Archive for March 7th, 2011

I’m not a fan of bowling.  When I was just a wee boy my friend had a bowling birthday party.  I cannot remember if it was Brahm or Robert, what I do remember is that two prizes were awarded, one for the best score and one for the worst.  I did win a prize that day.  

The last time I was bowling was in Vancouver with my friends Tony and Penney and the reasons why I don’t like bowling came flooding back.  In no particular order:

1)      I don’t like having to rent shoes, especially clown shoes to play a sport. 

2)      I worry my fingers are going to get stuck in the ball.

3)      Just like I can’t stop worrying about the person who wore the clown shoes before me, I can’t stop worrying about the person’s fingers that were in the ball before me.

4)       When I get to the foul line I find that either my foot placement is wrong or I’m not ready to release the ball. 

5)      The scores are automatically calculated and appear on the wall where everyone can see.  I really do not need to have to pay to be humiliated.  My crappy scores are private thank you very much.

6)      Bowling, like most sports goes against my basic credo:  Sitting is better than standing, lying down is better than sitting.

7)      Did I mention the clown shoes?

One summer in the late 1990’s in Vancouver Tony called me up and asks if I want to go rollerblading with him and his wife Penney.

Me:  I’ve never been on roller blades, have you?

Tony: No.

Me: Has Penney

Tony: No

Me: Sure

Tony: How about we meet at your place in about half an hour.

I learned a life lesson that day.  Being able to stop is almost, if not even more important than learning how to go.  Now I work in a warehouse and that lesson still holds true, before you pick up a box you had better know where you are going to put it down.  In short, you always need an exit strategy.

We got to Stanley Park, found a place to rent the blades and once again I had to deal with renting ‘shoes’ it took all my strength but I managed to ignore the imaginary legionares disease crawling up my legs.  in very short order we were able to stand and move forward providing we stayed on level ground. The issue of stopping would soon rear its ugly head.

There was a ‘medic/security/park employee standing at the top of a short, steep, sudden downward slope.  As other rollerblader’s approached this spot he would ask them if they needed help getting down this ‘obstacle’.  I really wanted to say yes.  But nobody else took him up on his offer.  Penney who became our leader declined his help as did Tony, like a sheep to the slaughter I followed the crowd.  We all made it and agreed a short break was in order.

Well rested and back on our wheels we pressed on.  We came to another steep downward slope, not as bad as the previous one but it kept going for some time before it leveled out. I tried to warn Tony not to stop by rolling onto the grass as was his habit.  I knew at speed that the ‘sudden grass stop’ could be a bone breaker.  Penney went first, in seconds she was flying and seemed to be having a good time.  I jumped next I wasn’t having such a great time, I am not an adrenaline junky I didn’t like my lack of control and for the life of me I didn’t know how I was going to stop if I needed too.  Tony was right on my heels.  We were moving pretty quick, Penney was almost at the bottom of the slope, I turned my head to check on Tony, he was heading for the grass, I heard his yelp the last I saw of Tony were the wheels of his roller blades partially hidden by a bush. 

Despite my concern for him I started to laugh.   Through the tears of my hysterical laughter I saw Penney sitting on the grass waiting for us. Finally I was moving slowly enough I could use the ‘sudden grass stop’ method.  I ended up beside Penney, I was laughing so hard I couldn’t stop.  To my defense the laughter was not all about Tony most of it was tension release, flying Tony was just the trigger.

“Where is my husband?” Penney asked.  All I could do was point to the bush.  Penny while clearly worried also started to laugh, only she was laughing because I was hysterical, she was looking at the direction I was pointing but didn’t see Tony.  “Brian, where is Tony” at which point Tony crawled out from behind the bush and started to remove his roller blades which of course started another wave of laughter from both Penney and myself. 

To this day I can still hear the noise Tony made as he flew into the bushes, I can still see Penney as a blurry form in front of me as I found here through my tears of laughter.  And since that day I have not participated in an activity where I’ve had to rent shoes.

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