Volume 1, Issue 10
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez
When parents have a child, they hope for healthy. Some hope for a boy and some hope for a girl. I'll admit health was good, and having a boy was better. I honestly never understood Barbie. We all have dreams, but in terms of having my son in 47 different types of lessons each week, I'm not that kind of parent.
First I held him out of junior leagues on principal. Being an active child, there's nothing more unfair than asking a three-year-old to sit and wait their turn before they are able to sit that long. My attention span isn't that great, so I can't ask someone that tiny to do what I wouldn't. I've gagged over proud parents putting their two-year-olds in league just to say they were the youngest. That never appealed to me. Heck, I've got my own trophies, thank you. But as he started school, I kept waiting for him to ask to join a league.
My husband and I would go practice each week and occasionally I could coax Michael to throw a game, and then he would quickly run off in search of a new pinball machine or "shooting game" to take his fancy. At least he was bowling, I thought. But quietly, deep in my soul, the nagging had begun. My bright, funny child had been bowling many times, and it never stuck. I'd always joked to people about creating bowling "stock" since my husband has averaged well over deuce for as long as I've known him, and I've learned to carry my weight in the average arena too. People would ask if it would bother me if my son didn't bowl, and I'd laugh and say of course not. But how could he NOT bowl?
Last year he finally said the magic words to me, "Mom I would like to go bowling more than I would like to watch cartoons." I think I ran a few stops driving over to the center to get him signed up. But my enthusiasm for the game didn't translate to the first grader. The reality of missing cartoons nearly EVERY week had proven to be quite disallusioning to a child that can sing every School House Rock cartoon and can recite the plotlines to nearly any episode of Rugrats. I had even reconsidered not "reupping" him for the next year. I figured I didn't want to be the bowling version of a stage mom.
Salvation came last Thursday in the form of a 10 lb. Red Pearl Hammer. Mind you, this ball is probably close to ten years old, and has been drilled, plugged, and redrilled many times. I'd been mentioning to my pro shop guys that I'd like to have matching equipment with my son, not unlike a dear friend has with her daughter. Finding matching 14 and 10 lb Pink Hammers must be incredibly difficult, but she'd done it, so how hard would it be to find a 10 lb. Red Pearl?
I had planned on waiting to have it fitted, but the look on his eyes was more than enough. He's been apprehensive to make the transition from bumpers to regular lanes. But after having his ball fitted I went down the lanes to practice a bit. Michael had inadvertently left his socks at home. This is his usual ploy that he doesn't want to practice. The grief on his little face made me realize this was the real thing. Three dollars and a pair of women's footie socks later, Michael was bowling. He didn't WANT bumpers, and miraculously he didn't need them. After 2 games, he insisted I throw my Red Pearl. So I did. He's definitely my child. Bowling didn't come easy to me, but his final scores sans bumpers were 53 and 71. He's had games like that WITH bumpers.
Friday afternoon at the bowling center, junior bowlers bowl free practice. Michael hasn't wanted to go in months (despite the fact he did get my "cheap" gene that says if it's free, you take advantage of it). This week, Friday morning came, and I was running behind for several errands. Michael proceeded to get dressed, making sure this included socks, and managed to pack the car with both his bowling bag and his new ball in the box (mind you, without setting off my car alarm). Throughout the day, as I was meeting deadlines, he'd ask how long was it until 3:30, or if he could see the clock, he'd ask for reassurance that he'd be there on time.
One of those errands was to a center with afternoon junior leagues. This fall, he can bowl on Thursdays and have his Saturday mornings back. The least I can do for the littlest bowler in my family is give him back his cartoons.
"Conjunction Junction, what's your function...."