Bowling; I Blame the Shoes
Not ready to join a Moose Lodge
Al Carlos Hernandez
Last week, I once again tried to get the hang, the gusto, of bowling and went to a local alley with a group of casual friends. We had a reasonably good time, but I am not ready to join the Moose Lodge.
Published on LatinoLA: May 9, 2005
I have three or four king pin humiliating experiences under my belt and was in no position to give any advice, suffice to say; rent the whack shoes, don?t try it in Stacy Adams, and try to knock them all down the first time, so know one will try to "coach" you.
Some families have a tradition of bowling as a culturally honored activity and many have the hubris to tout wacky facts about the uncle had two three hundred games, or Dad/Mom/Whoever was a member of 9 teams at once.
You hear disjointed, inane, often pointless stories about some cousin who angled a split, then picked up a spare in the last frame which gave him a pin up to win the tourney. The suds was a-flowing...
A word to bowling-caholics, it is virtually impossible to impress an urbanite with bowling lingo, it?s like wearing a pair of overalls and a bow tie.
From where I come from, any public display of math skills was avoided like the plague. The computer kept the score, so that score keeper could keep from getting sucker punched.
My Dad worked at a bowling alley as a young man, but never encouraged us to take it seriously. This was years before the invention of those aerosol shoe disinfectants, and automatic pin setters.
Bowling is now computerized sanitized and Joe lunchbox friendly. This alley which looked like a wooden parking lot had a mug shot of Rodney Dangerfield up on a TV screen in a red Vegas tuxedo mugging you if you rolled a gutter ball. I saw his face more than once. He was the only guy there I could relate to.
During college, my friends and I hated bowling because it was one of Richard Nixon?s favorite pasttimes, he even had an alley built in the white house. Tricky Dick was wrong about Viet Nam but maybe right about bowling. I saw lots of folks my age trying to get their roll on.
Lifelong bowlers assume a smug often nerd-like bravado as soon as they put on their pastel paneled shirts and lace up their special education looking Ringling Brothers styled shoes.
I do however like those Silver Lake chic bowling shirts, the kind you can buy at the Segunda (Thrift store) the ones with the names like Buddy, Lucky and Ace embroidered over the left front pocket.
There should be some standard bowling rule that docks someone who owns their own ball, bag and shoes a few dozen pins per game, and a warning ticket from the fashion police.
Bowling to me is very much like golf, in that any competitive activity that can be accomplished in everyday street clothes, in my opinion cannot be considered a real sport.
Real sports are Baseball, Football, Basketball and Soccer. It seems reasonable that any sport that you can play in church clothes, which cannot cause grave injury couldn?t be that physically challenging, and should be categorized as para-sport.
What is great about bowling is that it is the most multi-ethic activity I have ever seen. Every race represents, and bowling is no respecter of ethnicity, there is no racial dominance in this para-athletic endeavor. Bowling teams represent churches, businesses, social organizations, political ones, and is no respecter of gender either.
If you can bowl, know how to work the shirt and the shoes, someone will want you on a team. I have been given no offers at this time.
Bowling has a certain decorum that is supposed to be adhered to. You have to be quiet when someone is about to take their shot so they can concentrate. The game would be more fun if you could tackle them or talk more smack, or hurl comical insults like a pick up three on three basketball game at the park.
It would also be helpful if the pins could be painted to look like political figures, DMV clerks, IRS agents and insurance salespeople.
Al Carlos Hernandez:
Al Carlos can't dance either.