13-Pin Bowling

My mother always said that you should never put a pair shoes on a table, as there would inevitably be an argument. “It was the same in my family”, my friend Andrew told me last night, adding you should also never put shoes on a bed, as the only other time you ever see shoes on a bed is when someone has died. How superstitious! But how appropriate too, to talk about superstitions on Friday the thirteenth. I, however, blame the day itself for what happened last night in Mascot.

Last night, Graeme asked Grant, Andrew and myself to join him for a night of ten pin bowling put on by his work’s social club. We had agreed to meet at the bus stop outside the Commonwealth Bank on Elizabeth Street. It was one of those chillingly cold Sydney afternoons where the wind really cuts deep into the bone. “It won’t be long now until I’m enjoying a Swedish summer”, I thought to myself, as I pulled my jacket up and around my ears.

I’m not exactly sure how old the bowling centre at Mascot is, but it has a definite 80’s feel to it. It’s a little bit “Hard Rock Cafe”, a little bit “80’s theme park”, a little bit “Laverne and Shirley”. 80’s too in the music being played. Whitney Houston, Blondie and others with a DJ straight out of 5RM (Berri) or 4VL (Charleville). I thought for a moment I was back in Lismore during my high school years, producing Saturday night requests with Richard Mercer on 2LM.

And as we arrived and sat down to order a meal and a beer, they asked us to wear green wrist bands to identify ourselves as adults (and therefore able to drink alcohol) in a mixed-age environment. “What are we, sex offenders? Drink drivers? On day-pass from Silverwater?” Graeme joked as we put the wrist bands on.

I suspect the wrist band may have affected my game, as I didn’t perform nearly as well as the last time I went ten pin bowling which was six months ago, and before that, four years ago in Perth. On both occasions, it was a work-related event. When I was in Perth, with some visiting managers, I organised a night of ten-pin bowling which was a load of fun, and turned out to be (as intended) a great team building experience.

Last night at Mascot, ours wasn’t the only work group either. As I recall, there was a security company, a childcare centre, Lincraft, and a host of other work-place related groups. The centre was great fun, the staff friendly, and they recognised how important it was to make everyone feel well looked after. After all, it’s probably a good activity for a people who work together who want to socialise together, but want to do more than go just to the pub where they’ll only end up sitting around bitching about their boses.

On reflection I didn’t do all that badly at ten pin bowling, sometimes scoring 8s and 9s. But that was often balanced by scores of 1s and 2s. So yeah, as I was saying, I think the wrist band affected my performance. Or maybe it was Friday the thirteenth? Or maybe it was those damned shoes on the table?

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