Once upon a time, in a bowling alley far, far away, there was a young lad who could make a bowling ball smashing against a group of pins look like art. Or at least I thought that's what I looked like.
I was a bowler. I had my own ball and even took a bowling class in college. After all, I liked the tough classes. For my final, I averaged a 200 over three games. I made an A and praise from the "teacher" and glares from my classmates since we were graded on a curve.
But my bowling career went away after that. I can't even remember why I put my bowling ball away and started wearing solid colored shoes.
I bowled again about 10 years or so ago. I don't remember much except my arm hurt the next day. I'm sure I bowled like a pro but the great thing about getting old is you tend to forget things.
That's why whenever I was asked to bowl in a charity event I didn't hesitate before accepting. Bowling is just throwing the ball down the lane so I didn't expect any problems. No, I didn't expect to bowl a perfect game, but I was confident I wouldn't embarrass myself either.
I ordered a pair of size 10 1/2 bowling shoes and putting on the ugly things I could only wonder why they were so hideous. Even a fashion-idiot like myself knows that red, black and tan don't go together. Then again I guess nobody will steal the shoes, but really, who wants a pair of multi-colored bowling shoes?
I slid the awful things on my feet and found they were a little too big and had several tears in them. I was given the perfect pair.
Then it was time to pick the perfect ball. The selection was slim but finally I found a lime green ball that molded perfectly to my grip. Well actually it was a little tight in the fingers and thumb but as I said, the selection was slim and I'm not one to lay blame on an inanimate object.
Then I waited and watched as I was grouped with five other guys, all younger and apparently well practiced in bowling. Our team leader even brought his own ball and wiped it off between each throw, because nobody likes handling dirty balls.
Finally it was my turn to bowl. I confidently stepped up, took my lime green ball, did a Fred Flintstone twinkle down the lane and tossed the ball. Nine pins fell. Easy as pie.
The lime ball returned and I repeated the process, picking up the spare and returned to my seat with a slight strut. All was well.
My second frame started well too. The ball rolled smoothly down the lane, crashed into the balls but left me with a split. Tough, but I felt confident I could drop the pins, return to my seat a hero and be talked about for years to come.
As the ball left my hand I remembered exactly why I stopped bowling all those years ago. A sharp pain started at my elbow and ran all the way to my fingertips. Meanwhile the ball went right in between the pins, to which my bowling partners all threw up their arms like a football referee signaling a good field goal.
So much for returning a hero. The stupid lime green ball didn't roll the way I thought it would. Maybe it was shaped like a lime and not a ball. But I was more worried about my arm.
The pain didn't stop once I released the ball. It continued well into the next throw and the throw after that and even hurt while I was sitting in the back, nursing my beer and pride. After a few more throws, my fingers just tingled.
It is hard to throw a bowling ball with numb fingers. The ball takes off and you have no idea where it is going. Sometimes it goes right down the middle, other times it takes off to the right. More often than not, it went to the right.
My teammates kept telling me to move to the right. I guess they wanted to see me throw the ball in the other lane. It's great having friends.
I wasn't helped by the fact my lime green ball was afraid of the pins. I swear the ball tried to stop as it got closer and closer to the pins, veering off to hit the least amount of them whenever possible. I grabbed my friends orange ball a couple times and threw it but it seemed to have some unusual attraction to the gutter. Maybe I should have wiped them off before I threw them. Stupid dirty balls.
I was fortunate that the computer kept the score for the world to see. It would have been difficult for me to add my scores myself, since I had numb fingers. Needless to say I wouldn't have needed to remove my hideous shoes and use my toes. I should have just drawn little lines for the occasional pins I knocked over.
I was never so happy to see the scoreboard turn off and them inform us our night was over. Fortunately I'm old and I have already forgotten my scores, but I realized that my bowling days are behind me. I'm more suited for golf where the low score wins. But then again, I'm old and I may forget that I am an awful bowler. Maybe I should have kept those ugly shoes to help me remember.