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The Penn Law Bowling League

March 11, 2018

Reid Hopkins L’19 tells you about a well-kept secret at the Law School - the Penn Bowling League!

Howdy, and congratulations on being admitted to Penn Law! My name is Reid Hopkins; I’m a 2L and a native of Houston, TX, and I think you should make the right choice and come to school here. I only get a short post to convince you, so I’m supposed to stick to just one topic. I thought of telling you about the constitutional law class I teach at a local high school every week through the Penn Law Youth Education Program, but the honest truth is that every law school you’re considering will give you meaningful opportunities to give back to the surrounding community. Then I thought about telling you about how I’m pursuing an M.A. in Philosophy (and still graduating in three years) because Penn genuinely does it make it easy to pursue joint degrees or certificates in other fields. But you’ve probably heard about our cross-disciplinary focus, and all the information you can handle about that is available on the admissions page. So, instead, I’m going to focus on a truly unique institution (among law schools, anyway) that you probably haven’t heard of yet: the Penn Law Bowling League.

I know what you’re (almost definitely) thinking: “Oh…I’m not great at bowling. This might not be for me.” Don’t worry, because almost all of us aren’t, either! Of the 64 bowling league members, most average scores are somewhere between 90 and 120, quite a few are somewhere in the 60–90 range, and just a handful of folks average better than a 125. It’s not about bowling well; it’s about having a good time with a great group of people.

After many decades at the now-defunct West Philly bowling alley Gheris Lanes (R.I.P.), the league recently moved to South Bowl, a classy establishment with cheap pitchers, scrumptious pizza and tater tots, and excellent musical taste. Every Wednesday we take over 16 lanes for a couple hours, let loose with some low-stress competition, enjoy the company of our teammates and friends from every class at the law school, and celebrate our successful rolls with high fives and victory dances. No matter what else happens in a week, PLBL members know they can look forward to Wednesday nights.

To me, the bowling league says a lot about who we are at Penn Law. Yes, we study, but we also don’t forget to enjoy ourselves. Many of Penn Law’s most successful students (editors-in-chief and board members of the Law Review and other journals, moot court champions, circuit court clerks…you name it), past and present, are part of the PLBL family. You’re a better student when you’re a happy person, and that concept comes through in everything we do here. The bowling league is just one reflection of that ethos. The Penn Law Light Opera Company has put on a full-length Broadway musical every year for more than four decades. The school subsidizes a ski trip and sends five teams to play in an out-of-town softball tournament. Every spring we have a student art exhibition. The Penn Law Hockey Team plays Wharton twice a year and our best boxers square off against Wharton at Fight Night every March. I could very easily go on. Talk to any Penn Law student, and they’ll tell you about the student groups and events that have made their law school experience special.

So, there you go, I just gushed about this school for six hundred words without breaking a sweat. If that’s the type of experience you want, then come to Penn Law, and maybe I’ll see you on the lanes.

Reid Hopkins, L’19