Thursday, April 24, 2008


So I've been sick for the last week or so -- a sinus infection thing that is as stubborn as its host. It usually happens once a year, so fortunately I've got the 2008 bug out of the way, though things still sound really tinny as I continue to recover. But today was the first day where I felt really, really good. Like, in a long while.

Last night I was all ambitious, thinking I would wake up fresh as a daisy at 7:30, get a workout at the gym, shower, and then head to work. I scored a 50 on that test, waking up at 8:45, showering and then hightailing it to work (Thursday is my early day). The weather has been beautiful the last few days and being able to walk to work with little to no trouble is certainly a perk. When I get to work, there is a note from Tom that Chris will be coming in to practice and wanted a pattern if possible. Since last night's PBA was still on the lanes, the hour I had scheduled for oiling now only required half that time -- bonus!

As Bowling I trickled in, Shaq asked if it was possible to prebowl after class. I told him yes, pleased with the knowledge that I would get to prebowl with someone else. You see, I hate prebowling. Besides not being a full recreation of the league experience, if I am by myself I end up rushing and generally do not bowl well. Having some to pace with helps me immensely. Plus, Shaq is a good egg so even if I don't bowl well I'll still have a good time.

Class finally ended and I gave Shaq the score sheet for prebowling. Practice went fine, with a number of errant shots made by both of us. When we finally started, we bowled TV style. This is where you bowl two frames in a row and then wait for your opponent to bowl two frames. This way each bowler gets to step back for a bit and there will be someone at the score table - two very important aspects of the game. Anyway, I was standing on board 19 and targeted 2nd arrow. I did not deviate from this position the entire session. I bowled a 236 the first game. I felt completely locked in and, despite a horrible loss of focus in the third frame of game two causing a gutterball, I regained my focus and bowled another 236. Consistent.

At this point, Shaq mentioned the possibility of me getting a triplicate. I have yet to accomplish that feat, and I agreed that 236 would be a great score to do it with. "Would that be a 7?" he asked. Realizing that he was about to do the arithmetic, I quickly said that we can figure out the math later, knowing full well that it would be a 708. I got the first strike and the second strike in my first turn. On the third frame, I sent the ball a little too far left. But the Black Widow Bite, my Platonic love, swung into the pins and managed to knock them all down. The next few shots were solid and I soon found myself with 8 strikes in a row.

I glimpsed at the clock to see that it was about five past one. "Good," I thought to myself, "Murray Ridge isn't here yet, so they probably won't be showing up at all." As soon as I finish the thought, they walk through the door. Murray Ridge is a service center for the Mentally Retarded and Developmentally Disabled. Every Thursday they come in to bowl and it is a really cool program. However, they do require bumpers, the wheelchair ramps, and aren't necessarily aware of the concept of lane courtesy. 99% of the time this is a non-issue. Today was that magical 1%. They were using lanes 5 and 6 and we were prebowling on 3 and 4. My ninth frame was on lane 3 and not an issue (strike). During the first shot of my tenth frame, Alan was waiting for me so he could pull up the bumpers. Strike. As I waited for my ball to return for shot 11, the Murray Ridge staff used that as an opportunity to pull a wheelchair up onto the approach and help the client get into playing position. I was able to shoot once they settled (strike). As I stepped up onto the approach for my final shot, I could hear Anne tell one of the bowlers "Ok, go ahead." I stepped down immediately as one of the clients grabbed his ball for a practice shot. In fairness, Anne had no idea that I had the first 11 strikes and that this was kind of a big deal. That didn't stop me from putting the ball down and saying "oh my gawwwwwwwd," whining as my "worst case scenario" unfolded before my eyes. I fanned my hand as the bowler on 5 completed his frame, thinking not about the shot so much as I thought "okay, you are locked in and it is ALL gravy at this point." I had my 7, that was what I wanted.

I get up on the approach. Shaq, Alan, Tom, Chris and one of his PBA friends are all there. I make my approach and it felt like almost all the other approaches I made during the series. The ball came off my hand the same way it had been, going over my target. As soon as I release I lock my eyes on the ball, my hand drawn to my mouth as if I am trying to remember the last item I wanted to add to my grocery list. It was a solid pocket hit - much more solid than the last time I was in this situation. Unlike last time: ALL the pins went down.

Once I calmed down and Shaq finished his game, we had Alan double check the scoring. Oddly, both games one and two had a 10-pin error, resulting in scores of 226 for both. That triplicate would have been less impressive, resulting in a 678 series. My final series: 752.

I just wish I could have been at the beginning of league tonight to see how everyone reacted to seeing the scores -- not in a braggy way, but rather to see what sort of response people would have seeing that one of their rivals bowled out of their mind. Unfortunately, it sounds like my team struggled and the only game we won was the third one. I haven't done the official tally, but I'm secretly hoping that we lose the third game just so I can razz them about "Hey, I did everything I possibly could, what more do you want?"

And I didn't have to use my AK. Today was a good day.

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