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The Right Approach...Views on the world of bowling.

Volume 3, Issue 3, The 107th Edition
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez

      Something happened a couple weeks ago, that's never happened while I was bowling. It was a bright, crisp Saturday morning, and I was coaching away down on the bumper lanes. The kids had reached the tenth frame of their first game, and the power went out. It went out in two stages, first it seemed the lights over head went out, then the scorers and pin setters ran out of juice. The sounds of the bowling center went from the constant din of bowling, to silence, to murmuring of parents and children.

      First of all, my maternal instincts clicked in, and I ordered the kids to the settee areas. I stood in front of the scoring console, and counted the heads. Thankfully, we're on the high end of the house, near the restaurant, so the wall of windows illuminated the settees just enough to see their little faces.

      I reassured them that the lights had only gone out, but it was better to stay in one place. One of the quieter three-year-olds announced he wasn't scared of the dark, and while that was good news, I figured I better keep them busy before they started to fidget. We started talking about Halloween costumes, and suddenly the entire group was eager to chatter. We had Peter Pan, Batman Forever, cheerleaders, and several ghouls in our midst. We talked about where everyone was going to go trick-or-treating and the conversation kept flowing.

      Gradually the older bowlers started to wander around and explore the concourse and the pitch black bathrooms. The mechanic and porter were running around with flashlights checking out the electrical box, and running back up front to report back to the general manager. One of the parents pointed out that the bumper kids were the only ones staying still. But not all the parents were there, and I wasn't in a position to let them meander off.

      I've been bowling 15 years, and during that time, I've heard horror stories of the power going out. I'd prepared the parents that we'd probably lost the first game scores. Over the years, I've heard of power outages during league, and if something wasn't written down, the scores were always lost. We'd come to a consensus if the power came back on, the kids had already been there quite some time, and we would probably just let them bowl their second game. The bumper kids only bowl for fun, not competition, so thankfully we didn't have any overzealous parents worried about wins and losses.

      Finally, the GM came down and said it appeared a transformer down the block had blown, and the power would be out anywhere from an hour to four hours or longer. He offered the parents free game coupons for their inconvenience, and the children would rebowl next week. As I handed out the last of the free games, the lights came back on. It took maybe another 15 minutes to get the machinery back up and running.

      To my surprise, the scores came back up when the scorers came on. It turns out, the GM had invested in a $100 battery back up. While I'm sure he did it for his adult leagues, it made the parents' day that the scores weren't "wasted." I kept telling the parents this would be the one day the kids would remember years from now. Sure, over the years they'll remember the trophies and the high games, but I know kids. They'll remember every detail of the day the lights went out.

Gotta Split,


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