Friday, June 22, 2018

Middle-aged Athlete


"But you don't seem like the type of person who would be a bowler."
Hmm. I'm fairly sure my new friend meant well. But I never found out his reasons for saying that to me. His comment made me think.

What type of people bowl? People like you? Like me?

I've been bowling in leagues for about twelve years, off and on.
I'll tell you what kind of people bowl. 
Wild hair and laughter,
 right after my first 200 game. 

Inexperienced, bad bowlers do. Some of them don't even know what weight their ball should be. What about technique? Technique-schmechnique! They just try to keep the ball out of the gutter and hit some pins occasionally.

That describes my bowling skill level in 2006, when a friend invited me to join her team. I initially declined, saying "I'm no good! I'll bring you all down!" But my friend persisted and insisted. She assured me that she had a very low average too, but none of the others cared.
They were all doing it just for fun.

So I reluctantly agreed to join their all-women team. I'll admit, though, it was exciting to try something new! I'd let myself get too comfortable in my ruts.

I was not disappointed. My girls made me feel so welcome and I thoroughly enjoyed myself! I learned some basic scoring and lane etiquette, and yes, I even improved my technique. That was the beginning of my career as a middle-aged athlete.

So- what other types of people bowl?

There are the very serious folks who bring wheeled bags containing several specialized balls. They consistently roll games which are well above 200. They don't talk much while competing and they rarely crack a smile.

I appreciate the huggers. These are the league peeps who seem to know everyone. When they aren't bowling, they make the rounds to all the teams and give pats on the back, smiles and hugs to all their buddies. It's a camaraderie thing!

Beer drinkers? What? On bowing night? Well, of course!
There are plenty of people who don't indulge at all. And the majority of those who drink do it very responsibly. However...

I remember the guy who became a disco king after a few cold ones. He'd start the night standing at his team's table, tapping his foot and swaying to the music. By the third game, he'd be in a conspicuous spot, doing a pelvic thrust dance. NOOO! What's been seen cannot be unseen!!

People of all ages bowl. One of the best bowlers I've ever seen was thirteen years old. I'd watch in awe as he rolled strike after strike. He rarely missed and he made it look so easy!

Just a few weeks ago, I met a friendly woman on our opposing team. I learned that she is 98. Yes- two years under 100. (I thought I heard her wrong the first time.) Inspiring!

There are wealthy bowlers and there are some who can't afford their own ball or shoes. There are friendly ones and snobby ones, business owners and unemployed. And everyone in between.

I sure appreciate this sport and the variety of interesting, terrific people I've met through the years. I've made a couple of very close friends and many fun memories!

And for the record...
Pre-school aged tots are the most adorable bowlers of all, with their short legs and tiny bowling shoes. It's so cute to see them lugging the ball to the lane, dropping it with a loud clunk, then puuushing it with all their might.
A pin fell! YAY!!


So you see, there is not a "type" of person who bowls. Well, on second-thought, maybe there is. I think it's for the "people-person" types, like me.