Saturday, May 26, 2018

Bowl On, Columbia, Bowl On

I am nothing if not consistent.  At least when it comes to bowling.

Lauren’s Community Marching Band (as distinct from the Local Businessman High School marching band that she also plays in) had one of its fundraiser events tonight.  Like all nonprofit organizations the CMB is nonprofit in every conceivable sense, which means that it is a constant race between raising money and going bankrupt.  I remember this cycle well from when I used to run the museum, so I am generally pretty sympathetic to fundraisers.

Tonight was the Bowl-a-Thon.  For a slightly greater than nominal amount of money (it was a fundraiser, after all) you could reserve a lane at one of our local bowling emporia and spend a quality evening taking out your aggressions on ten stoic pins by heaving a ball at them.  Win all around, I say.

I’ve always enjoyed bowling.  I realize that this is pretty definitive proof that I am Not Cool, but then I have never been cool – not even when I was young and cared – so I’m okay with that.  I do things that I enjoy, and I let others worry about cool. 

My dad would take my brother and me bowling when we were kids.  He was a pretty straight-line bowler.  It was something of a realization for me that you could get bowling balls to curve, once someone taught me how.  I still remember the first time I actually beat my dad bowling – he did not go easy on us, since that would take all the fun out of winning, but he wasn’t exactly PBA material so we always had at least a chance to win.  It’s a nice balance that way, one that I tried to replicate with my own kids.  You’ll have to ask them if I succeeded.

In high school I was captain of the bowling team for two of the four years I was on the team.  And let me tell you a more powerful “chick magnet” you will never find!  I tell you that, except that it wasn’t true.  We just liked to pretend that it was, as we were as big a collection of nerds as you would expect of the bowling team, and proud of it.  The one woman on the team would just roll her eyes at us when we said that, which was our signal to sit down and be quiet since she could have easily pounded the lot us into a pile of mush oozing out of our rented shoes, and that’s just not how you want to be remembered.

I had the lowest average of any captain in the Central League: 157. 

I did roll a few games over 200, though, and once I got as high as 232, but there’s a reason why those games stick out as much as they do.  They weren’t common.  Mostly I remember having fun no matter what the score was, which is all you can ask of an activity, I think.

I also learned that authority figures generally have No Sense Of Humor and will, for example, put on their deepest and darkest Frowning Faces if you try to keep score at a bowling match in Roman numerals.  Even if the other captain agrees to it!  It is a lesson that has stuck with me even to this day, though what practical use it has been I could not rightly say.

We got there tonight and it was a madhouse – crowded, loud, and full of people having fun and spending money, which is generally what you hope to see in a fundraising event.  Kim, Tabitha, Fran, and I were on Lane 1 (Lauren disappeared into the crowd with her friends the instant we got there) and we got in a pretty decent three games.  Everyone broke 100 at least once.

My average for the night?  158.


We also came home with Valuable Prizes, as they were pretty much constantly drawing winners from the bucket for door prizes, raffle prizes, silent auction items, and 50/50 raffles.  So win!  It’s nice to see that the community supports the CMB enough to donate such prizes.

One thing that has changed since my high school bowling career, though?  Back in the day, there was no need for ibuprofen afterward.


LucyInDisguise said...

Fun razors* are indeed worthy of the time and money parted with.

I used to love to bowl when I was in my teens. Was actually pretty good at. Consistently broke 225.

Then some smart-ass asked me "the Question".

๐Ÿ˜ก ๐Ÿ˜ข

(Be forewarned.)

All in good fun, you understand, but it worked. Destroyed my game. Not only did I seldom reach 100, last game I played I had an incredibly tough time breaking 70. Eventually took up golf. Didn't fare well there, either. Tried tennis. Found out that I have a killer, nearly unreturnable serve. Was shit when that ball did come back over the net. Gave up on that routine, too.

In time, I learned that the only game I was any good at was billiards and pool. Now my challenge is finding someone (who doesn't know my skill level) to play a game.

I have a similar problem with chess (but, alas, that doesn't require any balls to play so I will save my whining about that for another day).


*Not a typo. They're fun. And designed to separate you and your money with razor-sharp precision. ๐Ÿ˜

David said...

225? Pretty darned impressive!

That must have been a hell of a question.

I tried golf once. A friend of mine took me to the local course and we played 9 holes. After 3 holes he looked at me and said, "You play softball, don't you?" "Yeah." "It's a different swing." Who knew? Between that and the fact that all of the conversation afterward with the rest of his friends was entirely GOP talking points, I figured I'd stick with windmills and mermaids for my golfing experience.

I had the same trouble with tennis, actually, minus the poor choice of conversational topics. If you can hit a softball out of the infield, you can hit a tennis ball into the next county. And then all you can do is stand there looking sheepish while someone either goes and gets it or gets out a new ball. That gets old fast.

I'm no good at pool or chess, but I don't mind losing if I'm having fun. We'll have to try it sometime if our paths cross. :)

I learned to play pool in the basement of my church when I was a teenager. We played for souls.

LucyInDisguise said...

If you’re a bowler, you have undoubtedly heard the “Question”. It has to do with technique. I will not pose it here, just on account a cuz. At the time, I hadn’t even heard of Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder, let alone understood what it meant. For those of us who suffer (and, admittedly I don’t really ‘suffer’) from OCD, we tend to overthink things. (<<<serious understatement of the century!)

After analyzing everything up to and including the release of the ball, I had to reconstruct that whole bit in a vain attempt to do what had come entirely naturally before. What I ended up with would best be described as ‘contrived’. 71. Best of 3 games. 71. Went from consistent strikes & spares to gutters and 2 or 3 pins.

As to golf, I shot a reasonably consistent 18 -20 over par. I’m told that ain’t really bad, but … OCD seeks perfection. I was unwilling to put forth the effort required to improve, mostly ‘cause I didn’t really enjoy the game all that much, so I just gave my clubs away and gave it up for Lent.

Pool, on the other hand, is very near and dear to my heart. I have placed in 9 of the 11 tournaments I have competed in, winning six outright, placing second in the other three. if I get the break, I will run the table 29 out of 30 games, so nobody except very good players wants to play. I don’t actually know anyone who can hold up, so two years ago I sold my table to a relative. They covered it with an air hockey game.

Had I played at your church, I would have ended up owning all your souls. And that, my friend, is a very spooky thought, indeed …



David said...

I figured the Question would be something about analyzing your own technique to make you overthink things, but as an academic I'm used to that sort of thing. It's kind of my default mode, really. Fortunately I've learned to turn it off most of the time. But thanks for not posting it anyway. :)

You would definitely have owned all of our souls. We were happy just to sink two or three balls in a row, and - like bowling - that's still my mark to shoot for. It's another thing I don't get to do very much anymore - the last guy I knew who had a regular pool night was the same GOP friend who took me golfing, and while he was pretty good about things his friends were less welcoming.

Now air hockey, though...

All those years at the arcades down the Jersey shore as a child in the 1970s were good practice. Plus, my grandparents had a table in the basement. I didn't figure it out until years later, but that air hockey table was basically a Child Trap. All the grandkids would hit the front door and stream down into the basement for air hockey, and the adults would have the upstairs all to themselves. Genius!

LucyInDisguise said...

Being a grandparent, I certainly appreciate the value of a good Child Trap. Before they died, it was our horses. Now, we pretty much require our daughters to help out with the yard work.

They absolutely hate doing yard work. So they have the grandkids do it. grandkids hate yard work even more than their parents.

So they all go someplace else. Park, canyon, movie theater ...

Problem solved.


LucyInDisguise said...


My wife, who actually adores the grandkids, thinks I am evil.

She is so absolutely correct.


David said...

There's no particular dividing line between evil and smart.

LucyInDisguise said...

I think you just earned Hero status.



neurondoc said...

Air hockey... I grew up also going to arcades down the shore. And we had a table in our basement (a homegrown Child Trap, as it were). Someday we need to play a game. I might be flat on my back afterwards, but it'll be worth it. :-)

David said...

You're on!

You might be flat on your back, but my back will probably have gone out for drinks at the neighborhood bar, so we'll be even. I've reached the age when I can experience back pain without even a good story to go with it!, which is disappointing, really. Oh well.