Volume 2, Issue 2, The 54th Edition
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez
I'm going to try to doing my best Jimmy Swaggert imitation here. "I have sinned." You're going to have to imagine the tears, and the wail that goes with that line, but you get the picture. I've committed the bowling equivalent of breaking a commandment. You see, I went glow bowling, and I liked it. I'm almost embarrassed, but I won't deny it. I had a blast, and I won't apologize for it.
The conventional wisdom about any of the "fun" bowling variations is that they're not real bowling. And certainly, that is true. When loud music is blaring, and the lights are off, it's not the sport that so many bowlers hold dear. But just like there's a reason for miniature golf in this world, these forms of bowling open the sport up to others who might not otherwise participate.
For anyone who has managed to avoid hearing about Cosmic, Xtreme, or the other brand names of glow bowling, here's the scoop: They turn off the normal lights, and switch on the glow-in-the-dark black lights, play music, and during the festivities, people bowl. They might have limbo contests, or other silliness going on, but the focus is still on throwing the ball. It usually costs more than regular open bowling, but I've already seen the summer coupon specials for some of the centers advertised in the Sunday paper, and some of the deals are better than league lineage--even compared to kids' leagues. And since some of the houses around here will be hosting nonstop glow bowling during the daytime hours, it might be the only way to get a lane for folks who want to practice.
My son started his little summer league this week, and while he was bowling, the center was pretty empty. The kids in Southern California aren't out of school for summer yet, so it's not that easy to get a league floored on a weekday afternoon. I suspect more will be joining in a few weeks. My son was odd-kid out, since the other kids seemed to arrive in pairs, and he ended up on the last pair of the league. I had time, and since I bowled league right after, I thought what the heck. I needed the practice. Practice would be good for my upcoming trip to WIBC, so I got the pair next to him. Certainly it was okay for a child to like glow bowling, but being the purist I am, I should despise anything so silly and unconventional. But beneath my bowling purist facade is also a person who likes to have fun, and if I can combine fun and bowling, I'm in heaven.
Now I won't speak for ALL Cosmic/Xtreme/glow bowling ventures, because two things immediately stand out. The place wasn't overcrowded, and I liked the music they were playing. I can see if they're packing in six bowlers to a lane, it would change the scenario significantly. Likewise, it would definitely be a big drawback if a country western fan went during the headbanger's ball.
Like most of my practice sessions, I decided to pick one thing and work on it, and I decided to work on my approach. I have a tendency to race to the line as if I'd win something for getting there first, so it's always something good for me to work on. The first thing I discovered was how weird it is not to see the arrows, but that went in my favor, since I was working on my timing and staying down at the line.
The music was a nice added touch. It was hard to be upset when I blew a spare when the music was there to divert my attention. As I'd catch glances at my son on the next pair, I would see him be bopping while he was on the approach or waiting for his ball to come back. Michael's new nickname around the house will be Disco Bunny. And in his first league session in a new bowling center, he shot his highest series ever. Maybe it was the wood lanes or a different oil pattern, but then again, maybe it was the cement mixer dance he was doing between frames.
I can't say I would want to do it every week, but somehow I get the feeling I will be shoeing up to practice more often during the next 20 weeks. Now if they'd only let me bring in my own CD collection....