I am a bowler. I have bowled since I can remember. My friends and I used to go to the bowling alley Sunday mornings where it was all you can bowl from 9 until noon for $5. I started bowling with my father on his Men’s league when I was 16. I worked in a bowling alley at 16 also and have been on at least one league almost every year since 1982. You would think I would be better by now, but I seem to have topped off around a 185 average with only a 299 game to my credit. Although I did bowl 17 strikes in a row once, but spread out over 2 games. Bowled a 290 (spare then 11 strikes) and a 245 (started with 6 in a row). Age and failing body parts have caught up to me just when my knowledge of HOW to do it right got clear.
There is supposed to be an etiquette in bowling. You don’t go up on the lanes if there are bowlers already there on the lane to each side of you. Prior to automatic scorekeepers you took turns keeping score. You give props for a good shot, even if it was from an opposing team. You didn’t walk down in the seating area with wet shoes. Stuff like that. League bowlers know these things, casual bowlers usually do not.
So I try to keep this knowledge that the casual bowler is ignorant of the ways of the league bowler in the back of my mind every time I bowl and the house decided it was going to host a candlelight bowl right after our league is done. My Saturday night league was the worst offender at this. The league finished around 9:30, give or take, depending on the teams, lane conditions, etc. So what do they do? They schedule the candlelight to start at 9:30. Not at 10, giving us time to finish and leave, but at the time when we are just finishing up, causing conflicts with the casual bowler and their ignorance vs the league bowler. The fact that these idiots seem to show up 90 minutes before their event is supposed to start doesn’t help.
One year my wife was the league secretary. After 3 weeks of candlelight bowlers coming down to the seating area when teams were still bowling she took it upon herself to start informing these people that they are not supposed to be down there until the league is finished bowling. She is one of the nicest people in the world so you can bet her notices were filled with politeness. The house ‘claims’ they tell everyone this, but if they do, absolutely nobody listens to them. So the one week 5 or 6 people decide to plop themselves down on the lane next to us while we were still bowling. There were teams going on both sides of them so they weren’t supposed to be down there. Wife goes over to tell them that they have to back up top until we are done. They say sorry and go back up. 5 minutes later they are back down there. So she asks me to go say something. USUALLY that isn’t a good move as tact is not a common part of my verbal arsenal. But this time I was nice and told them that they weren’t supposed to be down here until the leagues were done. The league bowlers take the games seriously and with them down here tracking water on the floor and stuff it can take away from the games. It would only be for about 20 more minutes or so until everyone was done then they can have fun. They again go back up, but only for a few minutes. The assholes came back down to the lanes a third time. I have several beers in me now and point this out to my wife asking her if she wants me to take care of it my way. She says no and then goes right to the counter and complains to them about it. The guy says ‘we told them not to go down there’, to which my wife replies “Well they ARE down there, for the third time. YOU should go remove them before my husband gets a little loud.” Ah, she knows me well. So the counter guy goes down and tells them to get the hell up. They grab their stuff for the third time and go back up, only this time I can see them glaring at my wife. Then it started.
“Fucking bitch” I hear as the guy stares down my wife. Oh no he didn’t! I look at my cousin (whom we bowled with) and said “Did I just hear that?” He just got up and stood between me and the stairs and said “just let it go.’ Well, that verified for MY drunken mind that I did indeed hear what I thought I heard so it was game time! I am not sure I have enough space here to type all the swear words that came out of my mouth that night but lets just say it took 3 people to keep my ass out of jail and those guys out of the hospital, but I think I succeeded in scaring the crap out of them all (and probably half my league and everyone within earshot) as they didn’t come back down until we were gone. I also saw some of the other candlelight bowlers yelling at the culprit as well. So I guess they weren’t ALL assholes.
Another time we had people literally come down to the lanes while people were still bowling on them, put their stuff on the table and ask them what they were doing there on ‘their lanes’. OK, I get that you don’t bowl often. But seriously, if there are people STILL BOWLING on the lanes, what part of your brain says go down there and ask them whats up? Are you that fucking stupid? In years past we have put yellow Caution take up blocking the pathway to the lanes, these idiots just remove the tape. We have blocked access by moving the stools to block the entrance and sit on them and had people try and squeeze by us. Or ask us to move and look like they were hit with a stupid stick when we tell them no, we are still bowling. Just this last week our league had its Holiday night where everyone brings some food or snacks for the league bowlers to munch on. Well while I am at the table grabbing something, one of the candlelight bowlers (who was there an hour before the thing was even supposed to start), walked by and grabbed something off the table. “Asshole”, I shout as he walks away and he just laughs. If I wasn’t afraid of breaking my bones hitting his dumbass….