My British friends find it very amusing that I took bowling in college. Somehow it fits perfectly into their ideas about America. Personally, I think the two units of physical education that the University of Carolina required me to take were part of the well-rounded education I received. A true Renaissance Troll must be well versed in the physical as well as the mental.
So, along with a top-notch education, I left Carolina with a bowling average of around 140, which was more than enough to keep me competitive in the rare instances since when I’ve gone out bowling with friends.
Last Friday, I was down in London with a couple of workmates, setting up the company stand for a show on Saturday. With our work completed by 4PM, one of our number became obsessed with the idea of going bowling. After a bit of trouble, we managed to locate a bowling alley. It was a small, cramped, junky place, but, that early on a Friday, it was essentially empty. The ball selection was pretty meagre, and the only one I could find to fit my fingers, was a battered 10-pounder. I scored a 107 in my first game. Then I found the grove. After a poor first frame in the second game, I bowled my best game ever. I bowled a few strikes, but most often I’d take down eight or nine pins and then have to pick off the stragglers. When the smoke settled after a game ending strike, I’d scored 190. I remember once or twice bowling in the 170s, but never before had I reached such lofty bowling heights.
More importantly, a good time was had by all. Ten Pin bowling isn’t as common in the UK as in the USA. It is probably second in popularity to lawn bowling. But, it shares a lot of similarities with those other favourite British pursuits, darts and pool. All three games are wonderful excuses to gather with friends, have a few drinks, talk, laugh, and play a little sport.