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Anyone Else Miss Bowling?

Anyone Else Miss Bowling?

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It’s such a disgusting sport.

Even before Covid-19 it was unsanitary. We walk around sticking our fingers in and out of bowling balls that everyone else uses. Most of us repeating that process 20 times a game or so. Usually only around 15 for me…I like to throw a few X’s when I roll stones.

There’s always that person on the lane next to you that keeps using your ball and either has no idea or just doesn’t care. Often times there’s one person in your group or the group next to you that just keeps sticking their fingers in and out of every ball until they finally pick one…doing this every single time it’s their turn.

And we order food while bowling. Usually not the kind you eat with a fork. So we just keep sticking our fingers in filth and going back for more pizza and nachos.

And I’ve never heard of or seen someone stopping to wash their hands during a game.

We use shoes that hundreds of other people have worn before us and trust that the 8 dollar-an-hour teenager working at the bowling alley has cleaned them properly. The 50% of the time they do, we assume the spray they use works miracles. And even with all that knowledge will pay to rent those shoes.

Along those same lines, it costs a billion dollars an hour to rent a lane, yet they always arrange the rates on the board to where that’s somehow the best deal available for the family or the individual.

But having said all that, I do miss it. I miss doing it and I miss it being an option. We didn’t go as a family all that much but it was always nice to know it was out there if we wanted it.

I have a standing bet with my oldest daughter. It is for my lifetime. If she ever beats me at bowling I owe her $1000. I may pay it in a thousand installments of one dollar a day if it ever happens, but she doesn’t know that. It’s not something I’m too worried about. But she gets up for the challenge every time and we have a lot of fun with it. Especially if she gets a mark or two in the early frames.

Some of the most fun I’ve had with the family has been at the bowling alley. When we first started going Travis and Chloe were still using those stupid safety gutter-proof bumper guard things. I put a quick stop to that. It’s funny watching them and my wife be so inconsistent. It makes it all the more entertaining when they put one in the pocket or hit a strike or spare.

I don’t spend much time hitting the pocket myself. I’m more of a Brooklyn guy, and my straight ball is powerful enough to attack the head pin and still get results. I’ve been able to post solid numbers that way over the years. I’m always trying to make a run at that elusive 200+ game, something I’ve only done a few times in my life.

The last couple times by parents came down here to visit, pre covid, Travis, my old man, and I have gone bowling together. Just the 3 bulls. The first time I was sure I was gonna win, to the point were I wasn’t really thinking too much about it. But my dad, despite tripping awkwardly, almost falling down, and having the ball stick to his thump too long on his first roll, surprised me. He hung around and stayed within striking distance (pun intended) in the later frames and ended up beating me in 2 of our 3 games, including the rubber match.

Devasting.

The next year I put my game face on to make sure that wouldn’t happen again. It wasn’t enough. Bob had no problem humbling me.

Me: ‘Okay, this is stupid, when’s the last time you bowled?’

Him: ‘Oh, geez, I don’t know. I think the last time I bowled was with you probably.’ He says as he trails off.

Asshole.

This came a year after his response to that same question was ‘Shit, I don’t know, has to have been at least 20 years.’

I used to bowl all the time in my twenties in Missoula, Montana. That’s all my buddy David and I did. Bowl and play poker. The kids running the place never charged us for anything we were there so much. Sometimes we’d roll till they closed and then the workers would stick around after and bowl with us.

When Bob and Curt Nebel lived in Missoula for awhile that’s all we ever did too. We even joined a bowling league once. A lot of stories came out of that experience. I’ll post exclusively about that sometime in the near future.

Curt picked up a 7-10 split once. I wouldn’t believe it either but I was there. It was Cat-Griz weekend. The surprising consensus of the guys that came into town was to go bowling that night. There were maybe 10-15 guys bowling with us,…and Curt didn’t even see it. He had already turned around and was walking back to the crowd when the pin he hit straight-on ricocheted off the back wall behind the pins and came back out spinning and hitting the 10 pin. When I looked around it seemed like no one had seen it, I was shocked, but the scoreboard caught it. And so did Big Nate, who somehow brushed right by how interesting it was to get to his urgent point of ‘this song is so stupid, no guy should ever be singing a song about a pair of jeans that fit just right.’ As The Zach Brown Band’s ‘Chicken Fry’ was playing at the time.

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I was in a bowling league the one year I went to college in Missouri. A player on another team wanted to fight me for my excessive celebrations. And I guess I don’t blame him. I was bowling well and playing all the hits. I was doing the Reggie Miller bows, the “X”, the point away with one finger, the hand to the ear, the two hand push down, the delayed reactions, the long stare downs. All sorts of stuff. But I wasn’t singling the guy out. Pretty borderline for him to try to pick a fight in that spot.

Hey bud. That’s Bowling.

Tabitha brought me to a bowling alley the night of my 34th birthday, and as a surprise invited Doan, Josh, Matt and Hayley. They were all waiting for us when we got there. That was another great time Rolling Stones, and the first time I’ve ever been involved in a surprise party of any kind.

Another time we brought Tabitha’s friend Tara out to the lanes with us. She danced by herself all night like she was at a rave and kept yelling to Tabitha ‘You’re so pretty!’ in the middle of her grooves.

It’s weird how the simple act of bowling can conjure up great memories and bring up some great stories.

When I lived in Vegas the whole Taylor family and I went bowling around Christmas time one year. All the celebrities in the Taylor family were out. Jeff, Brad, Steph, Rob, Jon, and Michelle. Jon was by far the most entertaining, and if I recall correctly it was Jeff who was the best bowler. It was either him or Rob I believe. Anyway, the story goes Stephanie Taylor had a little too much to drink that night, and on the family’s trip back home the next day Michelle was nursing her, letting her lay her head down on her lap, using a cold wash cloth, etc. Either Brad or Jeff piped up from the back seat and said, “why don’t you ever do this sort of stuff for me when I’m hungover?” Michelle chimed back instantly “because with Stephanie it’s a rare occurrence.”

Stories like that come from the foundation ‘let’s all just go bowling and have a little fun’.

Man I miss it, but like pretty much every other post I put on this site, I bring it back to the kids. I look forward to bowling with Harrison and Mara once they get a little older. And I won’t be accepting any more of their life-long betting propositions.

Once Chloe goes off to college (assuming she does and it’s safe to do so) all she has to do is take a bowling class or spend a few months practicing a few times a week and she’ll have no problem beating me. Not Smart. But still worth it to me if it happens.

Because I’ll be bowling. And I’m sure they’ll be a story.

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