I had a double date last night: my daughter and one of her friends. We went bowling; their choice!
I didn’t grow up bowling. Bowling was what beer drinkers did. And beer drinkers were guys liked the Dukes of Hazards. In my Southern upbringing you were either a teetotaler (like my mom) or you sipped fine whiskey. I feel into the later category. I always felt guilty drinking beer, until I went to Pittsburgh as a graduate student. In the Steel City, beer was cheap. But I digress. I bowled twice as a kid, both times at birthday parties. In younger and wilder adult years, I bowled a few games. I never understood the attraction. And besides, to bowl seriously, I would have to give up some deeply held assumptions, so I never took up the game.
But my daughter thinks bowling is fun even if she has to use two hands, and roll the ball from under her legs, to get it down the aisle. She’s young. But a neighbor and his wife have taken her bowling a couple of times, so she’s got the routine down. She knows enough to give me pointers. Not exactly the way to endear me to the game.
So we went bowling. Since this isn’t anything I do regularly, I had no idea Wednesday night was "guy night." There were only a few women in the place, mostly those who worked there. My two girls were the only ones not smoking... Most of the lane was taken up with an all-men league. There men overweight; there were men drinking cheap beer; there were men smoking, there was even one man nearby on oxygen, who was bowling, smoking and drinking cheap beer. And he did pretty good. There were a lot more "x's" on his scorecard than mine. But that was okay, for I was the guy with two dates. The three of us were assigned the last aisle, where the air wasn’t quite as smoky, just stale.
One of the advantages of bowling with kids is that they put gutter guards down, which means that you don’t have any gutter balls. These guards can even give your ball a good bounce. My daughter got a strike on her first frame, the ball having bounced three times off the guard. One several occasions I even avoid the embarrassment of a gutter ball as my ball stayed in play. I made it into triple digits one and nearly there a second time. If my bowling score compared to my IQ, I’d be at the top of the bell curve, nothing special enough to write home about. My top score was 109. My daughter and her friend both had a game in the 80s.
We bowled two games. The other guys were reminded how good they had it, not having women with them, as they watched me untie the knots in my daughter’s friend’s shoes… As we walked outside, my daughter threw up her hands and exclaimed, "Fresh air smells so good." We headed to Dairy Queen, dropped her friend off at her house, and were home by nine.