I’ve never been a great bowler. In fact, I’m sure that anyone with even the pitching skills God gave a rutabaga could probably manage a more impressive score. But after two days of riding on a bus with only temporary stops to tour a college campus or two, I thought the students needed something other than drooling on a vinyl seat and watching tractor trailers rush by their window to occupy their time. So my friend Deidre made us a reservation at a Tuscaloosa bowling alley, and we stormed the lanes.
I was slotted to bowl with one other chaperone and three teenagers, and remarkably enough, I wasn’t the worst one on the team. To label this faint praise would be the epitome of understatement. It’s almost like bragging about not having the worst case of leprosy at the colony. Let’s face it: when your toes and earlobes start to fall off, is there really any triumph to be had?
I think the root of the problem is in my form, or lack thereof. Most people approach the lane systematically and establish some sort of choreographed pattern before releasing the ball. I look more like a person caught having a convulsion, and once the seizure ends at the line and I hurl the ball in the general direction of the pins, preferably those in my own lane but I’m making no promises on accuracy, I always count the endeavor a success if A) I’m still on my feet after the release and B) I didn’t nail myself in the calf on the follow-through. Unfortunately, I only accomplished 50% of my objectives during my recreational endeavors, which was a number giving serious competition to my score.
I also blame my lack of competitive edge on the footwear inflicted on the participants. As a person with a deep appreciation for cute, sophisticated and even sexy shoes, every time I glanced down at my piggies I got my feelings hurt, and how can a person be expected to perform at an athletically superior level when she’s in a fragile emotional state? The distractions of a perfectly good pair of skinny jeans ruined by Naugahyde lace-ups were simply too much to bear.
So I did the best I could, consoled myself with some concession stand pizza, which wasn’t half bad, and walked out of there with a top score of 91. It wasn’t the triple digit accomplishment for which I had hoped, but at the end of the day, I know who I am as well as my shortcomings. And at least I walked out of there in my own Keds.
© 2013 – Traci Carver