The Mediaocracies

From left: Brian. George, John and Tony.

The Mediaocracies. From left: Brian. George, John and Tony.

After a layoff of about nine months, I’m bowling regularly again. With three friends, we formed a new team for the fall season at AMF Pro 300 in Southeast Portland, and it’s as much fun as I imagined it would be.

We are The Mediaocracies.

The name reflects the fact that three of us are journalists — two active, one recently retired — and the other is a rabid consumer of political news. It’s also a play on the word “mediocre” because we don’t see ourselves as exceptional or hyper-competitive bowlers.

My teammates: John Killen, a longtime colleague who recently retired from The Oregonian; Tony Hernandez, a reporter who joined the staff about a year ago; and Brian Wartell, a respiratory therapist and poker buddy who’s bowled with me before, most recently a year ago when we teamed up with two women teammates to form The Cheeseheads.

We finished second-to-last dead last a year ago in the coed Average Joes League. I had every intention of recruiting two women to join Brian and me this season but there were no takers. Happily and thankfully, John and Tony accepted my invitation to come aboard, saying they hadn’t bowled in a quite a while but were up to the challenge of bowling every Monday night for 15 weeks.

During the first six weeks of bowling, the four of us had been present together just once because of various commitments. So it was great to all be there last night and combine for three wins out of four games.

We came into the evening with a record of 12 wins and 12 losses, good enough to find ourselves in a five-way tie for sixth place in a field of 17 teams. After tonight, we could find ourselves in fifth place next week, either outright or tied. At the end of the season, each team receives a cash payout based on its finish, so we are bowling for more than just pride.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Bowling on Monday nights is a great way to leave work behind and just relax. The league we belong to is non-sanctioned, which means bowlers don’t take themselves too seriously, knowing their scores don’t count for much beyond week-to-week bragging rights.

You meet a lot of nice people during the season and last night was no exception. We bowled for the second time against a couple named Maggie and Aron, who find themselves a twosome instead of a foursome because the couple that signed up to be on their team flaked out after one week.

Even if you lose, you feel good for the other team. If you win, you appreciate the gracious good wishes of your opponents.

Last night, I had it going. My average is right around 150, so I was pleased and surprised to bowl a 145-202-155 series for a total of 502, my first 500 series this season and my first time topping 200 in a single game. Had a hot streak in the second game where I bowled six strikes in a row. Unreal.

We’re about halfway through the season, which wraps up just before Christmas.

Lots more bowling to come. Lots more good times ahead.

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