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My First Bowling Tournament - AS IT HAPPENS

Sat, Mar. 11th, 2006

06:58 pm - My First Bowling Tournament

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Its early on a Saturday morning, 7:39 AM to be exact, and I'm riding down some highway to Winston Salem North Carolina. Why, you ask? Well, I'm going to a regional Blind Bowling League Tournament.

I actually had to do the whole alarm deal and all, feeling kinda like I was headed to work on the weekend. As it turns out though, I didn't really need it because I was awake by 5:15. I heard the shower water running already as Calvin had awaken, this was bad news because I knew it would not be hot in time for a 5:30 visit. So, I was forced to wash myself in cold water, not exactly my favorite experience but I think it did the trick, and quickly get dressed as Kelly was due to arrive at 6.

I was sitting on the couch chatting with Calvin, when suddenly he got up and headed outside, at least I guess that's what he did. I kept checking, going out to the driveway, listening for messages on my cell phone, nothing! At about 6:30, just before I would have decided to pack it in and crawl into my bed for some inviting sleep, a horn blared and Calvin called my name.

right now I'm sitting in a left side bucket seat, Calvin is talking to Corlis but of course no one's talking to me. I spent the first half of this trip reading more of Paranoia, not sure if I ever said I was reading it. Its an interesting book, a bit of a departure from the heavy stuff, which I definitely need right now. I don't really know how this day will go, but we're now turning off the highway so I guess we're there. I'll update before this is posted, probably on the way back.

And Finally The Day Ends!

Well, it is nearing 5:30 PM, almost 12 hours later than this day began for me, and I'm just now climbing back into the van. It was definitely an interesting experience indeed.

We stopped by McDonalds for a quick breakfast, during which I had a sausage egg and cheese biscuit and a medium orange juice. Some players from the other teams ribbed us about our impending failure, and we made good-natured conversation.

Once we pulled up to the alley, it was finally open as it hadn't been on our first trip. Of course, we had to go through the normal headache of getting our shoes and finding a workable ball. Then they announced the teams and lanes everyone was to bowl in, both Charlotte teams were based on our pro sports teams, the Bobcats and the Panthers. Calvin, Harriet, "an older woman whom I don't recall bowling in any of the previous games", and I were the Bobcats, while Corlis, Rosa "basically the ringleader, an older blind woman who rallied all the Charlotte folks to come", and Robert, the scorekeeper and pair of eyes that alerts us to how we are doing, were the Panthers.

If any games could have been called anything but bad for me, it would have been the first and last ones. In the first one, I went scoreless for the first four frames, then knocked down five, zero, seven, six, three and two pens to finish with a miserable 23. In the next game, which started to seem a bit long, I managed a disastrous 12, and in the final, and utterly interminable game before the lunch break, I got a hilarious one point!

By the time 12:50 rolled around, I was absolutely famished! I had already ordered a meatball sub with Mozzarella cheese, and what turned out to be a pathetically small bag of plain chips, so I tore into them with reckless abandon. We made small talk, mostly Calvin, Corlis and I in our area, until the time came for the next set of games.

This being the heart of ACC country, the folks at the Alley switched on the tournament semifinals, which I was mildly upset to be missing. I heard score updates of 45-40, and 60-49, both times Duke was ahead, so I am forced to conclude that they managed to get that one too. Yuck!

In the fourth and fifth game, I managed only 17 and 3 points respectively. In game four, I got nine of the seventeen pens on one frame, the tenth, and in the fifth game I just missed posting a goose-egg by scoring in frame 9.

During the sixth game, I had started to get quite tired so between turns I would lay my head on the table. While doing this between frames three and four, I felt someone begin to rub me on my back. Raising my head in wondering who it was, I heard a semiattractive voice say "wake up." It turned out to be the girl who had sold us the fifty-fifty raffle tickets a bit earlier in the day (I bought 20 for $4.00 but didn't win, however Kelly, our driver, did). She asked me if I was sleepy, and we chatted for a couple seconds. I found out that her name was Tisha and she was 23, hailing from the host city Winston Salem. She said she could not bowl, I guess she either worked there or was a volunteer.

After that, I apparently scored on two straight frames without even being aware of it, I guess that's what a little fun can do for you. I got a nine to close out my extremely sad day, and finished that game with a 29.

Calvin told Corlis to go and ask that woman if she was dating someone, and she said she was in kind of a long distance relationship, more like talking to somebody, whatever that means. I didn't particularly care much. Corlis said she was looking at both of us as we passed her by when coming back from the rest rooms, and she began to insist on going back to convey that Calvin was not interested. Of course, she did not do this though.

Finally, they gave out the prizes for those who had performed well in the tournament. Robert got best sighted bowler, I don't know how much money he received. We thought Corlis might get something, since she couldn't stop getting strikes and spares, but none of the rest of us were rewarded.

And I suppose that wraps up what actually turned out to be a pretty fun and unique experience. I bet I'll pay for all that bowling tomorrow, but it was cool to enjoy good times with friends. I also think these aids helped me again in a different kind of setting, I was able to keep them on even during the games, thus I had no problem distinguishing when I was being addressed and when my turn had come. Maybe I'll do it again, but I still think my score must improve first!

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