Ever since I tried curling a few months ago, I’ve hungered for bowling. It’s been ten years since I bowled, almost exactly, on the weekend my friends married (at the Incline Station). I’ve been to parties and for volleyball at Skyline Lanes. But I haven’t bowled in a while.

And to be honest, I bought a Fitbit. I knew I needed a thousand steps and reading the paper wasn’t going to make it happen.

I was near the mall (reading the Sunday Duluth News Tribune at Barnes and Noble) so I went to Country Lanes. Each game was $3.75; I have no idea whether that’s a good price, but it seems comparable to a short movie, I think, if you take your time bowling.

My form was a bit rough. I tried sliding into the bowl, like I did when I was younger, but I hit the knee harder now than I did ten years ago, less a slide than a bounce. And I made the same mistake I have made since I was a kid, grabbing a ball that was too heavy, making me sloppy. A light ball bowls straighter, but it took me two games to remember that.

There was an older gentleman, older than I am, behind me, who watched me, just vaguely judgmentally (or maybe I am projecting some). When I went to look for a different ball, he asked whether I wanted a heavier or a lighter one. I chose lighter, with slightly more close-together finger holes. I stopped hurling the ball, at that point, and got better at bowling.

I hated bowling as a child. My grandmother used to yell “bend your knees” as I drew the ball back to bowl, almost every time throwing me off. There is a metaphor for love in there somewhere.

But this is a good way to get the steps in, without feeling like I’m walking just to get the steps in.

I’d love some advice from the real bowlers out there — which alley, what times of day (if price varies by time of day), maybe even what food to order, if I get food. What can you tell me?

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