I suppose that it's a good thing for a parent to be brought down to size once in a while. After all, I wrote about Matthew's humbling experience during skating lessons a couple of weeks ago.
Well, this time it's my turn...though I'm not sure yet if I would define the experience as humbling or humiliating. Either way, I laughed! On Friday, Geoff left from work a wee bit earlier than usual and the three of us met at Academy Bowling Lanes to try our hand at a couple of games. It's a good spot because, not only can you bowl in the semi-dark with black light making neon any white that you happen to be wearing, but they also have the ability to put little bumper pads up at the sides of the bowling lanes so that your kids (or the parents!) never end up with a gutter ball. This is my kind of bowling! It's been many years since I've bowled and I've never been good at it, but I've always thought it was a good sort of outing. Matthew has gone a few times, most recently with Geoff, and liked it.
We managed to get in two games over the course of an hour. Matthew was having a blast and was full of energy. For almost the whole time we were there, he passed the time between his turns on the floor doing his version of break-dancing: lying on his back and spinning his body around with feet in the air; flipping over to his stomach and, again, throwing his body around in circles while his legs lifted impossibly off the ground. He was entertaining...for our neighbours as well, at times.
Geoff was the most serious of the three of us bowlers, starting way back with his wind-up and managing to accomplish several strikes and spares throughout the course of each game. I encouraged him to look at all of the other people in the surrounding bowling lanes to ascertain that this needn't be such a serious venture, but ah well - that's just the way some people like to bowl, I guess.
Matthew tried for a while to emulate his father's style by starting way back from the line and holding the ball up at his face before taking a run at the lane; the primary difference between them was Matthew's inclination to drop his ball heavily at the point of no return. From there, the ball slowly trickled down the alley, thankfully protected by the gutter guards from dropping into the gutter. Other times, he used the standard technique of standing at the line with his legs spread a mile apart, rocking the ball between them before sending it to freedom. His lack of finesse was more than compensated for by his enthusiasm.
At any rate, there was no question from the first round that Geoff would be the winner of any bowling venture our family would ever embark on. What became less certain as the hour passed was who would come in second place. I mentioned that I'm not a great bowler. Let me just say that I was thankful for gutter guards; not only for preventing a '0' score, but also for giving me great opportunity to try to bank shots off of the gutter guards, attempting to see if that would make a difference in the outcome. By the end of the first game, I was a clear second place victoriant after Geoff. But alas, and here comes the humiliating (or, viewed more positively, the humbling) part: whereas the skill of my game seemed to deteriorate with each opportunity to bowl, Matthew's actually improved. Thus, the final scores for Matthew and me were as follows:
Beaten at five pin bowling by a five-year-old. I do believe that bowling sucks as a game after all.