Last Thursday was the annual department bowling outing at work. It was about what you would expect of an afternoon full of cheap beer, greasy food, green and orange shoes, more beer, the best display of cosmic lighting, coworkers busting moves to Gangnam Style, and a whole lot of people struggling to break 100 (me included). So what does this have to do with Iowa football? Nothing. Deal with it.
In the not so distant past, I used to go bowling frequently. It was a normal occurrence...expected even. I'd hard, earning a little money, and then my reward would be spending it at the bowling alley. And I used to go on some quality bowling trips. There was even this one Saturday in high school, that I was invited an overnight event sponsored by a friend's church, (a Bowling Church Saturday, or BCS, if you will), that was free bowling all night long. That BCS event was one of my best bowling experiences and thanks to some nifty laser tagging (yes, there was a laser tag arena inside of the bowling alley), that night I hoisted a championship trophy full of round, sweet, fruity bubblegum.
I used to also bowl in elite company. My friends and I would only invite the most deserving foes. The type of guys who owned their own bowling balls and were in big bowling leagues. Though of course there were also certain females that automatically qualified for an invite to every outing. The bowling was competitive and exciting.
But these days, I find myself bowling less and less. And I haven't sniffed anything like that BCS event in years. I've even found myself staying at home while my friends have all received invites to go bowling.
So it's no wonder that my game has suffered. On Thursday, though I thought I had a good game plan, I really struggled. My first throw of the afternoon went way to the outside and down the gutter. I really struggled with my accuracy for much of the day.
I found myself throwing balls consistently to the outside of the lane instead of down the middle and the results were predictably ineffective. As it turns out, attacking the outside only is not a good way to score a lot of points, especially when you can't get enough action with those outside pins and they just fall over as soon as the ball gets there without generating any extra points by knocking over adjacent pins.
I also had a hard time finishing frames. I'd get a decent result on my first ball to set up a makeable spare conversion, only to miss a wide open pin with a ball gone far too wide of the target. And even more frustrating, I barely improved as the games and frames progressed on. I was making the same mistakes in the 9th frame as the 1st and failed to make any effective adjustments.
With all those points left on the lane, the results weren't pretty. My average score per game barely broke 100...an average far lower than probably any of my outings in the past decade. I've never been a juggernaut when it comes to scoring, but I've been decent and had my share of high scoring games in the past.
But in the end, a bowling is bowling, and I had fun. And, while I'm still at home here in Iowa and am not spending my December in Florida or Arizona or someplace warm, at least I got to go bowling.