The great thing about bowling is that pretty much anyone can bowl. And for those of us non-athletes, even if we aren't very coordinated, bowling is a sport we can have a lot of fun with and not worry about getting too sweaty, hot or tired. Its not the sort of sport where one can become overly exerted. Of course you can get sore muscles, drop the ball or get your finger smashed in between a couple of balls in the ball return, but it isn't super dangerous or exhausting.
If you are terrible, you can always make it more fun by giving it your best granny roll.
Every time I bowl, I sort of feel like the star of the game. Center stage. All eyes on me. If I roll a gutter ball or a strike, it doesn't really matter, I get to be the star. I've never pitched a throw at a baseball or softball game, but I am sure its a bit like that, the game doesn't advance without the pitcher at the mound. In bowling, if you go to the bathroom or the concession stand, the game is on pause until you get back and roll your two attempts.
In bowling, I have a routine. It doesn't matter if I throw a strike or a gutter....My approach is always the same. I walk up to the ball return, let some air blow on to my hand, like I really know what I am doing, spin the ball so that the holes are on top. Put my fingers in the holes, and pick up the ball. Align my toes with those dots on the floor, shake my booty a little. Raise the ball in front of me. Take a few steps, extending the ball and then lowering it so that it is ready to be released just as I reach the line on the floor and then I drop the ball, it rolls onto the lane and I flip your arm back with a very, ahem... convincing follow through.
In some cases, I stand there, watching the ball all the way down, (saying a little prayer) using my arms and hands to direct the ball over a tiny bit or I move my body, hopping a little to the left or right, trying to use my mind to move the ball.
Other times, I try to be cool, I throw the ball and turn around, like..."yeah, its cool...I'm a really good bowler, I don't need to watch. I don't care wear it lands. I'm a star. I own this lane."
It never fails. When I go bowling, I always blame my first game on the 'warm up' because I usually do pretty lousy on the first game if I haven't bowled in a while.
Last Friday I went bowling with a group of friends, and I bowled a 107 on my first game....HOTDOG! If that's my warm up, not bad....its gonna be a good night...I'm on fire, I thought!!
But that night I wanted glory. And fame.
The second game. I started out OK. First throw, 7 then 0. Second attempt 8 then 0. So in my first two frames I had 15. Decent.
Somewhere about midway through, maybe the 5th frame, I threw a STRIKE!! My first strike of the night. I'M BACK BABY, THIS IS IT!
Everyone saw how amazing it was and I had my touchdown dance ready, my fists went up and I was doing the chainsaw. That's right. I was sawing the air with an invisible chainsaw. I remember it like it was in slow motion. There's me, doing the chainsaw...all of my friends cheering and clapping and the music was loud but in that moment, I couldn't hear anything. ON TOP OF THE WORLD!!
I could live in that moment forever after what happened next. Every mediocre bowler in the world's worst fear. After a strike, the next two throws are added to the 10 pins you got on your strike so you really have to try to knock at least a few down in order to make the strike worth anything. It is a lot of pressure. A LOT of pressure. Especially when people were watching to see if I could throw another strike....
I approached the lane, just as I do every other time. I must've been high on the glory from my previous strike or something because as I made my approach, something was a little off. Recounting the chain of events now, I don't exactly know how it happened, but here is what I do know.
There I was, on stage. Ready to make my athletic debut. The ball was poised in front of me. I took a couple of steps. Just as I was getting ready to release the ball onto the lane, I felt myself slipping. Not just an average, knee down in front of the line, I felt my feet going over the line.
YOU KNOW THE LINE...The forbidden spot in the bowling alley where you should never go. But it gets worse. Not only did I step over the line, but I fell over the line.
My ass was suddenly hurling itself down the lane, faster than the ball, I actually pictured my butt making a strike and the ball getting a gutter, as I tried to scramble back across, it felt like I was in a slippery mud wrestling pit. Everything was in slow motion again. I felt like a bug just before it crashes into a windshield, trying to stop, knowing I can't get away.
It was terrifying. I finally managed to get up, and now I know what the term 'lickety split' means...btw.... When I stood up, straightening my shirt, brushing down my hair with my hands, I turn to see all of my friends, laughing and pointing. THE HORROR! They will never forget this moment.
The worst part, my ball had reached the return and I had to get up and make a second attempt.
DOUBLE ZEROS. I threw two gutters in a row. Completely wasting my strike.
The horror. I was humiliated. I just wished I had a magic wand or some sort of memory erasing potion so that no one would remember what just happened.
Finally, it was my turn again. So....I picked myself up......Collected my ball.....approached the lane like I always do. Repeated my normal routine. Dropped the ball onto the lane.
Wish granted, memories wiped clean, slate chiseled clear.....REDEMPTION.
Hope you enjoyed reading this post. I must mention that my friend Kelly has a much better bowling story than me, so I dedicate this to her. Luckily, I wasn't hurt when I fell. ;-)