Posted by: Mark Nielsen | March 29, 2010

Bowling As a Contact Sport

from Spring Break in WI with Graham and Sue.

One of our favorite leisure activities: bowling! G’s really into it, but his form is awful, thus bumpers are the only way to go. Which leads to some odd setups sometimes, like today. The alley in little podunk (or quaint, take your pick) Poy Sippi, WI has just ten total lanes. One of those classic postwar places that’s now mostly populated by old men sitting on stools at the bar, eatin’ pork rinds, saying about six words to each other an hour.

But what amused me today was their makeshift bumpers: about 120 feet of 12″ PVC ridged black drainage tubing, rolled into place manually. So in addition to the usual 7-year-old hijinks, we had a few situations where Graham laid down in his lane and shouted into the tubes, just to hear the strange echo. It’s hard to concentrate on picking up that stray nine pin with a maniac in the lane next to you. Or standing eight inches behind you, squeaking, on your approach.

But I did manage a “turkey” in the 7th, 8th and 9th frames of my last game to roar from behind and break Sue’s heart. She got me in the second game, though. I used to be a league, and I miss that muscle-memory sense of body control I once had. Now with so little practice, I lose my balance more, or run into the wooden post next to the lane. It’s a scary sight sometimes.

A few other observations of note:

* the bar had three beers on tap: Miller Lite, Miller High Life, and Bud Light. No big surprise. These folks don’t hardly know Sam Adams, but once in awhile some local microbrew turns out  interesting. We’re only about forty miles from Stevens Point, though. They ought to at least feature that regional classic.

* $1.25 for a twelve ounce draft domestic that she was careful to fill to the brim. Some parts of smalltown life are still sweet.

* about seven guys and one woman in the bar, at 3:30 on a Monday. Lot of folks out of work up here. Or would those eight be here even if we weren’t in a train-wreck of an economy?

* my anti-hunting wife has no problem at all shooting down videogame deer with a plastic rifle. Go figure.

* my kid ain’t too bad at their video slot machine. Uh oh…

Reporting from Waushara county, Wiasconsin, this is Mark “The Claw” Nielsen signing off.


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