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January 11, 2006

my perspective on bowling: a funky other

Woodrow Wilson once described golf thus: "Golf is an ineffectual attempt to put an elusive ball into an obscure hole with implements ill-adapted to the purpose."

How about a competition? Bowling is the futile attempt to throw an erratic ball into an unpredictable nest of pins with biomechanical precision impossible to duplicate. Real comedians have tried to be funny too.

For me, it's more about being social, in the crudest sense, not being alone but more than that for the stimulation of getting to laugh, build friendships, get to know each other, and divert energy from incessant intellectualizing. (Although I bet we could do a study of personality characteristics focusing on cultural and gendered performances of competitiveness and sportsmanship seeking cultural and/or gendered patterns....or not.) ;-)

Which isn't to say there isn't the opportunity for philosophizing! Take the concept of the English word "else." According to LB, this is a difficult word for those learning English as a second (or third, or seventh) language, coming developmentally after other semantically simpler words: other, instead, different, alternately...

If I wasn't bowling, I would be doing something else.

Else I wallow narcissistically in self-pity, I bowl.

It can be used as a threat, too: If you don't learn to spin, we'll think you're a wuss. [Note: "wuss" appears in technical jargon and "else" in computer programming.]

As to the bowling itself, well! Game 1, 9th frame is when things got hot. My lefthander sleepily nudged over three pins for a spare, then Anuj took out his widely separated two with a ricochet off the side board, Lava picked up a spare with the last pin wobbling like a weeble but it *did* fall down, and then LB went TURKEY! Tied his high (as witnessed by us) 181.

Meanwhile, the lowest score in Game One was 53 (it wasn't me, although I was next-to-last). Ahem.

Another hot streak in Game Two: Dan had the longest, slowest-motion last pin fall I've ever seen. Anuj and Alex both picked up strikes that only counted as spares (the injustice!), LB stomps and his last pin goes down. Lava meanwhile, spins left-handed and takes out that single 10-pin in the back right corner! An amazing feat of bowling prowess. (Although he's apparently bribed people - again! - to repeat the story of a 198 while I wasn't there to witness it. This rumor has gone around before...)

How could I bypass such human drama? Not to mention cases of mistaken identity and merged subjectivities! I thought Alex was Gizem, and she always calls Anuj, "Lava": "When I look at them together it's obvious, but conceptually they're one person."

I stayed to watch the end of the duel to the death between Luscious Larry and Little Brother last night. BOTH faded at crucial moments and Lava smoked 'em. So there you have it, bowling is my "funky other". What else could take its place? :-)

[Disclaimer: the use of "wuss" has no relationship to queer cowboys.]

Posted by Steph at January 11, 2006 8:44 AM


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