Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How to Have Fun in Only 28 Minutes!

Duckpin bowling.

That's right, kids. It's what you get if you mated bowling and NES Duck Hunt. Little balls, little pins, no ducks. 

Duckpin bowling is a game popular in certain parts of the East Coast. Such as the DC suburbs of Maryland, current home of your faithful narrator as I quickly learned. How quickly? 28 minutes quickly. 

One evening a few weeks ago, I had a hankering to try out the local bowling alley, so boyfriend and I moseyed (as much as you can mosey in a Jeep Grand Cherokee) into town to play some good old ten-pin. Or so we thought. 

We enter the bowling alley at exactly 8:30 pm, ready to put on our shoes and pick out our balls. I began to notice something strange, though. All the balls were the same size and color, little brown midget balls, lined up in the alleys. And this was no Lucky Strike bowling alley, aglow with disco lights and fancy schmancy screens. No sirree. There were no tv screens, only defunct projector machines that gave me flashbacks to the dismal days of 7th grade science class presentations. 

We went up to the counter to purchase our game. An older woman greeted us with, "It's a slow night and if I don't get enough business, I'm going to close up soon." Give us a game anyway, we say. 

"I saw you looking at the alleys. This is duckpin bowling, not ten-pin bowling." Pause for effect. "It's either one or the other. They're not interchangeable." She must be the Women's Duckpin Champion of the East Coast or something because she continues on to tell us the history of Duckpin, the location of notable Duckpin alleys, and an explanation of how to score by hand on the tally sheet we've just been handed.  

So we played, and we scored (by hand, not by foot or anything). It's surprisingly difficult to knock down the pins with such a smaller and lighter wooden ball. I think they call it "the sport of a lifetime" because it takes you that long to knock down all the pins. I still have much to learn from the Women's National Duckpin League I suppose. I hope to sign up for lessons.

And then sure enough, the manager decided to close up early, shooing us through our last frame. We were the last ones there at 8:58 pm. No sooner had we discovered the existence of duckpin than we had finished our first game.

So next time you have 28 minutes to spare (or to strike), be sure to check it out. remember that it will take you at least twice as long to discuss and dissect the event afterwards so leave ample time for dinner at the local Applebee's (the only bar in town not frequently solely by underage college students).   


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