Good time had no matter how bowling ball rolled

This opinion column appears in the March 22, 2009 edition of the Daily Journal newspaper. Give your opinion in the comments below.

“If you can’t hear a pin drop, then something is definitely wrong with your bowling.”
- Anonymous

I went bowling with friends recently. It’s not something I readily agreed to do. I’d not bowled for nearly 30 years and I did not want to embarrass myself in front of league bowlers – or anyone else.

Before I acquiesced, I called Rebel Lanes to find out what evenings might be better for a poor bowler like myself to make an appearance.

Now, I was not the only one with bowling issues.

Sheena was concerned with the shoes.

“What’s wrong with them?” I said.

She finally made it clear that she finds it a little off-putting to put her feet into shoes that have been worn by countless others.

“It just freaks me out a little,” she said.

Still and yet, we put our quirky issues behind us – Sheena’s shoe aversion and my self-consciousness – and bowled our hearts out.

Looking back
The first time I ever bowled was in college.

Bowling was rumored to be an easy and fun way to get in some required physical education hours.

Three of my friends and I signed up.

We arrived at the bowling alley for the first class of the semester.

“If you’ve never bowled before, come back here and watch a film for the first two classes,” our instructor said.

My friends, all of whom had bowling experience, had another idea.

“Don’t watch the film,” they said. “Just stick with us. We’ll show you how and she’ll never know you haven’t bowled before.”

So I just picked up a bowling ball and did what my friends did.

The last day of the semester, the teacher came by to just check in, see how we were doing. She stood and watched as I picked up a ball.

“Have you held the ball that way this whole semester?” she said.

Indeed, I had. But my friends assured her I’d not been a bad bowler.

“Wrong fingers,” she said, but still gave me credit for the class.

And I’d not bowled since until two weeks ago at Rebel Lanes.

When I chose my ball, a lovely blue eight-pounder, I immediately picked it up with my thumb and first two fingers. But then Mrs. Newman’s words from the past shook my memory – “wrong fingers.”

For two hours, I bowled with correct fingering. Can’t say it made much difference – I bowled some strikes; I bowled some spares; and many times my lovely blue bowling ball headed straight for the gutter.

I discovered that I hook a bowling ball exactly like I hook a golf ball.

“That’s not good, is it?” a friend asked.

Maybe not.

But it’s consistent.

Contact Leslie Criss at (662) 678-1584 or leslie.criss@djournal.com.

Leslie Criss/Daily Journal