Wednesday night was bowling night, but before reporting on our league night, let’s talk about something else. Let’s talk about balls.
I admit, where it comes to bowling balls I have a tendency of putting my foot in my mouth. If I were to think a moment before speaking, I could save myself (and others) quite a bit of embarrassment, but of course, thinking is not my strong suit.
A good few years ago, I was on the lanes with my friends Ann and Jean-Pierre, when another bowler took the lanes next to ours and prepared for a couple of games. After he unpacked all his gear I commented to Ann “My goodness, look at that guy’s balls.” Which prompted Jean-Pierre to say “Who are you? Supergirl?” (You might remember that the female superhero had X-ray vision.)
A few years later, I was on the train with Dieter, on our way to the bowling alley, when I asked him which ball he was going to play with. He replied “The usual one”. Since I didn’t know which one the usual one was, he clarified “The black and blue one.”
Too late I noticed how quiet the train compartment had gotten, while an elderly lady sat shaking head with obvious disapproval and tutted.
After that I started paying attention to what I said, knowing how talking about balls is so easily misunderstood. Of course, every now and then I go into Rodney’s pro-shop, which is a danger zone like no other.
I mean really, the place is filled with balls and they are all so uniquely beautiful. Black balls, colorful balls, flamed balls, shiny balls, dull balls, new balls and used balls. Whenever I go in there, it’s only a matter of time before I say something that I shouldn’t have. Of course, it’s not always my fault. Rodney – joker that he is – sets up the trap, and before long I take the bait.
Last night, once again, I spoke without thinking.
I was outside by the bowling alley, waiting for Dieter. Next to me, on the pavement, stood a bowling bag. When Dieter showed up, I commented “Look at this, someone left his balls behind”.
At that precise moment, an African American woman walked by. She didn’t say anything, but I knew she’d heard me because she lowered her head, opened her eyes wider while raising her eyebrows.
As for bowling … we didn’t do bad, not bad at all.
My first game left much to be desired, but there was a reason for that.
Up until now, our team, The Expendables, consisted of just Dieter and me. Since the league asks for a three man team, our third member was a ghost bowler.
Last night however, we got the company of Christine, who joined our team. I took one look at Christine’s handicap (19) and was dead impressed. So impressed in fact that I made a total mess of my first game.
Much to my surprise, my score came very close to Christine’s and to my even bigger surprise I won the game from my opponent. That was all the assurance I needed. I didn’t have to feel inferior, with a little effort I could be just as good as Christine. Well, not quite as good, but I certainly didn’t have to slink away in the shadows.
All in all, The Expendables took 9,5 out of a total of 16 points and – considering who our opponents were – that was nothing to sneeze at.