As you may or may not know, the two sports that I participated in growing up were non-contact ones (not counting MathCounts or the Academic Team, which had a lot more shoving than you’d think). This was partly by choice and partly because you can’t get left out of a team of one, can you? Wait! Can you? Me? Where am I going?
As soon as I realized that I didn’t have to play soccer, the every-kid sport, I was thrilled to be able to remove the embarrassing shirts and shoes that I had on, and hop right on into even more embarrassing shirts and shoes as a bowler, or a golfer for that matter. See, I figured that instead of watching shins shatter, I’d rather watch pins splatter (whole post written around this line right here!!). It’s those precision sports that you only need one person to work on that I gravitated towards. Less name calling from my parents. Go figure!
Taking up bowling wasn’t the popular decision, by any means. My high school didn’t even have a team, and little interest to start one was floated around. Soccer we had, and my brother played for them, besting other schools with his “tricky moves,” (their words, not mine) which is also the name of his autobiography.
I was a morning person back then, a thing that I’ve lost my affinity for nowadays, eager to be at a bowing alley on a Saturday at 8:30 am, bowling in a league of over 30 teams. Parents sat in coffee-fueled slumps, while their children knocked over one pin every frame. With bumpers. It must’ve been such a drag. A couple of 80 pounders throwing 8-pounders down an oiled lane. But, I eventually excelled at it, getting my average up to 180 without even trying and being able to lift a 12-pound ball. Then, just like that, with a snap of my fingers, I stopped bowling when I went to college and then to New York City.
Cut to today. It’s been 3 years since my bowling ball was dusted by Thanos (it actually did split in half, to where 50% was left, which is an inevitability, or so I’m told) and I found my self itching to see if bowling still existed. So when the opportunity to bowl for about 6 weeks on a Better Off Bowling team popped up out of the Bantam Realm, I said “Take my money!” I jumped at it to retain a sense of normalcy. I bought a bowling ball on LetGo, then bought a regular, non-broken bowling ball from the only pro shop in New York, and headed to Frames Bowling Alley, literally in the alley behind Port Authority, the optimal place to bowl and smoke a bowl. I said what a lot of homeless folks say when they go behind Port Authority: I’m home.
Here’s the kicker; Frames uses no oil. They haveoil, cause they served me French Fries, but they don’t drop any on the lanes. That’s not good for me because I’m a hooker. Wait, let me rephrase that. My balls get a lot of action. Shit! Hold on. I roll a curve so strong that teachers hate it. I learned it from an oiled lane. One with Spider or Shark or Spider Shark as the oil pattern. I used to stick two fingers in, tuck my pinky back, and twist at the end (talking about bowling here, folks, get your mind out of the gutter). That kind of spin is hard to control, and impossible to manage when the ball won’t slide. The only entity that could handle this much abrupt spinning is the White House. It’s a rip-it-and-watch-it-grip-it scenario. I’ve never seen anything grip wood so hard since my days as a hooker.
I just can’t seem to find my spot. I’ve moved all the way over to the leftmost board. I’m standing so far left that I’m voting for Bernie Sanders in the next election. Nothing is helping. I’m untucking the pinky in an effort to control this twelve pound STORMborn dragon glass bowling ball. But, so far, nothing is helping.
I’ll get the hang of it as soon as this league ends, I’m sure. But, for now, I’m doing two games a week for an hour and a half on Sundays, just enough to get the ball rolling.