Metro Weekly

Capital Area Rainbowlers Association’s bowling leagues are open to all, regardless of experience

Interested in bowling? CARA's LGBTQ leagues are waiting.

Bowling — Photo: rawpixel/Unsplash

“I’ve been bowling since I was 10 years old,” says Les Johnson. “What I like about it is you meet different people every week, because you’ll bowl against a different team. It’s nice way to network socially.”

Johnson is the president of the Capital Area Rainbowlers Association — or CARA — which holds regular “social bowling night” events to introduce newcomers to the sport. The next one currently planned for December, but if you can’t wait that long to get into the game, try joining one of CARA’s leagues.

CARA runs six LGBTQ bowling leagues in the D.C. area, and they meet at four different bowling alleys in Northern Virginia. Four run from September through the end of April, while two others run from September to December and have a separate session from January through April. Leagues meet on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday, allowing participants to choose one that works best with their schedule.

“We’re open to everyone, and you can join any time of the year,” says Johnson. “You don’t have to have experience in order to bowl. Beginners are welcome, even in our more competitive leagues.”

Costs vary by league, but on average total about $20 per week. Participants also pay a one-time fee to become a member of the U.S. Bowling Congress, the governing body for recreational bowling. On the bright side, every person gets a chance to win some money back, as prizes are awarded for first through last place each season.

The level of competitiveness differs based on the league. “Some people are much more social about their bowling, and they’re not really concerned about how much they score,” says Johnson. “For others, it’s about practice and finding the right bowling equipment and repeating the same technique over and over again.

“Bowling’s all related to how you do against your average. The sport tries to reward all skill levels, regardless of where you are or how you start.”

To learn more about the Capital Area Rainbowlers Association and its fall/winter leagues, or to sign up for a league, visit

Leave a Comment:

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!