They say all good things must come to an end. Even bowling.
After seven years in a Monday night beer league, I’m zipping up my bowling bag and putting my shoes and ball away for the next few months. Now that I’m teaching three classes on two college campuses, I’m going to need every available night during the week to keep on top of all of it: lectures, readings, exams, student work, emails, etc.
It’s been all fun since this Monday night activity got started in January 2010. I’ve bowled with a changing cast of friends and co-workers who’ve come and gone due to work and personal commitments.
We’ve bowled at two venues — the venerable Hollywood Bowl (now a hardware store) and AMF Pro 300.
We’ve bowled under five different names — Broken Taco Shells, Steamin’ Chalupas, The Cheeseheads (when I was the only guy with three women who were Green Bay Packers fans), the Mediaocracies (when my teammates were primarily former colleagues from The Oregonian/OregonLive) and, most recently, Bowling 4 Goats.
A teammate came up with the latter name during a Happy Hour brainstorming session. Silly? Of course. Why goats? Why not? Portland is one of those places known for urban chickens and urban goats – and, in fact, even has a resident herd, The Belmont Goats, with their own Facebook page and Instagram account.
We’ve bowled well (league champs one season) and we’ve bowled poorly (last-place finish another season).
Through it all, the weekly routine has provided a place to unwind. A place to celebrate strikes and spares, and to shrug off life’s gutter balls. A place to talk about work, family, books, sports, movies, music, travel, politics and (this being Portland) food — all while socializing with average joes and jills from all walks of life.
Last night, my teammates and I celebrated the end of our fall 2016 season. Out of 19 teams, we finished in third place with a record of 42 wins and 22 losses, 3 games behind the first-place team. I averaged 151 for the season –which was a personal best and one pin above my goal..
As before, we celebrated at Tilt, home of the biggest and baddest burgers in town.
I told my teammates I was dropping out temporarily and hoped to rejoin them next summer or fall. Until then, thanks to my bowling buddies — Brian, Joel and Mike and so many more — for the memories of the past seven years.
Photo montage: The Belmont Goats