17 March 2011

Bowling For Asians

         I am not a sports person.  My idea of sports is sitting at a bar, drinking high caloric beers and watching the game on a TV larger than the state of Rhode Island.  I do not enjoy kicking, throwing, or hitting balls.  I do, however, enjoy kicking, throwing, and hitting things.  Just not balls for sport.  I guess you could say I'm just not that into balls.
            This includes balls of any kind—man balls or sport balls.  There's nothing about them that I enjoy.  Lately, my partner Emily has been trying to convince me to start playing tennis with her.  At our apartment complex, we have four tennis courts, two pools, hot tubs, and a basketball court.  The only thing that sounds remotely appealing to me is the pool on a hot summer day or the hot tub when I'm trashed late at night and have friends over.  Tennis? No thanks.
            Tennis is probably one of the most boring sports ever, besides golf.  I mean, who goes golfing? Seriously?  The only appealing thing about golf is cruising around the links on a golf cart and getting smashed while doing it.  Mini golfing is barely fun so I can't imagine real golfing.
            Steffi Graf, I am not.  My sister and I used to pretend we knew how to play tennis as kids, but most of the time we would just hit the balls as hard as we could instead of volleying the ball back and forth to each other.
            I give Emily props for wanting to pick up a new sport.  It's not even that I don't want to play sports.  Well, okay. Maybe it is. But it's more that I'm so uncoordinated, I know I wouldn't be able to play the game the right way!  And I'm not trainable either.  You could give me lessons, stand behind me and teach me how to swing/kick/throw, give me treats, and even show me a million videos and I still would NOT catch on. 
            I don't like to pretend I can do something I know I can't.  Like all the asshats who try out for American Idol even though they know they cannot sing.  You may say practice makes perfect, which I agree with to some extent.  But I know what I'm capable of, and sports are not one of them.
            Besides that, there are only a few months out of the year you can do outside activities in South Florida before you sweat so much and collapse on the ground in a puddle of clothes, sweat, and tears.  And running around on a hot tennis court under the Florida sun is not my idea of fun.
            I have many reasons for not being a balls person.  Or a sports person.  First of all, I am more uncoordinated than a legless gymnast who suffers from vertigo.  In high school, I took a Tae-Bo class and I could never get the rhythm of moving my arms and legs the right way.  To an onlooker, I'm sure I looked like a midget having a grand mal seizure standing up. 
            Secondly, I no longer have the athletic build I once had in high school and college.  My body can barely comprehend putting one foot in front of the other to walk, let alone run, jump, and skip, all skills needed to play most sports.  I've never had a Jilien Michael's physique, but I was relatively physically fit in my younger years.  Now, I'm just thankful that I'm not a contestant on the Biggest Loser.  I'll be the first to admit I've packed on a few pounds, and the first to admit I need to shed a few as well.  But even if I were to get back to the weight I was in college, I would still be as ungraceful as a ribbon dancer in a straight jacket.
            I love to bike and I love to walk.  Thankfully, I have mastered these two activities so at least I have these to fall back on for exercise.  Elliptical machines are my worst enemy and I'm deathly afraid of treadmills.  Knowing my luck (or lack there of) I would definitely fly off the treadmill and break my neck, or at the very least, my arm. 
            The only "sport" Emily and I seem to agree on is bowling.  And this is even a stretch.  Again, I know I'm terrible at bowling, but once in a while I will suck it up and just go because I know Emily enjoys it.  That and the thought of sticking two of my fingers and a thumb into a ball and throwing it down an oil-slicked lane is kind of intriguing.
            But bowling is like every other sport—I'm terrible at it!  People have tried to teach me the proper way to bowl, but like I mentioned before, I just don't get it.  I don't stand on the arrows, hold my ball up to my chest, then run to the lane and toss it just as my right foot simultaneously kicks up behind me.  I just don't get it.  Sure, I grab my ball, and run up to the lane, but I honestly look like a hunchback carrying a ball that's far too heavy for me so I throw it as fast as I can to get rid of the weight.  And I even bowl with an 8-lb ball, a ball children and tweeners use with grace and ease. 
            I can't even master Wii bowling to this day.  And that's a couch sport!
            A few years back, we had an apartment in Neenah, WI and there was a bowling alley nearby.  Friday and Saturday nights they had Rock 'N Bowl where they would turn on strobe lights, play shitty music like The Black Eyed Peas and Metallica, and charge a leg and a nut for three games of bowling. 
            One Friday night, after begging, pleading, and straight up blackmail, Emily convinced me to go bowling with her.  I'm not one to turn down any activity that involves alcohol, so I agreed.  In hindsight, drinking and doing any sort of physical activity for me is a recipe for disaster.  Or a concussion.
            After we got to the bowling alley, I picked up my size 6 shoes and Emily got her size 11 shoes and we were directed to a lane right in the middle of everyone else.  Personally, I like to have the end lanes because I feel like I can hide better on the ends.  Not many people pay attention to the bowlers in the corner.  Anybody can put me in a corner and I'll be happy with it.  Alas, this was not the case.  Smack dab right in the middle of the action.
            The bowling alley was dark, music was blaring, and there was a plethora of Ed Hardy shirts glowing under the strobe lights.  Apparently, Rock 'N Bowl was code for "Bowling For Asians".
            At first, I was excited that I was no longer the shortest person there.  Or the person with the smallest feet.  None of these Asians were over five feet tall and I'm pretty sure their bowling shoes came from Baby Gap.  What I was not excited about was being smack dab in the middle of the Asian invasion.  I felt like a minority, and let me tell you African-Americans and Hispanics, that is NOT fun.  I totally get it now.
            Turns out, Asians are not only good at manufacturing small cars and cooking up a tasty batch of spicy noodles, they are also fantastic bowlers.  They play like professionals you can only see late on Sunday nights on ESPN 14.  So imagine my enthusiasm that I was about to show off my mad throwing the bowling ball in the gutter skills against these Kings of Pins.
            Two games and three pitchers of beer later, I was giving these Asians some competition.  Or so I thought.  I had gotten a few strikes, spares, and I had managed to keep my gutter ball skills under control.  I felt exhilarated and was beginning to believe that maybe I wasn't so bad at bowling after all.  I mean, I was practically like the Karate Kid with a bowling ball.
            Emily wasted no time informing me otherwise.  She reminded me that I have no bowling etiquette whatsoever.  I throw my ball when the people in the adjacent lanes are throwing their balls.  I laugh at people who get gutter balls, and people whose toes go over the line and they slip and slide as if they're on ice.  She also didn't hesitate to tell me I still sucked and the point of bowling was to hit the pins, not send the ball down the gutter as fast as I could.
            Buzzkill.  Here I was thinking I was amazing and getting ready to join a bowling league and Emily informs me that I still suck.  Thanks hon.  That didn't stop me from having fun though.  The drunker I got, the better I seemed to do. 
            That all came to a screeching halt on the 7th frame of our third game.  Alcohol had been poured into my bloodstream for two hours and was now affecting my dexterity and vision.  Ten pins turned into twenty and I could no longer see the toe line on the lane.
            I grabbed my ball, sauntered up to the lane like Snoop Dogg would, just three feet shorter, and as I threw my ball, I suddenly felt weightless.  My legs were now up in the air and I was parallel with the floor.  Folks, I had gone horizontal! A feat only accomplished by Pelé in the 1970 World Cup.
            Smack! I hit the hard wood floor, ass and head first.  What you see on cartoons is true.  When you hit your head hard, you do see stars and word clouds with cuss words in them directly above you. 
            After a bout of uncontrollable giggling as she assessed my condition, Emily determined I was fine and told me to stand up.  What she meant to say was "It's absolutely hilarious that you just fell flat on your ass, but seriously. Get the fuck up. You're embarrassing me!"  But she's too sweet to actually say what she means.  Bless her heart.
            I stood up, my vision still shaky from both the hit and the alcohol, and I turned around to see a cluster of Asians pointing and laughing.  Remember, our lane was directly in the middle, so I had it coming from the right and the left.  I'm not one to really care if people laugh at me; hell, I laugh enough at myself.  But c'mon.  Give a girl a break! I was fairly certain I had a concussion and I was well on my way to alcohol poisoning.  They could have shown a bit more compassion. Seriously, not everyone can be as graceful as Kristi Yamaguchi on slippery surfaces.
            When I stumbled back to our scoring station, I sat down and poured myself another beer.  I needed to take a breather and console myself with more alcohol.  Many minutes had gone by since my bowling faux pas, but I still felt like I was being watched.  Sure as shit, when I looked around, a million almond shaped eyes were all on me.  All games had stopped.  I'm pretty sure the DJ even stopped playing music and the only sounds you could hear were the fans from the ball return.  Still? I was their source of entertainment for the moment? Not cool kids, not cool.
            While Emily was taking her next turn, I stood back up, threw my arms up in the air like Muhammad Ali after winning a fight and yelled "Yep! I just fell! Get over it! Fuck you General Tso!"  To this day, I'm shocked these Asians didn't pull out their Hattori Hanzo swords and go Kill Bill on my ass. 
            Emily shook her head, absolutely mortified that she chose to go bowling with "that girl".  Well sweetheart, you wanted to go bowling.  When you take me out in public, this is what you get, girl.  You get stuck with "that girl".
            "That girl" is everywhere.  She's at the bar where she takes too many shots, drunk dials/texts ex-boyfriends, and ends up crying in the bathroom all night.  She's at the movies where she gives her boyfriend a hand job and giggles at all the inappropriate parts. 
            She's at the bowling alley where she drinks too much, cheers too loud when she gets a spare, and when she gets a gutter ball, she uses cuss words even seasoned pirates don't dare use.  That girl also acts as if she's the best bowler on the planet, tends to fall down, and sings along to the songs as if it were Karaoke night.
            We finished up the third and last game in a matter of minutes.  Actually, Emily may have played for both of us for fear that I would either fall again or get shot.  Somehow, I managed to score over 100 points per game, which I thought was amazing but soon learned scoring 108 points in a bowling game is by no means good.  It's not even noteworthy.  Not unless you're one of Jerry's kids or you are quadruple amputee and push the ball down the lane using only that special ramp and your teeth; then yes, it is miraculous.
            That night, I walked out of the bowling alley with my pounding head held high. Well, about five feet, three inches high.  I learned many things that night.  Emily must really love me if she put up with my behavior that night.  Turning lights off in a bowling alley is a really bad idea for someone like me who can barely play with the lights on.  And even though I couldn't compete against those Asians in bowling, they sure as shit couldn't compete against me for height. 
            For those of you wondering, four inches do matter!  It's the small victories in life that are worth celebrating.

Made by Lena