Bowled Over

Our athletes disgrace themselves.

By Brian McManus
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Oct. 25, 2006

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Groin pains: Later the defeated PW bowling team was reverse-crucified by victorious satanists. Photo by Lisa Hause / www.lisahause.com

I struggle to piece together the previous night. My shirt is soaked in fermented hops and barley, I'm wearing white cheerleader shorts, my head is swimming and I can't locate my wallet or keys. I stumble to the shower. My wallet is on the bathroom floor. On the windowsill is a ripped $50 gift certificate for North Bowl and a trophy reading "Most Pimp Uniforms."

Okay, that part I remember.

In time, the whereabouts of my keys come to me. I've left them in my pants--at work--on my desk. I have no way of locking the house. As I wait for the bus, it begins to rain. I have no umbrella. Had I only known what those last few shots of tequila and rounds of Sly Fox were going to do to my morning.

It began innocently enough. PW put together a five-strong bowling team to participate in North Bowl's grand opening party, costume contest and charity benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern PA.

Free food. Open bar. Count. Me. In.

We knew from the start we'd have virtually no shot at the top sporting prize. We're all pretty wretched bowlers, so we focus instead on winning the costume competition. We wear our excuse and dress as tennis players, covered from neck to taint in bleach white cotton shirts and tiny nut- and cooch-hugging shorts. The thought behind our choice of uni is simple: Every gutter ball we roll (and there will be plenty) will be shrugged off with a nonchalance that both camouflages our drunkenness and speaks to the very nature of why we're so terrible. We're Royal Tenenbaums, not Big Lebowskis, at home on the clay and not the lanes. Put another way: Fuck you--we're not supposed to be good.

And after the first few frames it becomes abundantly clear our lack of bowling confidence is not unfounded. Deuce Restaurant to our left and the band Unlikely Cowboys to our right are both trouncing us. The free pitchers of PBR help us cope.

They also make us wander drunkenly from lane to lane, missing our turns with greater frequency as the game wears on. North Bowl is a behemoth with two floors, two fully stocked bars, loads of available eats, several pool tables, an attentive waitstaff, single-sex and unisex (way more fun) bathrooms and a kinda makeshift art gallery. That said, you never feel swallowed by the place. They've done an expert job of sectioning off cozy portions and breaking up its vast expanse--or so my interior decorator wife tells me.

By the time the second round of bowling begins, I'm sufficiently sloshed. Open bar has closed just as paying for booze is no longer a concern--funny how it always works out like that. The upstairs bar--Spare Time Lounge! Yuk!--has the words "Social Lubrication" written on back-lit glass. I'm poured the champagne of beers before I head back downstairs to catch up with my team.

There's a photobooth by the restrooms. Tonight it's free. We slide in and give our quickly fading and distorted memories some future aid. This is followed by handstands, broken pint glasses, crotch grabbing, rapping along with Wu-Tang Clan's "C.R.E.A.M." and being accosted by a man somehow more inebriated than us. "Youse guys look ridiculous!"

Soon after we're given trophies to support his drunken thesis. More beerz. More teqwuilazz. The car ride home is foggy.

The next day esteemed team member and associate editor Brook Midgley sends out an email.

Subject: "Guess who ... "

Body: "Just puked in the bathroom. I'm never drinking again, till tomorrow :)"

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