This Christmas my family decided to partake in a past time that we all grew up with and remember fondly – bowling.
In my opinion, bowling is a ridiculous sport. Fun, but ridiculous – and for several reasons.
Reason #1 You have to rent shoes! There is no other sport so stringent on attire while sporting. I could wear a down filled parka in +48 Celsius while golfing, there are no swimsuit specifications at the local swimming pool (unfortunately people can wear Speedos and bikinis despite what the mirror tells them), and I could run a marathon in flip flops if I so desired. When you go bowling you HAVE to wear shoes that 8,000 other people have worn and are still warm and a bit gooey from the disinfectant that was just sprayed in the shoe. Why? It’s not like I arrived in 4 inch stiletto heels! What are my non-marking tennis shoes going to do out there in bowling land??! Not only do you have to wear the horrible shoes, but you have to PAY the bowling alley to wear them! Somehow, it just doesn’t add up.
Reason #2 There are so many rules regarding the wooden floor area that makes up the bowling lanes. Above every lane a sign is posted that reads, “Do Not Cross White Line.” Why? If you step across the line, what’s going to happen? Is there a secret infrared light that detects even a toe that has broken the rule? Does a silent alarm go off and the bowling police come escort you out of the bowling alley? It seems a bit over the top. Nor can you have food in the bowling area. If you want a snack, you have to sit about 20 feet back from your friends. Eating people are segregated from the non-eaters. It’s not really fair. If you want to share a plate of nachos with someone you have to notify them when you’re leaving the snacking area to go bowling and that they better come supervise the snack. Usually this involves loud yelling that people 3 lanes over can hear. “Hey Frank, I am up next – do you want any of these nachos?” It’s important to notify your friends that you are leaving the snack post, lest the server come and take your nachos away!!
Reason #3 The whole point of the game is to huck a heavy rock straight down a very long strip of hard wood to knock down the 10 pins (or 5 pins, depending what country you’re in) all at once. I have a feeling that this sport was created about 300 years ago in a small village somewhere. Back then, I am sure it was quite the sport!
So, there we all were…the whole family with ridiculous clown shoes on and bowling balls in hand. We began hucking our bowling balls down the long lane with much hilarity.
When I was about 13 years old, I got over the fear of sticking my fingers in the dark, unknown bowling ball holes and began to throw the ball like most normal people. No longer was I relegated to walking up to the white line, bending over at the waist and rolling the ball down the lane with a good heave-ho! This particular day, I was bowling with confidence. I grabbed my 10 pound purple and green psychedelic colored ball, took a few confident strides and hucked the ball with flair down the lane.
My husband, sportsperson extraordinaire, is always telling me how important follow through is when playing sports. I could hear his patient voice in my head and continued my forward stride when I released the ball, after all, I wanted to get a strike! Then, unbeknownst to me, my right foot crossed that sacred white line of the bowling lane only to be followed by my left foot. Suddenly it was as though I was on ice skates! The bowling people had that lane waxed to a high sheen and my rented clown shoes were no match for it. My follow through was now pushing me forward down the bowling lane towards the pins. I was unable to get any footing and was tripping forward due to the immense amount of momentum my follow through created. I made a split second decision to lean backwards to counteract the forward motion in order to stop the crazed, head first careening down the bowling lane.
Sometimes these quick decisions you make in life, aren’t always the best ones. I was quite panicked, so I over compensated on the mid flight correction. I ended up going straight backwards onto my butt with my head cracking the bowling lane a split second later. It happened so fast that I didn’t even put out my arms! I don’t think many people noticed the deafening noise my head made on the lane, because it was so similar to the sound of the many bowling balls hitting the ground.
Once I stopped seeing stars, I opened my eyes to see my whole family peering down at me in complete horror and shock. I laid there for a moment, unable to move from pain and embarrassment. I am sure I was quite the sight all sprawled out on the bowling lane 8 feet from the white line. The craziness of the situation hit me and I laid there giggling, but unable to get up due to pain radiating from my head and the large amount of wax on the lane.
I was a quite shaky from the trauma of the whole situation, so the family decided to push me down the lane on my butt – they were able to do it with ease since the lane was so slick! As I was being delivered to my seat, I noticed that 10 lanes of people had stopped bowling to watch my latest fiasco. The lady at the front desk ran over in a tizzy to make sure I was ok while I was being slid down the lane. In between my giggles and embarrassment I assured her that I was ok. She seemed quite relieved, mostly because she realized that I wasn’t going to sue her. What would I sue for? Allowing ridiculous and clumsy people such as myself into the bowling alley?
The next day when I could barely move my neck due to the whiplash I gave myself while bowling, all could see in my mind’s eye was that sign mocking me:
“Do Not Cross White Line”
No kidding! Who knew that not following such a silly rule would cause a person to get whiplash while bowling?!
I think my new motto in life needs to be “Do what the sign says, no matter how ridiculous it seems!”