Monday, September 18, 2006


Friday was my first day in our work's bowling league. Yes, that's right, I said bowling league. Save your mocking, as there will be plenty of opportunities for that as I delve further into my ten pin experiences.

My work is somewhat obsessed with bowling. Despite the fact that they're all not 65 year old men named Frank or Lumpy or Lumpy Frank, they're quite enamored with the sport. My two teammates not only bowl, but hook bowl and are more than happy to illuminate the differences between straight bowling, which is what I do, and hook bowling, which is what they do. Along with differences in form, how the ball is built, how it's drilled and how it's held, the main difference is that when they bowl, they knock down pins and when I bowl, I don't.

Given that I'm down for any sport I can take part in while eating chili fries, I was more than happy to join the league. For 40 bucks you get to bowl two games a week for four weeks and then when you're done, you get a free ball, custom drilled to your exact specifications, as long as your exact specifications involve you being a straight bowler. The finger tip grip that is the bread and butter of the hook bowler apparantly costs around 20 bucks more. I declined this option as I felt adding hooking to my repertoire was not only physically dangerous but too grammatically ambiguous to be considered safe. I have discussed my ball before, and you'll be happy to know that Pinslayer is being forged in the pits of Mount Doom as we speak, its polyester coverstock being polished to a high gloss, destructive sheen. Look upon my ball ye mighty, and despair.

As I have not bowled in years, I was looking to do two things. First was to break 50 in at least one game. Second was to not injure or embarass myself. I figured it was a safe bet to lump the two together as I'm pretty sure any injury that occurs at a bowling alley would be pretty fucking embarassing, short of an injury obtained while foiling a robbery. You'll be happy to learn that I succeeded on the scoring front, and somewhat succeeded on the injury front. I say somewhat because while I did not leave the bowling alley with an apparant injury, it did not take long for both my right shoulder and my left quadriceps to feel as if they had been injected with living flame. Only today has the pain in my leg subsided to where I can walk normally, or at least what passes as normal for me. Yes, it's true, I am too out of shape to bowl. When I say this line, I am reminded of the "I'm too lazy to fish" line from Brian Regan's routine and it makes me giggle.

I am not the only person who has experienced bowling pain as my boss told me that my quads would soon be incomprehensibly sore. I can understand the shoulder as I bowl with a 15 pound ball, or as we say in the bowling biz, a 15 pound ball, and swinging a 15 pound weight 20 times over 2 games would make anyone sore. The quads were completley surprising, however given that when bowling, you drop down as if doing a squat thrust, always on the same leg, it kind of makes sense. My quads did not seem to care whether or not I understood where their discomfort came from and were more than happy to express their unhappiness with the situation for the entire weekend. I'm hoping that subsequent, regular trips to the lanes will condition me so that I am no longer incapacitated after a league meeting. I'm also hoping that the ensuing massive development in my right shoulder and left thigh will somehow balance out and I don't end up walking with a pronounced tilt to one side or another.

I ended up with a 75 average over the two games, scoring 68 on the first and 81 on the other. I opened up strong with a strike on the first frame of my first game. For a brief, shining moment, I thought I was some sort of bowling savant and I'd be rolling strikes all game long. Then, for my second frame, I stepped over the foul line and the ensuing buzzer sound echoed through the bowling alley, carrying my hopes for bowling excellence with it. My third frame was two gutters in a row, so frazzled was I. I managed to get it together, however I think it's safe to say that the leaderboard of the PBA is safe from my intrusion.

This comes at the right time as I'm starting to get a little bigger around the middle than I am entirely comfortable with, and I am loathe to exercise. Bowling, while not on par with running or biking, for exercise, will allow me to get some form of physical exertion into my day while at the same time, watch cheesy CGI animations of bowling balls mowing down terrified pins. As long as I stay away from the aforementioned chili fries, we should make some headway towards losing a few pounds. Plus, I seem to not completely suck at it, unlike most sports, so my initial level of confidence is higher than if I decided to take up, say hockey. I'm sure this week I'll bowl somewhere in the low thirties and all of this will be for nothing, but until then, I'm staying optimistic. It's only a matter of time before I'll be hooking with the best of them.


Greg said...

"Lumpy Brandon" doesn't quite have the right ring to it.

As a fellow thirty-something who is also surprised to find himself going a bit soft around the middle, I've considered finding some kind of local basketball - not sure how doable that is in the backwoods town where I now live, but it's worth a shot.

Good luck, and eschew chili fries.

Booster MPS said...

I never got into the chilli cheese fries thing but anywho

You are a better nam than me. Bowling ranks right up there with comedy clubs and sauteed liver in my book.

k o w said...

It's so much easier on my cellphone. When I've gone I've been the straight shooter right down the middle with the ball while reaching for a beer.