On a recent Sunday, my husband and I joined a worldwide group over 90 million strong. Much to the amusement of people who know us well, we took up bowling.
This popular throwing sport never appealed to me. When I was young, however, the bowling alley was the alternative to fussing in the family station wagon while my mother ran errands. In a cloud of second hand smoke, my brothers and I would spend a couple of hours tallying our efforts on paper score sheets, pretending to be teenagers while downing full sugar Coke.

Bowling programs were actually popular on television. We kids often found ourselves watching these tournaments, too, in our piano teacher’s living room as we waited to cycle through our segment of half hour lessons. My father would later regale us with stories of bowling duck pins in Connecticut, and before long, our family began acquiring gear: the shoes; the bag, the ball – but I drew the line there.

My interests bent in a more artistic direction, so while the rest of the family would go bowling, I was enrolled in drawing classes, began sewing my own clothes, and continued for many years with my piano studies.

Our parents joined a bowling league, but it was my mother’s accomplishments with her cherry red ball that took center stage. Her trove of trophies grew. My understanding of the allure, however, did not.

The next time bowling came up in my life was when we moved to Naperville. A perky new neighbor appeared on my doorstep, and very enthusiastically suggested I join their bowling league.
Thirty years later, it finally happened.

Our “snowbird” friends have flown, so with another winter stretching before us, we agreed to sub in their church league. My husband researched; we both shopped. I admit, we’re excited to get our first custom-drilled balls! As with most sports, it begins with gear.

Honing a competitive edge cannot be far behind. (c)