I remember my dad watching bowling on television when I was a kid.
Those were the days when televisions were without remote channel changers and people on screen were stretched out in black and white. (Although, as I think about it, my father was quite frugal, and a black & white TV with rabbit ear antennae could have been his typical money saving purchase…..) If I was unlucky enough to pass through the room in time to get tapped to change the channel, I couldn’t help but notice what was on.
Crashing pins and cheering crowds erupting after a big strike, I remember being intrigued with a sport the one could play while drinking and smoking at the same time. The “athletes” in their tri-colored shoes and loud bowling shirts were incredibly skilled as they hurled ball after ball down the aisles, knocking over 10 pins standing stoically at the lane’s end.
Even without the attached vices, bowling is a lot of fun. To me anyway….
Imagine my husband’s joy when I surprised him with a night out for his birthday recently. A perfect warm up to dinner and a movie was, of course—bowling! Clearly nonplussed when I announced the plan, he had little choice as he was trapped in the car and we were already on our way.
My activity selection was definitely self-serving as I am a hopelessly incurable, Multi-tasker, I find it difficult to remain still for too long, forced to focus on one thing. Replacing cigarettes with conversation while pouring a pitcher of beer and launching gutter balls made the bowling choice one of those “It’s Really All About Me” kinds of gifts.
The man I entered the bowling alley with wasn’t the same one that I left with.
No, not like that.
Resigned to the chore of appeasing me as the start of what he really wanted to do for his birthday, he couldn’t resist the excitement of rolling that colorful, 3 holed sphere of Pin-striking Doom down the highly polished lane. The red and green rented shoes only added festive flair and of course, beating me really turned his attitude around.
High–fiving after strikes and spares, we aggressively played set after set. My game steadily declined as I wondered if the secret was to take up smoking. Somewhere in the 60 odd tosses that ranged from gutter balls to strikes, the guy I used to know showed up and the everyday work of being married, a family and “making it” , for a while, went the way of my last bowl.
It wasn’t until the next day that we learned of every muscle required to bowl and gained new respect for the masters of the sport. Still, I love that guy in the bowling alley and I plan on finding him there again soon.