"Crap! I wish I hadn't seen Ricky on the sidewalk."

"You will be fine for 31 minutes. You will be dead in 32 minutes."

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Guy at the Pro Shop Just Doesn't Understand Sentiment (3/3/13)

I haven't bowled regularly in almost a year.  Sometimes I miss it, sometimes I don't.  

League bowling came at a tumultuous time in my life.  That part, I don't miss.  Sunday, the night we bowled, was often the worst night of my week.  And sometimes, thanks to the friendship of my teammates, it was the only bright spot.  

About a month ago, I got a call from an old friend who asked if I could fill an empty spot on her team for a couple of weeks.  One of their members had been encouraged to bowl with a 15-pound ball, and in the process of getting it to spin properly had messed up his hand.  

I thanked her for the invitation and showed up the following Tuesday for league play.  I think I averaged a 125 on the night, nothing special.

I skipped the next week, but was tapped to play the following Sunday.  I showed up early, with my bowling ball and shoes.

The last frame of the first game (we always play three), I tried, without success, to pick up a spare and extend the frame.  It didn't work, and my ball ended up in the gutter.

We were starting the second game when Ally said, "whose ball is that?"  My ball had been automatically returned with a large chunk missing from it.  The team looked down the lane. Mark pointed to the gutter and said, "Is that a piece of your ball?"

It was.

I took my broken bowling ball up to the counter.  The manager wasn't around, but I left my name and phone number with a pimply kid who said they'd see if the ball could be repaired. There was no paperwork, they just taped my name and number to the ball and stuck it under the counter.

I went over to grab an alley ball, but there were no more 13-pound balls.  I selected a 14-pound ball and returned to the game.  

My first three frames were strikes, a turkey.  I had no open frames until the 7th.  I ended up with a 177.  I can't remember if my high score is a 192 or I just witnessed someone on my old team bowling a 192.

If I never bowled a 192, I definitely bowled a 179.  And if I've never bowled a 179, then this 177 is my personal best.  I really should pay more attention, I suppose.

My last game wasn't great, but the 177 gave me a nice average.

I called the bowling alley a few days later.  The manager wasn't in.  I called back the next day and finally got him.  He said the ball couldn't be repaired, but they'd replace it.  There's a pro shop a few doors down from the bowling alley, and they gave me a number to call.

I explained the situation to the guy at the pro shop who said the wholesale value of my bowling ball was $50.

He asked me if I wanted a different ball or the same one.  I told him I was sentimental. He said "that's a cheap ball made in Mexico" and tried to upsell me.  I told him I wasn't a serious bowler, that I just wanted the same ball I had before.  He said it would cost $40 to drill.  I told him the last time, I only paid $25.

He shruggged.  I ordered the ball, told him I'd take it some other place to get drilled. He said the ball would be ready on Wednesday.  I asked him if I should leave the damaged ball, so he could match the color in the catalog.

"I got it," he said.  "It's the color of Merlot."  

I checked the online Brunswick catalog when I got home.  

I think my old bowling ball is a T-Zone Magenta Smoke.  How much you want to bet the guy orders me a Mixed Berry?  Or maybe my old bowling ball has been discontinued, I've already thought of that.  

The guy at the pro shop will call me on Wednesday, tell me he had to order something else that's just as good.  Maybe he'll try one more time to upsell me, get me into a more expensive bowling ball.

I suppose that's the solution to everything that gets broken at a bowling alley.  You just replace it with something else.

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