By Loren Sanders
Today I bowled.
I traveled to the beach for work this week. Flight options kind of sucked for Friday, so the coworkers and I decided to have a fun afternoon at the beach.
Today, it’s 67 degrees and storming. Flash-flood-warning-storming.
So we bowled.
While the “Cha Cha Slide” and that catchy Hamster Dance song blared above my head, we bowled in lane 7. About two frames in, Earl came to bowl in lane 8. Earl, who is about three frames shy of 80 years old, and his wife Teresa set up shop next door to us.
Earl welcomed himself to lane 8 by kicking us off of his side of the shared table. He then proceeded to crack open his bowling backpack. The contents included his own black ball, which he proceeded to place on the rack beside our six neon balls, as well as his Dunlop bowling shoes, which looked incredibly similar to the old people white Rockports he was already sporting.
Teresa fetched her own community shoes and community neon orange ball. While she was off gallivanting through the arcade looking for a ball, Earl was stretching. The more I think about this, the more I begin to realize that this was probably necessary so Earl’s body didn’t fall apart in lane 8.
Earl wanted no part of our shenanigans in lane 7. Frankly, I was intimidated by Earl. In a completely straight-also-thirty-years-younger kind of way, Earl had some nice calves. He was definitely an athlete in his day.
Anyway, after stretching for the better part of 5 minutes, Earl and Teresa began bowling. He wasn’t spinning the ball PBA style (mostly because I think that any torque on a radius and ulna that old would result in a cloud of bone that resembled LeBron James pregame powder throw), but Earl was serious.
While our group of young professionals struggled to crack triple digits in lane 7, lane 8 was humming along at machine status. Their first game served one of two purposes: it was either a warm-up for Earl or a participation trophy for Teresa.
By the time we had reached frame 8, Earl was paying for a new game for him and Teresa. I’m not sure whose idea it was, but Teresa did not end up playing in game two. What came next was, put simply, Earl kicking arthritis in the balls.
Bowling for two, the man was unfazed by the “Cupid Shuffle” and proceeded to smoke all 6 of the twenty-somethings in lane 7. We might not have known it was a competition, but Earl and “Teresa” crushed us. Ball game.
When it was all over, Teresa smiled at us and walked out. Earl? Well, Earl packed up his ball, put his white Rockports back on, and headed for the exit. Another day, another few hundred pins.