I think I was a baby faced 'tween of 12 when I joined my first bowling league. I don't recall what got me on the lanes to begin with but I do know that between the ages of 12 and 19 barely a week went by that I wasn't tossing my ball around. It started as a Saturday morning youth league. I dominated those snot nosed little nerds, or at least I do in my memories.
By the time I was 16 it was time to join my parents adult league every Monday night. My parents along with my Uncle were among the younger members if this league so when I came on-board I dropped the average age a good 80-90 years. It wasn't long before I was at the top of this adult league which didn't make some of the long term members very happy. It's not like the old men were mean to me or anything, they would just give me a hard time to my face and be your typical grumpy old man behind my back.
The most notable grumpy old man in this league was named Dick Weiner. I wish I was making that name up for the sake of a cheap laugh but that was really his name. My Dad and I always had a good chuckle about Dick. It, of course, started with his name. I'd like to think that around the time he was born (early 1900s) that both of his names weren't euphemisms for the male genitalia. If they were then his parents were just mean. Dick didn't help his cause any when he got his names tattooed on his forearms. The guy was in the Navy during, if I recall correctly, WWII. So it wasn't uncommon for Navy guys to have tattoos. But you would think a buddy would have pulled him aside and said, "Listen, Dick, you shouldn't get 'Dick' tattooed on one arm and 'Weiner' on the other. You'll look like an idiot." Nope, didn't happen. Dick Weiner was his name and tattooing nicknames for his penis on his forearms was his game.
Dick also HATED to lose to me. He could not believe that this kid was scoring higher than him. He just couldn't handle it. It's not as if he was the top rated bowler in the league before I joined. Not to say that he was terrible but he was an average bowler in this fun little league. I never figured out why it bothered him so much that I would beat him every time. He would grumble under his breath, look dumbfounded, sit slumped frame after frame just flabbergasted that a kid barely shaving could get a higher bowling score. And I loved it! I never took bowling too seriously. All I ever cared about in this league was beating Dick because it would make him go crazy.
Once I went off to college I couldn't bowl in the adult league anymore at home but I was on the James Madison University bowling team for the first semester of freshman year. One semester is all I could handle. It was college and as much as I wasn't a party animal (I wasn't a drinker until after college) there had to be more interesting and fun people to hang out with than the frat brothers from Lambda Lambda Lambda.
There hasn't been much more bowling in my life since my tri-Lamb days outside of the occassional friendly get together with friends and/or family. That was until August 31, 2015, when Rizzo and I joined a bowling league. We thought it would be a good weekly respite from the daily grind. We joined a Monday night league with our good friends the Becks. At the time of this composition we have completed one week of competition and already there are some interesting characters to observe. There is the guy I dubbed Dave Grohl that joined the league as a solo and was put on a team that doesn't seem to match his physical appearance. There is old Joe who constantly stands cross armed staring angrily at the pins as if he thinks he will get strikes simply by scaring the pins into falling down. And of course there is our team, the cool team, the team we have dubbed Boobs and Moobs (boobs for the two women who have, you know, boobs and moobs for the two men who have, you know, boobs).
Consider this an introduction to the wonderful world of bowling. I hope that a bowling league will generate lots of stories to share from the interesting people that populate the world of amateur bowling.
P.S. Rizzo would be pissed if I didn't mention that our first date was a bowling trip, so I guess there was more than the occasional friendly game between college and the current league. One day I'll tell the story of our first date that involved beer, bowling, books, soap boxes, and hot sauce. It's a pretty good story.