The bugaboo of any bowler is the 7-10 split -- those two pesky pins seemingly glued to the floor in the left-most and right-most position in the back row of pins. It's the hardest to pick up on a single roll for a spare. I saw this split a lot in my bowling days; I never got that spare.
My bowling days.... now there's a phrase I never thought I'd write. (How many of my friends reading this just found their jaw dropping?) Uh-huh. I was on a bowling league once upon a time. If you are laughing, we are laughing together as I think with amusement about this ancient historical fact of my life.
Let me explain: I grew up in a bowling town. League bowling was a pretty big deal. There were two big bowling alleys and they were usually jammed. Wait! There were actually three! Get this -- one of them was a 4 lane joint in the basement of St. Paul's Lutheran Church! It was 1/2 block from Hub's childhood home, and usually not so busy, so a great high school date destination....But I digress.
My dad bowled on a league for as long as I could remember. Friday nights. Off he would go with ball bag in hand and Mom and I would settle in for a night of TV and popcorn. I wasn't too sure what bowling was, but I loved my mom/daughter nights with Dad away.
Then, in 5th grade Girl Scouts, we had the opportunity to earn our bowling badge! I was excited! I remember all of us from our Troop piling into some other mother's big Oldsmobile (mine did not drive yet then) once a week after school to be ferried to the bowling alley where we giggled our way through several weeks of lessons and "work" toward our badges. What stands out most for me was my very first game. I rolled a zero, as in not knocking down even one pin. I was mortified, of course. You would think the odds would have been in my favor by about the 8th frame, but no. Nadda. I did earn my badge and a "most improved" designation at the end of it all. Proud me.
I moved on from there, of course, with lots of bowling dates in high school. (There wasn't all that much to do -- a movie or bowling, that was about it.)
And then, at my first job out of high school, as a purchasing clerk in a steel manufacturing office, I hit the big time; I'd worked there about 3 years when we all decided to join a bowling league!!! The office girls all got together and formed a couple of teams and off we went every Tuesday night.
Here's what I remember about that -- our bowling shirts were bright yellow with black printing of our team name (which I do not recall). My best friend and I had assumed the habit of getting "up" for the game each week, so when we walked in we thought it was outrageously funny that we looked like bumble bees buzzing around the lanes. I drank Tom Collins' in those days and bowling night was just a party of guys hanging out, drinking TC's, laughing, and occasionally caring where the ball ended up. My average was around 115, if I recall. Better than zero.
But here is my claim to fame: During that era, I was in a tournament on a Sunday afternoon after a long weekend of imbibing. I was quite hungover, but I showed up not caring about anything but getting through it. So I just stood and threw the ball on each of my turns, barely acknowledging what was happening. At the end I had rolled a 186 and was handed a trophy! To date, my personal best and a point of pride in some circles. (Mine).
All of this came flooding back today as I read in this morning's paper that a local bowling alley, a fixture since 1960, was sold and will be closing to be torn down to make way for a bank and a drug store on that corner. People interviewed, long-time patrons, are mad and sad. I get it. Bowling a perfect 300 game or consistently nailing the 7-10 split are the Holy Grails of bowling and to have to quit before mastering these challenges is grievous indeed!
At least, that's the view from here....