Thursday, September 29, 2016

These Old Walkin' Shoes: Set Up Like a Bowling Pin

I promised this past Sunday that today’s article might have a little bit something extra. That little extra is Howie Balaban. Who doesn’t love Howie? If you’ve followed us from the old Shenanigans days, you know how much we love Howie. Without even trying, he becomes the butt of his own jokes. Just ask him some time about Girl Scout Cookies in Iowa. Well, anyway, I think this time the joke’s on me.

Howie bowls at Medina Lanes on Maple Ridge Road in a league on Wednesday nights. Apparently, he needed another bowler for his team. He thought of me. I’m not sure why. I’m a terrible bowler. In the twenty-five years that Wendy and I have been together, I’ve bowled irregularly and poorly. I’ve beaten her a grand total of three times. Three times. She’s a good bowler. I average about 117 or so.

I have an old bowling ball and an even older bag. There was some question about whether my ball would still be good. I have to admit that I had no idea that bowling balls had expiration dates. I still don’t really think they do, but it was mentioned. I assured them there was nothing wrong with my bowling ball. I told them if each ball was good for a specific number of pins hit, then my ball would be good for quite a few more years.
Howie and Craig ready to bowl. Courtesy Medina Lanes

Last Wednesday was my first bowling date with Howie and the rest of the “Damn Yankees.” In my first game, I bowled 138, which is about 20 pins higher than normal for me. I finished the evening with a 358. Yeah, I’m that bad. Still, I was pretty impressed with myself for that first game. That’s one of my higher scores. However, the next two games were worse. That’s typical of how I bowl.

Last night, I bowled a much better series. The first game, a 148, was within four of my all-time high of 152. I had an absolutely awful second game, barely breaking the century mark with a 101. The last game of the night was a 144, a good redemption for me, and a 393 on the night. See, I told you I wasn’t a good bowler.

I like to set goals for myself. Mostly, I just set them and forget about them. This time, however, I am setting a goal that I want to achieve and keep. I am not a good bowler. I will be getting better (hopefully) as I bowl more. I have a goal of keeping my series total in excess of 400. I started out at 358 and improved by nearly 40 pins. Maybe I just had a good week. Or maybe I got lucky. Either way, I want to improve just a little bit to get into that 400 range. It’s a good goal.

I realize some of you are probably laughing. That’s fine, because honestly, my scores are pretty funny. But at least I’m trying, and I’m having a good time. Poor Howie, though. My bowling skills, or lack thereof, must drive him crazy. That makes me more than just a bit giddy. Getting Howie going is one of the highlights of my day. You should read our daily chats.

Yes, I’m sure Howie is slightly regretting his decision to ask me to join his bowling team. Although, last night I did pretty well. That feeling may solidified when he sees the costumes I have in mind for the season as it goes on. Goodwill may just be the treasure chest for every bowler in the world. It will be epic. I will post photos of Howie’s grimace. In the meantime, wish me luck. I need it, as evidenced by my scores.

Craig Bacon has thrown more strikes that gutters in the last two weeks. Don’t worry, though. His mind is still firmly in the gutter. It is our duty to keep Howie on his toes.