiences put a smile on everybody’s face.”
His most memorable experience was just last year when the Kingwood Bowling Club won the state championship.
“We’re proud to sponsor high school bowling and, if it weren’t for COVID-19 canceling the state tournament, I think Kingwood had a great chance at winning the state title again,” he said.
COVID-19 precautions are not the only updates to MaxBowl Humble.
“We have two of the latest models of virtual reality games, an updated menu, and tray kiosks offering contactless food ordering for all our patrons,” Davidson said.
Always looking ahead, Davidson has his eye on land next door to the Humble center that would be perfect for some outdoor entertainment like the go-cart venue in Baytown.
Help MaxBowl celebrate its 20th anniversary — and maybe lose a few of those “Quarantine 15” pounds gained since March.
Visit maxbowl.com and “friend” them on Facebook at MaxBowl-Humble.