When Life Gives You Bowling Make Bowlingade (Part I)
Most of us that joined the bowling team at Ridley Junior High in 1985 did so for one reason: FREE. In our lower middle class world, gratis weekly bowling offered some respite from the daily waves of suburban ennui. The two or so hours after school that we spent at The Lanes were two hours not spent watching Scooby Doo re-runs or smoking hash out on the train tracks. This, of course, left 4 other days for watching Scooby Doo re-runs and smoking hash out on the train tracks, but that's another matter.
While the majority of us showed up just to kill time, a tiny, elite group of students really came to play. The head among this clan was Kevin C. - a humble, unassuming young man who could and would routinely throw 200+ games. Watching Kevin was to experience a clinic in skill and poise, hitting strike/spare/spare/strike/strike repeatedly with stunning self-possession.
Guys like me had little chance against the Kevins of the school. My average was in the 120s, with a fluke, one-time personal best somewhere in the low 150s. But somehow my paltry overall performance, though low by even most middle school standards, qualified me as an alternate to the '85 year end championship. Short of a miracle, however, I was destined to be sent packing come the post season.
And sure enough, behold: destiny called. Kevin fell suddenly ill and yours truly was tapped for the big game. Knowing full well that I was grossly outmatched, I came into the competition just glad to have the opportunity to play. Shockingly, two games into the three game match, I was told that I was leading the pack - but not by much. Finally after a decent (for me) yet largely unremarkable third game, they came around with the final scores and tally.
My guess is that with Kevin gone, and a chance at the trophy suddenly attainable, all the ringers choked. I, of course, had nothing to lose. Average but consistent won the day.
Yeah I know, smartyfart, a real Cinderella story par excellence. You saw it coming all the way (fuck you).
But it gets better. How much better you ask?