Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bowled Over

With the recent cold snap occuring right during Megan's spring break, I decided to take her bowling on one of the days she was off. She was all excited, and I was looking forward to it, too. I was quite the bowler many moons ago. A very kapable kegler, if you will. Gosh, writing on a blog allows one to offer up some krazy and kwite komical made-up alliterations, doesn't it. Well, krazy ones at least.

This was the first time that Megan was able to bowl the traditional way, with fingers and thumb in the holes. She had only been bowling one time before, a year or two ago, and had to push the ball with both hands behind it. This time we found a six-pound ball, and she was able to control it pretty easily. And whoever came up with the idea for bumpers on each lane needs to be given a standing ovation. Without them, it'd be a day full of gutter balls for anyone under the age of eight. It's too bad there aren't real-life bumpers that could keep people out of the gutter after too many Jager Bombs at the local watering hole.

Bowling bumpers have come a long way. When they were first in existence, they were inflatable. You would lay them out, down the length of the gutter, and then spend about three minutes blowing air into them before sealing them up and doing the same thing on the other side of the lane. It took awhile, and if you were using them for your little kegler, that meant you had to use them as well. Not the worst thing in the world, but certainly not the way a fine bowler like myself is used to doing it.

Nowadays, bumpers are much more advanced. In most cases, they just pop up from within the gutter -- they're more like rails now -- and appear for those bowlers that need it, and disappear for those that don't. I'd like to see Megan continue her kegling ways as she gets older. It was a big part of my childhood, and it's even where I got my first job (I spent a few months as a porter -- cleaning the place up, fetching stuck balls or loose pins -- and spent a year or so working in the snack shop as a short order cook. We had the best nacho sauce on the planet).

Saturday mornings for me growing up meant two things: Bugs Bunny cartoons, and bowling in a junior league. It was the higlight of the week. Me and my buddies slaughtering our opponents, and then capping off the day with some fries from the snack shop, and then some Kung Fu Master in the game room. In the afternoons, I'd settle in and watch the pros do it on ABC. Anyone remember Marshall Holman? Mark Roth? My uncle Walter Ray Williams? Pete Weber? One of my highlights of watching live sports as a teenager was seeing Pete McCordic's 300 game. I still have that on tape somewhere.

My bowling career took a big hit after I went to college. Well, for that freshman year I still bowled in a league every week. It was my first and only year in an adult bowling league. It was a lot of fun, but it was starting to get pretty expensive. It was about 15 dollars a week, plus all of the extra money poured into the gambling that was such a big part of those leagues. Strike pots, high-game pots, 5th frame pots.

I roared in and out of my only year of adult-league bowling like a tornado -- A 206 average for the season -- and then I faded into oblivion. With college, and then the wonderful world of radio (too much work, and very little pay), plus eventually starting a family, bowling became less and less a priority, and less and less an affordable hobby.

Now we just go once in awhile. But, after taking Megan the other day, hopefully that will spark a bit of a bowling resurgence. In me? Some day. I'd love to get back into adult leagues. I'd love for Megan to take it up as a sport, too. It's the one sport that I was pretty good at, and it was a source of many laughs, memories and good times all around.

Now, if we can just find a bowling alley that also has a Kung Fu Master!

Your bowling video for the day: Check out this amazing bowling trick from Norm Duke...

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