Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bowling 2012

So we started our winter bowling league with the Columbus Ski Club on Sunday and, while it was a lot of fun, let’s just say that I am in big trouble. Why? Because we set our handicap the first night – and I bowled too darn well.

My team has a first night tradition of gathering for dinner at a wings place across the street before bowling to, y’know, do a little carb-loading to prep for our stellar performances to come. We figure that all that wing sauce and beer in our bellies will have an adverse effect on our scores for the first night. I believe the term is “sandbagging”…but – alas – no sandbagging did I do. And I tried. Believe me, I tried.

So now all season long I’ll be trying (and failing) to reach the average that I set on Sunday. I bowled a 117, 127 and a 151. My average usually hovers somewhere around 120, so the first two scores were in the correct general range. It’s the 151 that is the problem.

Fortunately, our averages adjust over time and I’m sure that soon enough I’ll be back in the mediocre range that I’m comfortable with.

Oh, don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I want to accept mediocrity as my standard, but when it comes to bowling, I’m a pretty mediocre bowler with occasional flashes of brilliance.

On Sunday I scored more strikes than I probably will all the rest of the year. And the 10th frame of the last game was spooky. I’d bowled a spare on the 9th frame, so when I approached the lane for the 10th frame, I figured I’d probably knock down anywhere between one and three pins.

I evidently don’t do well under pressure when it comes to bowling. Many times I leave a lot of potential points on the table by following spares with some miniscule (and embarrassing) number of pins on the next frame.

Except that on Sunday I bowled a spare after the 9th frame spare. Okay. That was cool. So I had my final throw of the evening – and I bowled a strike. It was an ugly strike, but it was a strike nonetheless.

And my final score was 151.

Normally I’d be thrilled with that score, but I know how tough it is going to be to meet my new and improved average in the next few weeks.

Why? Because the truth is, I have no idea what I’m doing when I bowl. I walk up to the lane, pick up my ball, and hurl it down the lane without any finesse or expertise whatsoever. I do not know what it means to throw a curve ball. A curve ball to me is the same thing as a gutter ball. Mostly I just aim the ball in the general direction of the pins in my own lane and try to remain standing after the ball has left my hand. If I can accomplish those two objectives, I feel like I’ve done a good job.

Actually knocking down all the pins is pure gravy.

So we’ll see what next week brings. My luck, I’ll bowl all three games with two-digit scores instead of three. Ugh.

Perhaps more carb-loading is in order?

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