Bowling update


I'm not making this up

The story line: Retired gentlemen of a certain age and utter lack of recent experience decide to join the summer bowling league as a lark. With one week left in the season, the Brunch Bunch — as they dubbed themselves — cling to a half-game lead for first place.

Improbable as it seems, our rag-tag bowling team has been in first place (of 16 teams) for most of the summer. We entered last night's round with a one-game lead over the "Big Hookers" (much to Brad's dismay) and the "Manginas", tied for second place with 30 wins each.

Last night's competition with "By That Much" was spirited. They have almost as much fun as we do, and care even less, if that's possible. Two of the women on the team bowl in slow motion: They approach the line, pause, then gently prod the ball toward the pins, after which they turn around and walk back. Natalie usually has time to take her seat before the ball ever gets to the pins. But the amazing thing is, they get very lively pin action, resulting in a fair number of strikes. At the end of the night, each team had won one game and tied the third, but the Brunch Bunch also won for total pins, giving us 2½ points for the night.

Meanwhile, the Manginas surged into second place with three wins for the night, ahead of the Big Hookers, who split their games. The Manginas hung around while we finished, cheering for By That Much. All in good fun, of course!

There is a very simple secret to our success: We started out soooooooo bad that we were given enormous handicaps. That being the case, if we bowl just a few pins over our averages, we win because of the huge number of pins the other team has to give up before the first ball is even rolled. And we have all improved: all four of us now have averages in the triple digits.

Last night I took my camera along to record some of the festivities.

RealRéal is our captain. He bought his own bowling shoes and ball, and he intends to play in the winter league as well. He is prone to make very entertaining faces and gestures at the completion of his turn at bat. Video (Quicktime .mov, 2.7Mb)

Ken Ken got a C when he took bowling in college to satisfy a PhysEd requirement. He hunkers down at the start of his approach and ends each throw with a sort of springing leap, like the ballet movement jeté. Video (Quicktime .mov, 3.5Mb)

Bob Bob has had a gimpy leg all summer long, but that has not impaired his ability to take out the 7- or the 10-pin while leaving all the rest standing. Video

Paul Paul is an erratic bowler, capable of making strings of strikes — four in a row one night — or, alternately, throwing consecutive gutter balls in the same frame, as illustrated here in the 7th frame. Oops!

Natalie Natalie is on the By That Much team, shown here walking back with apparent disinterest after coaxing her ball down the alley. It would be a strike. When I showed her this clip, she said, "It's so slow!" and her team-mates chimed in as one, "It's always that slow!" Video (Quicktime .mov, 2.5Mb)

Next week is the final "position round" when we will play the second-place Manginas for bragging rights (I guess). They promise it will be different than the first time we played, when the Brunch Bunch won all four.

It's true they all have averages much higher than ours, but we have the big handicaps. You just never know. As my statistics professor used to say, "Rare events do happen."