Bowling for WHAT?
I have a hobby. I bowl in a league.
Somehow, I can never get a good reaction to this statement. I tell people I’m a league bowler, and they look at me as if they expect a mullet to sprout from my head any minute. It’s like the epitome of redneckhood. I feel the need to justify myself – “it’s a fun sport”, “you know, it’s a mental game”. Or, as Mr. Crush once put it, “I’ve bowled with doctors and lawyers” (personally, I haven’t, but I’ve bowled with a heckuva lot of programmers!)
I tried bowling in ’99 and got instantly hooked. My first game, I bowled a 16. That’s right, sixteen pins. I have improved since then. For the first year, I practiced at least twice a week. Then, my friend and I joined a mixed couples league.
I remember sitting with a group of people, including my friend and Mr. Crush, and my friend going on and on about how he was teaching me to bowl, and we would join the league soon, and we’d beat everybody because of my low average. My friend then proceeded to say to Mr. Crush, “and then, she’ll beat you”. I thought it was a bit over the top, seeing as Mr. Crush bowled seven times a week and carried a 220+ average.
Mr. Crush said to me, “Some people, you can never win”.
I remember getting this feeling from the tone of his voice that he didn’t exactly mean bowling. I reacted accordingly, by looking pissed and saying something vague. But the real meaning of what he’d said didn’t hit me until I got home that night. And when that happened, I was livid!
Fast forward a few months, we join a mixed couples league and Mr. Crush is there too. I hadn’t counted on that, and didn’t want to be on the same league with Mr. Crush. I was deadly afraid that he would make fun of me.
So, I kept practicing. I read books on bowling and worked on my technique. I spent tons of time and money on improving my game. My average shot up. And, finally, the day came when our team bowled against Mr. Crush’s and killed them. Not only did we take all seven points, I actually beat the guy. He bowled a 180; I had a 184. Poor Mr. Crush looked terrible. He hated losing. He had this Eric Cartman attitude when it came to winning and losing in sports. Very strange. I said something nice to make him feel better. In response, he said something about shoving a ball up my ass.
I swear. He really did.
It felt good. Revenge is sweet. Mr. Crush hadn’t been so nice to me during my unfortunate crush. That night, I got back at him. Four months later, when our team won the season, I got back at him again.
I stayed on that league for four years and made a few good friends. I showed Mr. Goldie how to bowl, and he picked it up right away. With a couple of friends, we joined another league. In my first league, my friend quit and Mr. Goldie took his place. His average is now in the 160s, mine is in the 140s. I think mine could be higher, but a strange thing happened. Somewhere along the line, bowling has lost its charm for me. I don’t want to practice anymore; I’d rather have my teeth pulled than read a book on bowling; I even quit one of my leagues, because I couldn’t stand being away from my kids two nights a week.
So we only bowl on Mondays now, with this other couple. It works great for our marriage. We talk about bowling. A lot. Last Christmas, Mr. Goldie gave me a brand new ball with a hook quotient of 140 (that means the ball can really hook) and a bag on wheels to hold two balls. We have a good relationship with the other couple. I like the way this has been working out.
Tonight, Mr. Goldie and the other couple are going practicing. See, next Monday is position week, and we're in second place. If we take all seven, we win the second half. If that happens, then we stay after everyone else has left, and bowl in the finals. The guys are all pumped up to win. They say it’s not fair that I have a trophy and they don’t. I try to tell them that trophies are overrated, and a trophy will make you feel great for exactly five and a half seconds, but they don’t want to listen. They want to win. So, come Monday, I better bowl good. And I cannot even go practice, because it will be late at night, and the kids and I have to get up early tomorrow.
Please cross your fingers for me next Monday night. I don’t want to let my team down, and neither would you if you were married to one of your teammates.
I just know that, with the blogosphere’s support, I can do it.