Volume 3, Issue 20, The 124th Edition
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez
There's an old bowling joke that asks: "What's the difference between a bowler and a puppy?" And the answer is "At some point, the puppy learns to stop whining." It's not the funniest joke, and not necessarily the most accurate, but sometimes I have to wonder why people bowl if all they do is complain.
I was subbing last week on a night time travel league. An ABC director asked me to sub on his team when they hit my "home" center. It wasn't until after I got there I realized I'd be subbing with one of the desk people from my center. Then in comes another employee to sub in their anchor position. I knew I was in for a night of good-natured razzing.
Then I met the other team. Four nice guys, probably anywhere else, but I soon realized it wasn't gonna be a fun night. We started bowling, and almost immediately the whining started. The lanes. The house. The other team's anchor could not get over the fact that the guy on the team I was subbing on actually worked at the center, implying that gave him some sort of advantage. What he didn't know was that both subs on the team were the head mechanic and the junior coordinator at the SAME center.
At face value, readers might think he had a point. Copious amounts of practice and knowing the center's quirks might be an advantage. Then again, looks can be deceiving. The head mechanic admitted to me he bowls about once every three months. It's not that he doesn't like to bowl, but with a toddler and working 50+ hours a week, the last thing he wants to do is spend more time in the center. And I, junior coordinator, did I have an unfair advantage? Hardly. I hadn't bowled a 9 p.m. league in eons. And given my family and work situation, I've chosen to split a league with my husband and bowl every other week. And the league I bowl in has a fresh shot, so I'm hardly used to the flying shots of a late league with foursomes. With a baby and a son that starts school far too early in the morning, trust me when I say, we were barely out of the first game when it was past my bedtime. And actually, the employee/league member they were giving all this hell to doesn't bowl at ALL in the center.
As the night wore on, the grumbling got louder. The opposing team won the first game by 28 or so pins, with their lead off shooting in the 250s. But the second game we won, and their games slowly seemed to come apart. Did it ever occur to this team to adjust? Obviously not. It was easier to say how bad the carry was at this center. Nevermind that our team was now stringing strikes in bunches of three, four, and five at a time. By the third game, the lanes were a bit more challenging--but that was for both teams. But why try to switch lines when you can continue to berate the unknown head mechanic (even while he's sitting on your pair and anyone within earshot is laughing at you?). Our team would alternate by jokingly blaming the lane man for every bad shot we threw, and thanking the mysterious lane man for everything that carried.
It finally got a little awkward as the other team got grumpier, and we moved to the settee areas and kept it pretty quiet ourselves. I was happy to help my friends win two of the three points that night.
I'll never be the tip writer that George Freeman is, but if I can offer one piece of advice to bowlers everywhere it will be to accept what's given to you, and if you can't change it, get over it. Whining about who you're bowling, where you're bowling, or how bad you're losing just means you've taken the easy way out and given up. And if that's the case, just stay home, concede the points, and save everyone the time of hearing you whine all night.