The Pin Ups

My Mom was the athlete – she played tennis, volleyball, badminton, basketball and a little known game called speed ball. In high school, she lettered in several sports, received trophies and there’s more that one year book picture of her that’s an “action” shot. Unfortunately for Mom, the day I was born I came out with a pair of glasses and pale white skin (a color that has never changed) with an undiagnosed allergy to sweat. Sure Mom tried to enroll me in tennis lessons, swimming lessons, gymnastics, martial arts, softball, etc. but what she learned from many a coach was I was naturally ungifted. In fact, Mom had to fight to get most coaches to take me off the bench by waving the rule books at them. I know those people cursed her, “damn rule books letting wimps play… we’re getting an amendment next year! We’ll instate a non-wussy policy!” In fact, I can safely say our softball team wasn’t #1 because I spent a lot of time out on the field.

In contrast to my Mom, my yearbook showed me in German Club, National Honor Society (I’m not smart, they just had a vacancy and someone had to fill in), Mu Alpha Theta (get it… it’s the M-A-TH club – there’s even an old IBM computers in the shot – one of those original, you can kill a person with it, it’s so large varieties), and orchestra. For extra curricular activities, I had String Project, music camps in the summer and did a brief stint in Junior Achievement (we mass produced flashlights… wow.) All this to say that I was not the young Babe Didrikson that she had hoped for – I more closely resembled some of the pages from Dad’s yearbook where he’s smiling with the Chess and Slide Rule Club gang.

Somewhere along the way Mom threw me into bowling leagues, which I took to better than most sports. Maybe it was the shirts or shoes I found appealing or even the smoke filled dens of beer and poorly made fried food, but I still feel at home in it today. Mind you, I’m by no means a good bowler. I can beat most small children and people with atrophied arms on a good day. Yet, today I find myself on a league with my aunt, cousin and a couple of family friends as the weak link.

The way I’ve decided to overcompensate for my lack of skill – obnoxious looking gear all in hot pink and black which includes my ball. All of the pieces can easily be paired with my Halloween bowling shirt that declares my name as “Roxy” on a team called the “Pink Ladies”.

Our team is called The Pin-ups (although, in hind site I think we should have gone with The Pin Downs because we’re living up to our name – those pins stay up a lot – vindictive things). We’re the only all girl team on a mixed league and they actually had to hold a vote to see if they’d allow all girls to play on a team. (Six people said no, but fortunately I wasn’t there to see who they were or I’d be forced to hold a life long grudge against each of them and life long grudges can be so tedious especially when my neighbor is my top grudge priority.) So far, all the teams have been really helpful and nice – they cheer for us, high five us when we hit pins, and give us all words of encouragement – although, I’m a little concerned that they all seem to tell us “well, at least you’re here for fun – that’s really what it’s all about… I mean, I used to be bad” (followed by an unspoken “too”) “until I played for several seasons and now I’m on the pro tour” (ok, that may not be exactly what they say, but it’s what I hear – there are some amazing bowlers and one guy really is on a bowling tour).

As the weakest link on the team I’ve managed to accomplish two amazing things. 1) After bowling my big 99, I followed-up with a 52 – forget I ended with a 108 – that 52 screams at me… I haven’t bowled a 52 since I was 10. 2) Last night, I pulled my butt in big stupid ways and had to sit out last night where instead of being the supportive team cheerleader, I through a pity party for one and whined – good one, Beth. But seriously, who pulls their butt? And my butt just gave out to boot – not just a pull – I can’t support my weight on that leg without acting like a huge baby. CLASSY!

This next week I need to focus on stretching said butt so at least Mom can be proud that I’m able to do something that is vaguely athletic. (Mom happened to be a fairly good bowler, too – there’s just no escaping that shadow.) And since I’m never going to be a good tennis player, golfer, basketball player, etc. – I have to hope that I can do ok in bowling. I may need to lower those goals next year and stick to sports like hopscotch – I can see a future for me there.

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