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Ah, the ambiance and aroma of the bowling alley. Vibrant team jerseys, the explosion of sound, and the aromatic blend of cigarettes, beer and fried stuff. It feels good to be alive.
It’s a big night. Our team of warriors is comprised of aging former fraternity brothers with expanding waistlines and fond memories of our athletic glory years. Memories fostered by massive quantities of Rolling Rock. It’s like Al Bundy or Ralph Cramden reruns with similar delusions of grandeur.
Delusion is such a wondrous thing. Our team captain and fearless leader, Tom is amazed how we are still in contention halfway through the season. Tom aptly describes us as a “c-team” in a “b-league” but his competitive and sometimes Pollyanna heart never quits. He’s been pondering for days the inspirational message he will deliver to his fellow bowling minions. He first manages to gain our attention. This is no small accomplishment since we collectively have the attention span of a molding chia pet. Tom plunges on, extolling us to a new competitive level. He reminds us we a facing the perennial league champs but attempts to diminish their considerable skills by calling them, just human. Ha, as if he thought we would fall for that one. For a team, whose claim to fame is that someone else finished behind us, he’ll have to top that. Tom, sweating from the enormity of his mission, attempts to inspire us with the Churchillian message “if we are to win we must give the very best that we have”. We are listening intently, warming up to the daunting task before us, when Larry, the only realist in the group, shouts: “no, we’ve got to do a hell of a lot better than that”.
There it was! The dreadful truth that we sucked. Our task was beyond difficult; it was damn near impossible. We had been saving our very best for last and that was not going to be enough. Speech over, time for another round of courage. Somewhere, the bowling gods are smiling but on that fateful night, the fabulous fraternity five succumbed to harsh reality, father time and the laws of hand-to-eye coordination. The fact that the league leaders could also out drink us simply added to the humiliation. If defeat builds character, we are in great shape for the next cosmic bowl go round. I wonder if we could have kicked their butts at scrabble?