I was the first man up on lane four for our eight minutes of bowling warmup Thursday night.
Old Man Bialczak, fresh off a day hanging out with Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle at the Little Bitty in the Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood and anxious to loosen up these creaky joints of mine, carefully one-two-three-four-ed it to the foul line.
Tightness of form be damned, I expected the familiar slide of my left foot in conjunction with the final arm swing to propel my spinning shot down the lane.
But my shoe stuck.
My body continued forward.
I suspect I looked a bit like a failing and falling gymnast not nailing the finish before I tipped forward enough for my right hand to touch the oiled lane to control the situation. In true league play, it would have been a foul.
Sorry, no video exists, I’m fairly certain.
It was humid in Bowling Green lanes of North Syracuse, thanks to the 78-degree F Wednesday followed by Thursday’s 50s.
And bowlers were sticking on the lanes all around me.
After a series of loud yelps, Rollie came out from behind the service desks with one of those big, wide dry mops and swept the approaches.
I kept sticking during practice. I borrowed teammate Tiny’s resin back, powdering the bottom of my bowling shoe. I scraped my shoe on the bottom of the mat they place on the stairs leading down to the lanes. A clean sliding shoe is a constant need each and every week.
I kept sticking, even when the real bowling began.
And so I improvised. I moved my starting spot up, shortening my approach distance to slow myself down. And I replaced the finishing slide with a little hop.
It wasn’t terrible.
I put together a couple of strike strings the first two games, overcoming three spare misses — two splits and a left-side pin each game — for identical 179 scores.
I kind of hoped to close with a 179 to score a triplicate patch.
Alas, my first shot kept creeping toward the head pin that last game, and three splits and a missed 10-pin paired with a couple of doubles added up to a 154.
Team-wise, we took two of three and total pins.
It’s getting toward the end of the season.
We entered the night in eighth place. The five-point night versus Dings Disappear, the ninth-place team, was much-needed.
I did enough to keep my average at 165.
When my schedule came out for week one in the paint department at the store, I was scheduled for the closing shift. Somebody will sub for me next week. The week following, I’m scheduled off. Yay. For the three weeks left in the season after that, I’m hoping to land opening or mid-shifts so I can roll out the campaign with my teammates.
What has a sudden rise in humidity done to mess up your routine? What did you do to cope with the circumstances? What would you have done in my shoes?