Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's NEVER Too Late to Start Bowling!

I didn't get into bowling until I was almost 40, when I joined my first league.

The funny thing is that I've been bowling off and on since I was a kid. In fact, my home town had the three most-popular "kinds" of bowling in the US: "ten pin" (big balls), "candlepin" (little balls), and "duck pin" (huh? - unless you've spent time near Baltimore...). But I wasn't an athlete by any standards - basically I was a nerdy geek (and still am to some extent). I think before I joined a league I had only had one turkey (three strikes in a row), and I think my highest game was only in the low 140's. My brother on the other hand, played on the high school bowling team, and went on (while we were in our early-to-mid 20's) to win tournaments, etc.

When I told him I had started bowling again more frequently, and was thinking of joining a league he asked "What's your average?" I told him around 110, and his response was "Yeah, you were at best a 120 bowler as a kid - you'll always be a 120 bowler..." OUCH! I don't think he intended that conversation to be much of a pep talk, but it had that effect, since my reaction to his comment was along the lines of "You unbelievable bastard - I'll show you - whatever it takes, I'll be better than you!" (He's my younger brother BTW.)

It's now five years later, and arguably I'm the better bowler. I think. But I've discovered MANY more reasons to get into bowling than sibling rivalry.

So anyway - if you've been bowling a few times, and enjoy the game itself (as opposed to just the social aspects of the event), why not join a league? Most people think they're not good enough, but I've bowled in leagues with people whose averages were as low as 85 (on my team!) and had a great time. Plus, your average will definitely improve from interacting with more-experienced bowlers, and even a little investment into having a basic plastic ball drilled to fit YOUR hand will give you a jump on your average (hint: check out eBay --- you can get a ball for $20, and only have to pay a pro shop to get it drilled!).

There are many kinds of leagues! For absolute low-average beginners, I would recommend a 100% handicap (don't worry if you don't know what that means yet!) league. Most places have men's or women's leagues or mixed - pick the social situation you like best. Even though it's already mid-September, a lot of leagues will still have vacancies on teams, and "vacant bowlers" affect a team's performance - so beginner or not they'll be REALLY GLAD you showed up (instant friends).

Give it a shot - let me know what happens!

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