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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Strike That!

I did it for the kids.

Doesn’t that sound altruistic?

In truth, it had nothing to do with the kids. It was about fun and friendship.

I’m talking about bowling last night with some other moms from my kids’ school. It rocked!

There were four of us and we had a ton of fun. We went to the same bowling alley I’d been to the last time I bowled (nearly a year ago). After last year’s bowling session I blogged about what a blast it was and made a mental note to go more often. I’m so glad my friends set up this get-together because I’m not going as often as I’d like. On a Friday night that place is packed.

Thank Heavens I’m not competitive when it comes to bowling because my score was quite low. I came in last. Both games. But who’s counting?! You want low numbers when it comes to blood pressure and cholesterol, but low numbers are not the goal when it comes to bowling. Still, I laughed at my gutter balls and bantered with my friends. It wasn’t about getting great scores. It was about doing something fun with people I like. I hadn’t spent time with these friends without plenty of kids milling about so this was new territory. We chatted about the kids and life, cheered each other on, gave high 5s and plotted about the next bowling night.

Toward the end of our second game a couple started their game at the next lane. They brought something with them that I never would have expected. I double-checked. No, I wasn’t mistaken. They’d brought a doll. I asked them if I could take a photo and they laughed and told me the back story about their mascot. It had been a prize in one of those machines that has a giant claw that you manipulate in order to grab the toy you want. I’m not sure whether this doll was from a bowling alley toy machine but somehow the doll became the couple’s mascot and accompanies them every time they bowl. I was charmed by this quirky tale and snapped a photo, knowing I’d want to share the story of the bowlers and their unlikely lucky charm. But why shouldn’t a KISS doll be their talisman?
It was such a fun evening. I love the down-to-earth vibe of bowling. People do it because it’s fun—not because it’s a place to schmooze with business associates. People who are drawn to bowling go because it’s entertaining. It’s so different from night clubs. Going bowling is not about being seen, showing off expensive clothes or a designer purse, establishing a pecking order. If the world sometimes feels like a proving ground, bowling alleys are the great equalizer. No one is there to put on a fashion show. Bowling puts everyone on the same field because everyone is literally in the same shoes. Maybe bowling shoes are the equivalent of the haircuts soldiers get on their first day in the military. Everyone is in the same boat, has the same tools, and that’s a good thing. Bowling is a great backdrop for growing friendships. Unlike golf, you don’t need fancy equipment or a whole day available for it. Bowling doesn’t take much time, the rules aren’t complicated, it’s unpretentious and it is fun. Last night we had a lot of laughs. I’d share the details, but you know what they say: what happens at the bowling alley STAYS at the bowling alley!

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