Volume 2, Issue 3, The 55th Edition
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez
I'm back! I'm sure folks didn't even know I was gone, but actually I was on another one of my quests to find "friendship through bowling." The arena was the WIBC Nationals tournament, and considering the proximity, we had a warm up at the Hoinke in Cincinnati.
The hardest thing about the online world is that people seem so close. Folks sign on, they chat with people, and they feel like they are right there. When they get into the "real world" logistics of a trip, they begin to realize that Los Angeles is a LONG way from Detroit, Philadelphia, or New York. But that's what the airlines are for.
I had long ago planned to bowl WIBC with several online friends. They were considered a novelty last year, even making the WIBC program. This year I couldn't stay away so I signed up, waiting patiently for June. Another friend who has a penchant for jumping on airplanes to visit people suggested we make a detour to bowl the Hoinke, since it was within driving distance. Mind you, this friend is prohibited from bowling WIBC by his gender, so we had to find another way to include him, and the Hoinke sounded like as good a reason as any. The thing that amazes me is how much fun we can have with people we supposedly don't know.
I hear everyday about the dangers of the Internet, and how evil people lurk at every turn, but I guess we've been lucky. We're only looking for bowlers, and the ones we find and meet have been nothing but wonderful. There's a small core group that seems to do as many of these events as we can, and others who come to certain events. We tend to bowl different events with different doubles partners in an effort to "share." I've met my very best friend because of this computer, and despite the miles, and different lifestyles, I'd swear we were separated at birth.
I flew into Detroit in order to road trip it with my best friend and several from the group. Five hours of flying and five hours of driving lead to a very serious case of plane/car butt, but the laughs along the way made it all worth while.
We agreed to bowl team and doubles in Cincinnati at the Hoinke. They also offer a singles event, but the way we looked at it, we can bowl singles anywhere, and given our time constraints, we opted to forgo singles. Based on how we did, several of the bowlers who are within driving distance will go back and try it again.
The bowling is only a part of the equation, and we all realize that. At the Hoinke we had another team on the pair squabbling about our outrageous handicap (I guess none of us has delusions of bowling either the men's or the women's tours), and we just laughed at them. One person's luggage, including his bowling equipment never arrived, so he was using a new, untested ball drilled that day. The rest of us were travelling light, so we didn't have a full arsenal either. None of that seemed to matter, we were there to commune. Although the fact that we beat the high-average bowlers scratch a few times was pretty sweet.
I guess attitude is everything, and if we're having a great time, it's just as easy to shoot a 230 as it is to shoot a 130. When I have good friends who love me no matter what I shoot, it does seem to take the pressure off.
Some of us left Cincy, and travelled to WIBC. Waiting in Indy were more bowlers we knew only by screen names. This year, Internet Friends doubled from one team to two, and more friendships were made. Some bowled well, others not so well, but that wasn't the point. We did it together. After the bowling was over, some of us gathered for pizza, and soon we were packing for the airport and every corner of the United States. The good byes are always the hardest part.
When we get back, people always ask if we had fun. The answer is of course, why else would we do it? The only drawback is we try to squeeze so much into these trips that something has to give, and usually that is our sleep patterns. So we come home with huge smiles on our faces and dark bags under our eyes. Hey, at least they match my luggage and bowling bags that arrived only an hour late on the next flight.