Monday, May 6, 2013

Tournament Bowling Is Child's Play

I just returned from Reno, Nev., for the USBC National bowling competition, which included some bad bowling, some good eats and some lively entertainment.

Bad Bowling: Earlier this year, my brother-in-law somehow convinced me to pick up a bowling ball for the first time in 20 years. He said plenty of people in his league were low rollers so I’d fit right in. That turned out to be a bit of salesmanship. My 149 average was easily at the bottom of the league, but I still took some modest pride in not totally embarrassing myself. Unfortunately, that would come later … on a bigger stage.

My brother-in-law’s next bit of smooth talking resulted in me traveling to Reno for the USBC National tournament. The first day we competed as a team. Aside from one game, no one bowled particularly well, but it wasn’t a nightmare either. That didn’t happen until the next day when I opened the doubles competition with a 94. To put this in perspective, let me explain that many children, including my nephew, can bowl a 94. And I did it in a national tournament … in front of an Internet audience. Before the day was over, I somewhat redeemed myself with a 171 and 176, but it was hardly consolation.

Good Eats: Although I always hear there are good cheap eats in Las Vegas, I can never find them. In Reno, they were everywhere, starting with the $5.99 prime rib special at the Cal Neva casino, which included salad and a potato. You could tack on a tall Bud Light for only a buck more. However, my personal favorite meal was the “awful,awful burger” from a hole-in-the wall joint called the Little Nugget. I went to Reno determined to hit my favorite fast food place, In and Out Burger, but the Little Nugget so satisfied my need for meaty goodness that I never made it. They throw in a pound of fries to boot.

Lively Entertainment: Two words: lingerie bowling. Our hotel, Harrah’s, welcomed USBC bowlers by plopping down a single, regulation bowling lane right onto the casino floor. If that wasn’t spectacle enough, they then invited a couple of special guests to bowl wearing less than my typical bowling shirt.

I don’t think either of them bowled as low as a 94.

That would be awful, awful … and I’m not talking about the burger.