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Yesterday my department hosted their annual holiday party. Instead of having it in a conference room next door with a few bags of chips, Costco cookies, and lengthy white elephant gift exchange, it was at a bowling ally. Fun!

I haven’t bowled in a few years and by “few” I mean, “about a decade.” Back then my high score was 39. That’s right. 39. And just to prove how not good a bowling I am, let me tell you this: I even got a strike. For realz. And still bowled a 39.

There was much, let’s say, “merriment” involved in that last trip to the bowling ally. This year being my department’s holiday party and 4:00 in the afternoon I though it best to stick to Diet Cokes.

I told my teammates about that 39. They marveled in my great suckiness.

“Were you a child?” one asked. “Our four year-old can bowl a 40.”

Well, bully for your four year-old! But I was in my 20’s!

“Were you in a cast?”


“Trying to be funny?”

Nope, nope, nope! I’m just that bad at bowling. Something about my spatial awareness is off I guess. Same deal with throwing any ball. If I want the ball to go straight, I need to stand sideways. I was determined to employ the same tactics in bowling.

I was up first. Standing sideways and to the right, I chucked my eleven pound ball down the ally and right into… yep. The gutter.

“Wow!” my boss said. “Impressive.”

I knocked down a pin on my second turn. One pin. Do you know how hard it is to only hit one pin out of ten? Or even no pins? Hard!

“Maybe you need a lighter ball,” Marty, my co-worker suggested.

“Noooooo!” I shouted. “I like the pink one!”

It was a close game between my co-workers. Almost all of them were within a few pins of breaking 100. Me? Let’s just say, if this were golf I would be a rockstar.

“A 25?” some jackass with his own bowling ball screeched. “Even if I tried not to hit a pin, I couldn’t.”

“Well then,” I said. “I guess I have you beat there.”  Jerkhead.

Before the second game started I caved and ordered a Bud Light. Let’s be honest: games like bowling, billiards, and pop-a-shot hoops, lend themselves to beer.

“I need to get into my window,” I told my boss. “It usually opens with three beers but in the essennce of time, and my professional advancement, I’ll try to pry it open with one.”

“Good idea,” she said, sipping her second beer.

That game I bowled a…

Wait for it…



I know!

If I were playing against a bunch of “Shellys” then I’d be singing, “I am the champion!” right about now.

It was weird though. I mean, I couldn’t believe just how bad at bowling I was.

“And I’m trying!” I told my co-workers. “I mean, really trying to hit some pins. What’s wrong with me?”

They all started talking at once. Again, Jerkfaces.

“I demand a rematch!” I shouted. “Some night when there’s no work the next day and I can drink enough beer to get in my window. Just you wait.”

Most of them laughed, but a couple agreed. The weird thing about bowling is that it’s a game you can totally suck at yet still have fun. I can’t say that about any of the other games I suck at: softball, Monopoly, Pin the Tail on the Donkey. (I don’t like blindfolds, okay?)

In the meantime, I’ll stick to games I’m good at. Making fun of The Real Housewives counts as a game, right?

Shelly Mazzanoble

5 Replies to “The Dude, I Am (Not)”

  1. Thank you for writing this! What a great way to start my day! I cannot help but laugh at the Mazzanoble meets bowling lane expirience. I just cannot picture you throwing a few frames. First of all, how is it that you found a ball that did not weigh more then you? I have met you a few times and a stiff breeze would knock you right over. So to start off you are handicapped and should have been given the “Mandatory Beer-leader/Cheerleader” for your team. The next time you are in town, we will have to train you on the proper drink to throw ratio. The best part is with Wii bowling, you can practice every night.

  2. I feel your pain. Pretty much any game that doesn’t involve sitting around a table rolling dice, I suck at. And what really pisses me off is when people start giving me pointers and advice–and they’re telling me to do exactly what I’m doing!

    I’ve spent many years pondering the situation, and there seems to be only one reasonable conclusion: the laws of physics just don’t work the same for some of us.

    My wife is wonderful about the whole situation. She’s always been good at sports and physical activities in general, and she’ll give suggestions and bits of advice while I’m lumbering and flailing around. But she always knows when to stop. Usually when I unconsciously start making little strangling motions with my hands.

  3. I can sympathize with your plight. I tell people I can run, swim and bike-ride in a straight line. Anything requiring more hand-eye coordination than that, then the “I Suck Factor” goes up exponentially.


  4. Maybe you’re just trying too hard- performance anxiety and what not…weighed down by memories of past failures and abject disappointments. The Dude doesn’t stress. It wrecks his chi.

    So have a beer (or three.) Have a heart-to-heart with your friendly neighborhood bowling-alley cowboy and just…be the ball.

    Woosah, my friend, woosah…

  5. If it makes you feel any better, Shelly, I flunked bowling in high school (yes, in my HS, PE included bowling – at Atomic Lanes, the preferred bowling alley for the Richland High Bombers)….only not because of my bowling SKILLS….but because I couldn’t learn how to KEEP SCORE properly. To this day, if I bowl, I do NOT keep the score. Actually…. If you had ME on YOUR team keeping score you would SO get a 100. 🙂

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