One night last week some friends and I were sitting around doing absolutely nothing, or maybe something a little more boring than that, when I decided I wanted to do something that involved wearing old shoes, hurling 15-pound balls and drinking beer. Could such a wondrous sport actually exist?
Twenty minutes later we entered the bowling alley and were overwhelmed by flashing strobe lights, pumping music and the actual smell of obesity. This was not what I was expecting in a bowling alley (except for the obesity thing.) Apparently there is one night a week when the bowling alley combines bowling with bad music and alien invasion. I don't know exactly why this is necessary or fun or necessarily fun. It might be possible that "fun" is actually measured by the size of the headache one gets afterwards, in which case I had a hell of a time.
The next thing we had to do was pay a phenomenal amount of money to heave balls down wooden lanes. As an added bonus we were given nasty shoes to borrow. What a deal! Can anything really be called a "sport" if it doesn't include wearing shoes that have held the sweat and fungus of hundreds of people you've never met and probably would not want to get anywhere near? I think not.
The bowling shoes I was given should have been put in either a museum or a lab for culturing bacteria. I think there should be a professional bowling shoe-smeller guy, and if he has a cardiac arrest when he smells a pair of shoes, the shoes should be retired from bowling for good. They should be put in a little bowling shoe retirement home where all the nasty shoes would hang out together instead of adding to the already oppressive foulness of most bowling alleys.
The sports community retires jerseys of professional sports players all the time, and let me tell you, it's not because the players were so good. It's because they have left such a funk in those jerseys that they need to be put in a museum somewhere just to air out.
Despite the funk, we went to our lanes and began bowling. I originally learned how to bowl at a camp that offered bowling as one of the daily activities. Needless to say, most of our time there was spent lofting bowling balls at each other. Let's just say I don't have a professional bowling background.
There are many different bowling techniques. One is to put spin on the ball, one is to push the ball lightly down the middle of the lane, and my personal strategy is to launch the ball as far as is humanly possible and hope to decapitate or maim many of the pins. I have been using this strategy for several years now, and it has done pretty well.
I think I've had a great amount of anger toward bowling pins in general ever since one was hired to kill my brother three years ago. My bowling technique is often unsuccessful in knocking down all the pins, but several of them do wet themselves. I believe the key to any sport is intimidation, and I can tell that front pin is scared out of his mind every time it's my turn.
That night we paid for the "all-you-can-bowl" offer just in case we felt the need to set up tents and start our families right there in the bowling alley. (Many of the people next to us had done this.) In our first game, I bowled rather poorly, knocking down more fellow bowlers than pins.
In our second game I finally figured out that I needed to loft the ball a little further and attempt to hit the pins on the fly. This strategy seemed to work much better. Unfortunately the high-tech scoring computer at our lane was acting as drunk as the bowlers next to us. It began completely screwing up the scoring. However, I'm very sympathetic because I would have a better chance of doing all of Microsoft's taxes correctly in Japanese than I would of scoring a game of bowling correctly. As far as I can tell, the equation for scoring a game of bowling is as follows:
Number of pins knocked down plus weight of ball hurled minus twice bowler's weight times the percent of funk in your shoes plus (number of turkeys you've eaten)(number of strikes you've thrown) divided by how many beers you've had times number of midgets in your family.
I did actually get a "goose" or a "turkey" or whatever towards the end of our bowling, but in spite of my heated argument with the manager, they wouldn't give me an actual turkey. Even with this setback I found bowling to be an exhilarating sport. However, I get the same exhilaration from dropping watermelons out a fourth story window, and I can do that without wearing funked-up shoes.