Story of the Week

MY GOLF & BOWLING EXPERIENCES

 

    The subject of this weekís feature story is a very obscure athlete; me. When I was young (that was shortly after the turn of the century; I just donít remember which one), I was a good athlete. Thatís the good news.

    Now for the bad news. Iíve never golfed or bowled much. This story is about those "recreations" and a couple of events Iím going to share with you.

 

    When Iím on a golf course, about twice a year, and Ďforeí is heard, be assured itís me. Itís a warning for other players to duck, and quickly. Duck from what? Duck from errant balls Iíve hit. Duck from falling tree branches my drives have clobbered. Duck from falling ducks my drives have clobbered. OK, Iím no Gary Player. (I had the pleasure of meeting him at the U.S. Open in 1965; heís an absolutely terrific person.)

    But I can honestly state here and now that I once had a hole-in-one. It happened at Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. in 1973. It was probably no more than 140 yards, par three, but a hole-in-one nonetheless. A hole-in-one for me is like pulling a royal flush. But I did it. As lousy a golfer as I am, no one can ever take that hole-in-one away from me.

 

    I havenít been bowling for almost 10 years. I bowl about every 10 years, so I guess Iím due again soon. The last time I went bowling, I rented a ball and shoes at the bowling alley.

    First game, I bowled my usual 140. Second game, I bowled my usual 140. Third game, I bowled 206. I had never come remotely close to that before, but I bowled 206.

    I loved it. I decided that I wanted that old, very used, rented bowling ball. The bowling alley owner told me that I should be fitted for a new one, but I made it clear to him that I wanted that one, and that Iíd pay any reasonable price for it. We agreed to the price, and he agreed to have my favorite number, 42, affixed to it. I knew I would become a great bowler.

    I bought a bowling bag, bowling shoes, a bowling towel. I was ready. I couldnít wait. The following weekend, I went to that same bowling alley. I bowled 136 my first game, and averaged 137 for the night. I was my usual terrible self again.

    As I type this column, I can see the bowling bag in the corner of my office; the bag contains my bowling ball, my bowling shoes, my bowling towel. I havenít touched it in 10 years. Iíll take any reasonable price for all of it.

 

    As Paul Harvey would say, now you know the rest of the story.

 

Last Weekís Trivia

    A member of the Baseball Hall of Fame batted exactly once in the major leagues and struck out. Who was he? Future great Dodgersí manager, Walter Alston, as a player for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1936.

 

Trivia Question of the Week

    John Wooden is only one of two individuals enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach. Who is the other one? See next weekís Sports Junkie for the answer.