Saturday, March 21, 2009

two White House notes

President Obama has been trying to bowl on the White House lanes Harry Truman had installed. He's not doing well, but I can tell you it's a lot harder for most people than it seems. When I was a kid I watched professional bowlers on our TV for several years before I first tried. Irrationally, I decided I wasn't going to bowl until my 16th birthday. Years later I wrote an odd poem about it. It's here in Postures 2007. Do this search: President Obama bowling - Michelle Obama, I am pleased to learn, is putting in a White House vegetable garden. In November of 2008 I wrote a short poem about this topic: Lesson One. I can't have a garden where I reside. Search: Michelle Obama garden rho00319


baj salchert said...

Bowling was the only sport I legitimately had success in. However, my frail body tired easily, and though I would have enjoyed being a professional bowler, I lacked the consistency required. Over a period of years early on I had three 199 games before I rolled a game in the 200s. That game was a 217. I remember it because my dad was in a league and I went with him to practice on an empty lane. I eventually did get good enough to average around 167. Was at my best when I was in my late twenties and early thirties. As I recollect, I rolled my highest series while in a public league in Charleston, Illinois: 279, 186, 212. A couple years after that/ the captain of a team I was on in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, rolled the best series I have ever personally witnessed: 812.

William Michaelian said...

Amazing. My father also bowled in a league, back in the Sixties. His average was 177. One night he bowled a 253, but someone on the other team bowled a 256. I think it earned him a free glass of beer.

My bowling “career” didn’t continue long after I finished high school. My high game was a 234; my second highest game was a 186. I routinely managed to be in the 160s.

Kind of funny, remembering those scores. When I was twelve, I pitched in little league. In one six-inning game, I threw fifteen strikeouts. We won two to nothing.

In another game, I was hit on the head by a pitch; the ball bounced straight up off the helmet; I didn’t feel a thing.

In a really big game, I was pitching in 100-plus-degree heat when the coach and my parents ran out onto the field and asked me what was wrong. My skin was gleaming and I almost passed out. My parents took me home. “Heat frustration.” I found out later that our team had lost, nine-zero.

The things we remember ...

baj salchert said...

I tend to remember traumatic events. One such involved instant karma. Although I was fast over short distances, I was never a good baseball player. One evening I hit a homer high over the right field fence, and errantly felt pretty good about it. After touching home plate I went back to the wooden bench I'd been on, but placed my hands on the bench first. My right hand was summarily blessed/ with a sliver. The opposing pitcher told me later that I was lucky. Don't recall my response to him, but I do recall that when I swung at his pitch my eyes were closed.