Bowling (Again)

Saturday, over dinner, Good Man said, “I want to go bowling tomorrow.”

I stared at him. The three pre-Grandpa times we went bowling together, I had to beg Good Man to go with me. “Really?”

“I think the lanes are narrower here,” he said.

“No, same size. It’s just that Grandpa taught you how to bowl and now you like it.”

“Yeah, that too.”

***

We went bowling with Grandpa twice at the bowling center he took over nearly 30 years ago (Treasure Lanes, now my uncle is the primary manager, since Grandpa retired about five years ago). Both times we bowled three games. Grandpa taught us how to pick the ball properly, a little lane etiquette, how to adjust where we stood to pick up pins, as well as how to bowl.

“Seriously, I can’t just pick up the ball by sticking my fingers in it?”

“No, do risk dropping it on your foot.”

He also complained that women always wear bowling shoes too small. “Your bowling shoe needs to be a half-size bigger than a regular street shoe. So when we mark a shoe a 9, it’s really a 9 1/2. The shoe needs to be bigger so your foot can slide. I got so tired of women not listening, buying smaller shoes and then complaining when their toes broke the fronts of the shoes!”

Grandpa also showed us how fingers should fit in a ball. He picked up his bowling ball with two fingers and curled it into his palm. “You try it,” he said.

“Grandpa. There is no way I can pick up a bowling ball with two fingers.”

After our last bowling session with Grandpa, Good Man had broken 100 for the first time. I, however, was not doing as well. Grandpa patted me on the shoulder and said, “You need to find one style and go with it, because you are trying to change too many things.” My aunt joked that was code for “find another sport.”

***

The night before we left Florida, we went to a local Italian restaurant together. I had convinced Grandpa to let us treat them. At the end of the meal he wanted to leave the tip. We decided to arm wrestle for it.

Grandpa beat me.

I am both ashamed and awed to admit that.

Good Man shrugged. “What do you expect? He can lift up bowling balls with two fingers.”

I pulled the stubborn granddaughter card and paid the tip anyhow.

***

Last night we went bowling. The local place has all you bowl Sun-Thurs for $6.99 plus shoes after 9 pm. The lanes weren’t as well-kept as Grandpa’s lanes, I don’t think. But hey, we made do.

Good Man’s scores beat mine overall, which made him happy since he was in a one-sided competition with me. Over eight games his average was 99 and his three above-100 games were 120, 102 and 113.

I was trying to get over 70 consistently, since my previous three games had been something like 40, 80, 50. All of my games were above 70, so I was rather pleased. My average was 90 and I had two above-100 games, which were 103 and…139.

Now that 139 was a lot of luck, but I was thinking of Grandpa’s advice. Don’t think so much. Relax. Look at your mark, not the pins. I wish he’d been there to see it!

In fact, when either of us messed up, we’d scold each other like Grandpa. “You were holding the ball!” “Do you know what your mark was? Because it wasn’t where you put the ball.” “You’re thinking too much!”

At one point, Good Man landed a pin in the gutter (beyond the reach of the sweep). A few frames later, a pin ended up on the lane.

I went to the service desk to tell them about the pin. While I was waiting, a woman was there to meet her friends. The clerk asked what size her shoe was. “Do they run big or small?”

The clerk sighed and said large.

“OK, I’ll take a 6 1/2,” she said.

I tsked her in my head.

There was a family of five bowling next to us. A teenager went to pick up her ball the wrong way and…dropped it. I looked at Good Man, my eyes wide. I guess Grandpa was right.

Once, Good Man hit one pin and we thought that was it. A few seconds later, five pins decided to jump up in the air and fall over.

“Did you see that?”

“That was weird.”

I managed to pick up a 7-10 split, which was some impressive luck. Good Man is getting really good at picking up the 10 pin for a spare.

At one point I had the 1, 5, and 8 pins standing. Somehow I managed to knock down the 5, but nothing else.

“Did you see that?”

“That was weird.”