Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Week 7. Family Life.

Sunday night marked my return to the Sport after a 3-week hiatus. It's hard to believe I had gone so long without hitting the Lanes with my "Sunday night family," as they've taken to calling themselves. It seems a fitting moniker, given the general level of crazy present in the fellowship.

At the Lanes, Hot Toddies
are served in paper cups.
Take, for instance Varsity TT, who showed up to the bowling alley and ordered a HOT TODDY because, as he said "I'm sick, but I still want to drink." I don't know who goes to a bowling alley decorated with full-scale wall mural carpet art and a vending bank that offers Yoohoo! chocolate soda, and orders a drink preferred by English manor lords. Well...actually, I guess I do. My new brother in-bowling. The guy who also shows up with the Girl Scout Candy Catalog and works the lanes between his turns: "Hey R., while you're flying high off that strike you just made, can I interest you in some malted milk balls?"

Seven cash sales to show for it!

I really can't complain about him as a family member, when I think about some of my own. I don't know if it's the hot brown liquid in the paper cup that calls it to mind, or the sensation of spending hours sitting in four seats occupying only 20 square feet (such as the ones at the head of lane 45 Sunday night, or such as the ones inside my family's Bronco as we drove hundreds of barren, empty miles across West Texas on our way to New Mexico ski country when I was a preteen), but I got to thinking about my dad... 

On those Dantean roadtrips, my brother and I were united in the penance of doing time, while my dad had his mind solely on making time. It's possible he had factored into the trip the cost of receiving a ticket for speeds clocked at up to 40 miles-per-hour over the legal limit, for how comfortable he was racing hellbent to the jagged, punishing peaks of Taos. 

These drives would always result in an inevitable, incredible bladder-searing pain due to inability to stop because we hadn't reached "the right point." My brother and I would spend hours parched and numbed in the backseat, listening to his lectures about Ancient Greece and the philosophy of the Spartans, willing ourselves to NEED NO LIQUID for any reason, just like any good Spartan could. 

Alas, we would always be faced with the felling temptation of a drive-thru McDonalds or quick stop at a convenience store... which brings me back around to bowling and Hot Toddies. 

My brother always being more impulsive and pleasure-seeking than I, broke down and bought himself a drink during one of these stops. It wasn't a big drink--just a modest-sized paper cup of life sustaining liquid. It must have tasted so damned delicious. I can't remember him drinking it, but I can so vividly recall the look of strained pain on his face 2 hours later as he couldn't hold it any more. The pronouncement was handed back solemnly from the front seat: the empty paper cup. And yes, you can be sure, it rode with us, steaming and full-to-the-brim until my dad determined exactly the right point to pull over and leave it on the side of a long, desolate West Texas highway just East of New Mexico.

Sorry, Varsity TT, for possibly forever ruining the Hot Toddy for you. But, hey, it's the least a little sister could do. 

And so, with that, let us hasten to the results from Sunday night:
The Hoff: 153 (all-time high game), 81 (all-time low game), 125
Al: 81, 120, 120
Varsity TT: 118, 126, 113
Flo: 122, 88, 109

Rounds of beer/Hot Toddies: 3
Games won: 2
Authentic(?) bowling sayings picked up from Super Sub G.: 5
"That's gonna hold!"
"Somebody call the police! You were robbed!"
"That lane bites!" 
"That lane is torched!"

Just in case you were waiting with baited breath for this week's revelation of the TRBC's newest drinking game, it involves one of Varsity TT's Authentic(?) bowling sayings: "PICK THAT SHIT UP!" One drink for every time he shouts that out. That's alot of drinks when you're playing with the TRBC, because we're so often so very "robbed."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Week 6. (In 500 words or less)

Brunswick PowrKoil XF*

Apparently, the punishment for submitting a 2000 word essay in lieu of a blithe blog post is being told to try again, in 500 words or less. And so I write. I am not sure who is being punished, you, the reader, or me, the writer. I am hoping it is you.

There has been some debate between TRBC members on whether or not bowling is truly a sport. Our team is divided. I am having trouble accepting bowling is a “real” sport; but, then again, I am also having trouble knocking down the pins. Granted, bowling requires skill and concentration; but physical strength and endurance are not a prerequisite.

Those who know me know I like my sport with a side of adrenaline. I enjoy a physical challenge. I love pushing myself to the limit. I love the rush of endorphins flowing through my body. I like not quite knowing whether I’ll be heading home or to the hospital at the end of the day. What gets my blood pumping? Climbing the cable route of Half Dome mid-Winter with ice picks, crampons and no cable. Sport. Surfing Ocean Beach by the light of the moon, not quite sure if the waves will break behind me or on me. Sport. Running 35 miles through the Sierra Nevada’s in the dark while hallucinating the trees are going to grab me. Sport. Swimming across the Maui Channel hoping the captain keeps his promise to keep the boat between me and the shark that’s been spotted. Sport death.

But these are stories for another blog.

Motherhood has obviously changed my life. I need to be 100% certain I will be home to kiss my babies goodnight. To that end, I decided to take up bowling. The biggest thrill I’ve achieved to date is walking back to my seat and realizing someone drank my beer. Come on! Worst injury? Broken nail. But I am trying to keep an open mind.

I arrived at the bowling alley Sunday as G., professional sub you met in Week 3, was struggling to get his huge roller bag through the doors. Seriously, his bag for one night of bowling was bigger than my carry-on for a week-long business trip. Of course I had to ask what was in there: shoes, 4 bowling balls and the robotic arm*! I watched, fascinated, as he strapped on his robotic arm and adjusted the lever to account for ball velocity, lane dry: oily ratio (FYI: the lanes are usually dry by Sunday), brain wave frequency. The Hoff asked the question which has been on all our minds, is the robotic arm connected to his brain. The answer: YES. Cool.

* Brunswick PowrKoil XF Bowling Wrist Support
 Feather light, durable aluminum construction.
 Lateral adjustments position the hand for changing the roll of the ball.
 Adjusting screws allows fine-tuning of forward wrist cup positions for rev control.
 Available for left or right hand in small, medium, large, and extra-large.
 Extended index finger support enhances side roll for improved length and back-end hook angle

Our opponents Sunday were Team “Dork, Dork, Dork, Goose”. A cute name, but, as M. (Team Captain) pointed out, it’s kind of lame when it appears up on the big screen as “Dork, Dork, Dork”.

R. and M. of DDDG, G. and I tore up the lanes during practice bowl. My teammates were nowhere in sight. I was a little worried that TRBC wasn’t taking the game seriously!

Is it just me, or does G. remind you of Tim Meadows as The Ladies Man? He is “THE DUDE”. He bowls in two leagues, is a sub in two different leagues and enters tournaments on the weekends. His average is 247. As one guy told me last night, if G. gives you any advice, listen to it. Two weeks ago, I asked G. how to improve my score. His advice? Stay home. I did not listen to his advice. I am back, with G. bowling in my lane. I needed to step up my game. I needed to break 100. Heck, I needed to break 90!

Varsity and The Hoff arrived just as League Bowl began. Varsity proudly debuted his new shoes. Black with skulls. The Hoff was sporting her glow in the dark stars shoes. The bowling alley really needs to get ultra violet lights so we can see The Hoff’s stars shine!

Game 1 started slowly. Varsity and The Hoff weren’t in the zone. Varsity knocked 9 pins down on his first bowl, only the 5 pin remained. Easy shot. As he stepped up to bowl his second frame, G. yelled “NOBODY MISSES A 5 PIN!!!” … guess who missed the 5 pin.

Varsity did manage to get a strike a few frames later. G. yelled out “WHO SAID DAVID CAN’T GET A STRIKE!?”. Varsity yelled back “THE EDGE”. G. was making snarky comments all night. G. is now an honorary member of the TRBC.

Someone actually called Varsity “JV” this week. To his face. He was not happy. His game was off. There was no mayhem. There was no dancing. He beat me by only TWO points, that’s right, TWO, in the first game. I’m secretly happy. I’m getting into this sport.

The Hoff spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the “little numbers” above our game total mean. She thought to ask G., since he’s THE DUDE and all. His reply? “I never look at that crap!” Well G., you don’t need to when you’re bowling a 250!

D. stopped by for a visit. She was having a rough night. D.’s boyfriend dumped her the night before and her head wasn’t in the game. She was very depressed, she was wearing an LL Bean crew neck sweater and her hair was in a ponytail. That’s not the D. we know and love.

A member of another team remarked that all the winners of the big League Jackpot have one thing in common: they all have mustaches. The Hoff loudly announced that she is stopping all laser treatments in hopes of growing a handlebar mustache. I admire her commitment to TRBC. I can’t wait to see The Hoff walking around our town sporting her bowling ‘stache.

G. got the highest score over average for the night and won a pizza. He was happy. G. was on track to win the Strike Jackpot of the night, $1324. He made 8 strikes. He missed the 9th. He didn’t win the money. He was not happy. He still shared his pizza and bought TRBC a round of beers. We were happy.

TRBC may not be know as the highest scorers in the league; but, I’m happy to say our reputation as the fun new kids on the block is solid. Other bowlers stopped by to check out our crazy dance moves, unload their heartaches, throw back a few beers. We are hitting our stride!

Sunday Night Stats:
The Hoff: 128, 128, 117
Varsity: 137, 106, 146
Flo: 135, 105, 129
Current League Standing: 6 place
Games Lost: 2
Games Won: 1
Bars of Soap: 0 Team DDDG is much more tolerant than our last opponents.
Rounds of Beer: 3
Slices of Free Pizza: 1

What you’ve all been waiting for … the handicaps! Drum roll please.
Varsity: AVG 137 / HC 93
The Hoff: AVG 135 / HC 95
The Edge: AVG 118 / HC 112
Cap’n Al: AVG 114 / HC 116
Flo: AVG 94 / HC 136

What I learned last night:
Bowling with G. is a sport.
There is money and pizza to be won in bowling.
I had more fun when I didn’t care. I had more fun when bowling wasn’t a sport.
I cannot write a blog post in under 500 words.

Your punishment is over.

Next week we debut our new drinking game ….

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Roster. Sunday, October 17.

Flo. The Hoff. Varsity TT. *bowling with 3 tonite.

And...a pep-talk, of sorts, to get you seeing red--or maybe it's orange--before stepping into the coliseum tonight. Hold the gaze and go reap some hell:

- - - -
I don't know about you, but I can't wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. I'm about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off, and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables. When my guests come over it's gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is—fucking fall. There's a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash.

I may even throw some multi-colored leaves into the mix, all haphazard like a crisp October breeze just blew through and fucked that shit up. Then I'm going to get to work on making a beautiful fucking gourd necklace for myself. People are going to be like, "Aren't those gourds straining your neck?" And I'm just going to thread another gourd onto my necklace without breaking their gaze and quietly reply, "It's fall, fuckfaces. You're either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you're not."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Week 5: The Pre Bowl

I learned two important lessons this week: 1. snarky comments don’t count as blog posts,  2. never join a team consisting primarily of writers if you have graphophobia.

This post was originally to be written by Varsity.  He was swamped with work.  The Edge gladly jumped in and offered to post, writing being both his vocation and avocation.  However, in reading “the snarky comment,” he suddenly remembered he was swamped with work.  I, on the other hand, am not swamped with work.  I am frantically trying to get ready to host my 5 year old’s Princess Butterfly Birthday.  She wants a magical fairy princess castle cake.  Since I have not been able to magically produce a fairy princess castle cake, I may have to resort to the old fashioned method: Baking.  I hate baking.  I think I want to blog.  Be forewarned, I blog as well as I bowl!

In order to understand Tuesday, I have to give you a little more insight into Sunday. Clearly, Al was in a happy place when she wrote Week 4.  Let’s just take a moment to read between the lines …

Mayhem was the watchword of Sunday evening” Specifically, mayhem was The Hoff’s word of the night.  Each time her ball connected with the pins, whether it be 1 or 10, she would turn toward her team mates and yell “MAYHEM” while waving her hands wildly.  The Hoff claimed she was channeling Daniel Larusso, the original Karate Kid.  Twinkle Toes insisted she was perfecting Fosse jazz hands and really should take a dance class (or 10).  Clearly, The Hoff is secretly auditioning for the role of Sally Bowles in the Bowling Alley Production of Cabaret. 

“Pins flew willy nilly”  Let’s be honest here.  Pins were flying willy nilly for the other team.  This team came to bowl.  Their team average is 250.  There was no talking, no high fiving, no beer swilling.  Theirs was a game of precision.  They had no patience for Third Rail’s laughter, dancing and MAYHEM! 

“Beers spilled decadently”   I really don’t remember any beer spilling.  I suspect Al took some creative liberty here.  I did learn an important lesson Sunday.  Always buy the first round BEFORE the game begins.  I had offered to buy the first round Sunday; however, when I got the alley, I was actually focused on bowling.  Really!  My main goal was to find the perfect ball and get some practice bowls in.  Beer was the last thing on my mind.  I bowled two spares and a strike in pre-bowl.  I was ready.  The Hoff started us off with a POW! 

Pins went flying.  We all reached for our glasses for a celebratory drink only to realize, NO BEER!  Oops!  I ran to the bar to order a round, thinking I could make it back in time for my turn.  To my surprise, there was a line at the bar!  Specifically, two women ahead of me debating what they wanted to order for dinner.  Who orders dinner at the bowling alley?!?  After much debate, they decided on cheeseburgers and chardonnay.  Who drinks chardonnay with a cheeseburger!?!?   There were 2 women working behind the bar that night.  As one of the women went to unscrew the chardonnay, I waited for blondie to take my beer order.  I waited and waited.  Apparently, blondie is the keno girl.  Keno girls talk to barflies and sell Keno tickets.  Keno girls do not serve beer.  I waited some more as I watched the minutes click by on the clock wondering what deep discussions I was missing back at the lane.  One of my teammates ran in and yelled “WHERE IS OUR BEER!?”  Our beer was still in the keg.  I didn’t realize how long it took to unscrew the chardonnay.  I ran back to the lane to bowl.  The other team didn’t look happy.  They couldn’t bowl until I finished bowling.  I had disrupted their rhythm.  My team was not happy.  They still didn’t have a beer.  

“Club members were accused of using "potty mouth" at the Lanes”   I just want to make it clear that only one member of the team was accused of using “potty mouth”.  The accuser actually offered to bring a bar of soap to the alley next Sunday.  Beware.  We all were secretly thankful the bowling alley bathrooms have liquid soap dispensors.

“(now we know what Varsity lettered in)”  There has been some discussion on whether or not “Varsity” is really the best nickname for David since he never played on the varsity bowling team.  Al sweetly suggested we rename him “JV” to which he yelled “I HAVE NEVER PLAYED ON A JV TEAM IN MY LIFE!!!”  Can someone do a little fact checking here? 

“Yes, week four saw the TRBC solidly at home in the league”  Truer words have not been written.  The bowling alley is our Sunday night home away from home.  TRBC took over our lane like a bunch of oversized teenagers hanging out on a Friday night.  We laughed, we chatted, we teased, we drank.  Unfortunately, we forgot to bowl.  As we began our third game, I looked up and realized everyone else had finished bowling.  All the other teams had gone home.  TRBC had one game left.  Our opponents had to stay till we until we finished in order to calculate the evening’s score.   They did not look happy.  This is about the time Twinkle Toes was threatened with a bar of soap.  We stopped talking.  We stopped drinking.  We focused and bowled the fastest game in the history of TRBC.  We closed the place down. 

That was Sunday.  Now, onto Tuesday.

Due to busy schedules over the Columbus Day TRBC decided to pre-bowl on Tuesday night.  In the words of The Hoff, “Nothing good happens when Sunday is moved to Tuesday.”  I was the first to arrive Tuesday night and immediately noticed the alley had a different feel.  The lights were harsher, the crowd was smaller, the help behind the counter wasn’t as friendly.  I walked up to the counter and said I was here to bowl.  The guy looked at me and said they were full.  I looked out at the lanes and noticed only 30% were taken.  I told him my team had a reservation at 8pm.  He stared at me and said he did not have a reservation.  Did I mean candlepin?  Candlepin is downstairs.  CANDLEPIN?!?  Candlepin is for 5 year old birthday parties and first dates.  I’m here to BOWL!  I told him I was part of the Sunday night league here to pre-bowl.  Apparently, these are the magic words.  I passed the test.  He gave me a buzzer and told me he’d let me know when our lane was free. 

When I say “lane”, I actually mean “lanes.”  Pre-bowl is supposed to mimic Sunday night as much as possible.  To that end, we bowl 3 games against an imaginary team, alternating lanes each game; just as we would on Sunday’s with a real live in-the-flesh team.  Sound simple.  Not so much.  The problem is that since our imaginary team doesn’t bowl, we are bowling two games simultaneously.  As soon as the Hoff started us off on game 1, lane 32, she was immediately up again for game 2, lane 33.   Every time I looked up, it was the Hoff’s turn to bowl.  She didn’t have time to sit.  Heck, she didn’t have time to pick up her beer.  I, on the other hand, am the anchor of the team (i.e. LAST!  I actually looked that up!)  I felt like I was bowling a completely different game.  I sat. I drank. I put my feet up. Every once in awhile I got up, picked up a ball and made a feeble attempt to knock a few pins down.  I didn’t need to get up, the Hoff was up.  AGAIN!

As I sat, drinking my beer, waiting for my turn to bowl; I spotted the Hoff out of the corner of my eye.  Yes, it was her turn again!   As she leaned over to pick up her ball, I noticed her turning her head back and forth over the hand blower.  Her hair was flying.  She was trying her best to imitate D.  D., one of our Sunday night bowling friends is a shorter, bubblier version of Tia Carrere with long, think luxourious locks.  We all envy D hair.  Twinkle Toes suggested the Hoff start carrying around her own personal wind machine.  Clearly, the Hoff can rock D hair! 

We finished three games in remarkable time.  Tuesday night's pre-bowl scores:

The Hoff:  103,132,143
The Edge: 132, 110, 118
Twinkle Toes: 150, 147, 145
Flo: 85, 97, 90
Rounds of Beer: 2
Beer Spilled: None

L., the League’s treasurer, came over at the end of our game to collect our money and validate our score sheet.  She took one look at the Edge’s new-to-him shoes and promptly declared “those are going to fall apart”!  She decided to give us a bit of free advice.  In order to improve our scores, she highly recommended we invest in some well fitting bowling shoes and a reactive bowling ball with custom drilled finger holes.  Novice that I am had no clue reactive bowling balls even existed!  Apparently, there are four basic types of bowling balls:

Urethane bowling balls are softer than other makes. These bowling balls also drag on the wooden bowling lane, which increases their hook potential. For those who tend to bowl toward the gutter, this hook can help drag the ball back to the strike zone in the center of the lane. These bowling balls can be sanded or buffed to help limit the amount of hook if desired.

Reactive resin bowling balls are similar to urethane bowling balls in many ways. To create reactive resin bowling balls, small particles of resin are added to the same mixture used to make urethane bowling balls. Resin tends to be sticky, so it further increases the bowling ball’s grip on the lane and creates more hook potential. At the same time, resin bowling balls tend to skid across the oiled bowling lane and, therefore, reach faster speeds.

Particle bowling balls are reactive resin balls with small ground pieces of glass added to the mix. This glass increases the bowling ball’s grit, which helps it grip the lane. Professional bowlers generally prefer particle bowling balls because they help make spin and hook easier to control.

Plastic bowling balls are the most common type because they are the cheapest to manufacture. Made from polyester, plastic bowling balls handle intense wear and last much longer than urethane, reactive resin, or particle bowling balls. Professional bowlers avoid plastic bowling balls because they tend to skid across an oiled bowling lane rather than roll, which makes them harder to control.

I had no idea bowling was going to be such an investment!  Bonds, balls, shoes, shirts.  This is seriously cutting into my beer money.

I’m off to study the structural components of fairy princess castles.  I wouldn’t want the castle sliding into the moat, at least until the picture is taken! 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oh the pressure!

I really thought Sunday night bowling was about hanging out and drinking beer; I had no idea I'd have to bowl well and then blog about it! 


Week Four

Mayhem was the watchword of Sunday evening, as pins flew willy nilly, beers spilled decadently and Club members were accused of using "potty mouth" at the Lanes (now we know what Varsity lettered in).

Yes, week four saw the TRBC solidly at home in the league, showing their true colors and searing both competitors and the scoreboard.

First, the results:
The Hoff: 134, 142,133
Al: 110, 136*, 132
Flo: 92, 94, 130
Varsity: 141, 178 (HOLY SHIT!), 134

Second, the highlight reel (wherein Al bunny hops and claims The Hoff's game two final score of 142 as her own): Al hops to victory

Up next, musings on Tuesday's inaugural prebowl, during which The Edge receives some bad news about his shoes, and the team continues its efforts to nab the top spot and its big money payout...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Team Bidness.

Team, I thought I would sneak in this business before Varsity/Twinkle Toes blows our minds for the remainder of this week with his post-with-video, threatened for tonight or tomorrow.

First, we've got the roster to sort out for Sunday. The Hoff may "pre bowl" if she is unable to attend Sunday. Love the dedication. That leaves Al, Flo and The Edge at the Lanes Sunday, according to my best intelligence. Please confirm.

Additionally, the time has come for us to cough up "the bond." Yes, that choking noise was me. By Sunday night, four of us must pay in a two-week advance on our bowling. So, bring gobs of cash to the Lanes.

The great news is that we have determined by empirical evidence that three rounds of beer doesn't seem to affect our scores. It arguably enhances them. In fact, Flo is angling to add appetizer martinis so she can break 100 earlier in the evening. Some of us may be at the bar "a little early" Sundays. If you don't see us on our lane, search for us napping in a corner.

All this to say that if you're feeling squeamish about the bond, you can drink it off and not harm your performance (probably).