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Monday, April 07, 2003  

Up the Alley

Went out last night and had a great time with the guys, but boy, is my ass sore today.

I haven’t been bowling for months, so I was pretty rusty. That’s also why my right glute is so worn out from the unaccustomed exertion. I never feel the burn back there when I’m throwing a sixteen-pound marble sixty feet, but I always get the charley horse the next morning.

Even though I hadn’t stepped inside the alley this year, the waiter spotted me on the way in and offered to bring me a Leine’s. So I guess you can go home again.

One thing has changed, though; I finally have a bag to carry my bowling ball in. It’s not an actual bowling-ball bag; it’s a small duffel bag. It’s part of a set Trash’s mom gave us for Christmas this past year. Obviously, it’s not bowling-ball-shaped or –sized, but I can zip my ball in it and carry it in and out of the alley so it doesn’t look like I’m stealing a ball. Because as we all know, all you need to prove a ball is yours is a bag to carry it in. It’s still a little awkward-looking though. The bag is about equal to the ball in circumference, but twice as long. So what I should really do is steal a ball from the alley to fill it out properly.

Now that I don’t have to buy a bowling ball bag, I can use the money to buy bowling shoes instead. Which I might have to. In a cruel joke, somebody appears to have taken all but one of the pairs of size 10½ bowling shoes clean out of the alley. That means I had the option of rattling around in a size-eleven pair of hollowed-out surfboards, or binding my feet geisha-like into size-ten ball-bearing cases. I went with the size-elevens. Sure, my feet filled them about as well as my ball fills the duffel bag, but now I had a perfect excuse for my bowling.

Because, as it turns out, I still can’t bowl.

I spent months trying to get my hook under control. I practiced keeping my thumb pointed forward, keeping my swing straight. I succeeded too well. Now I couldn’t bowl with a curve if you threatened to stuff me down the ball return. I could throw the ball on a horizontal arc past my shoulder, rotate my wrist on the release, and go into a breakdancer’s backspin for the follow-through, and the trajectory of my ball would be straighter than the boards it traveled on. Believe me, I tried. It was a little awkward when I only had the ten-pin standing, and had to practically bowl from the lane on my right to knock it down.

But it was a good time, because this was a supportive group of guys. No wagering, no trash-talking, just everyone wanting to do their best and see everyone else doing their best, with sincere cheers and high-fives all around with every strike and Hail-Mary spare pickup. All that camaraderie and male bonding made it easy to see why bowling leagues are always springing up like furry colonies in the refrigerator. It’s hard to hope that the guy next to you chokes when he’s drinking out of the same pitcher of beer.

And if the guy next to you is me, it’s also entirely unnecessary.

posted by M. Giant 3:16 PM 0 comments


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