So, last night I went to a Gay Bowling League run by the London Raiders as a spare bowler. This was thanks to an invite from my friend Andrew, to whom I’d happened to mention about finding a gay bowling league just before New Year’s (see Looking for a Few Good Friends).
Just to explain, the London Raiders is a gay softball league that plays fairly regularly throughout the Spring/Summer, has been known to go to other countries for tournaments, and is planning on going to the 2008 Out Games in Copenhagen this July. A few years ago, they attending the inaugural Out Games in Montreal. I’m amazed I didn’t meet any of them back then, as I was living in Montreal at the time.
Anyway, the bowling league is only held once a month, usually near the begining of the month, at a bowling alley near Elephant & Castle Station. The alleys aren’t the nicest in the world, and the balls are so dirty (no puns, please… we had enough of those tonight!), but it was a cozy place.
One thing I should explain is I can bowl fairly well, eventhough I haven’t really bowled in the past 10 years. I started bowling when I was about 9 years old, and spent pretty much every Saturday morning/afternoon at the bowling alley during the school year in a youth bowling league. Then, once I graduated from the youth league at 18, I became a bowling coach for that league, and by that time I was also working at the alleys after school and on weekends. Needless to say, for a couple years, I spent quite a lot of time at the bowling alley between working there, coaching, and bowling in several leagues myself. I quit bowling at one point because it became too competitive and wasn’t fun anymore.
So, when I’d decided I wanted to find a gay bowling league in London, I definitely just wanted to find one that was for fun, and wasn’t too serious. This decision was also due to me wanting to start making some new friends outside of the usual gay/bar/club scene. And this definitely seems to be a good choice on my part.
Since the bowling didn’t start until 8pm, Andrew and I decided to grab some supper at the nearby Nando’s retaurant (basically a sit-down chicken shop as far as I’m concerned), and then head on over.
Once at the lanes, we looked for his team captain, Jane, and he immediately introduced me as a ‘ringer’ and that I could bowl over 200 … and then repeated it to the others on the team. Great … now there was pressure for me to be good. I just wanted to have fun. lol
Well, I did have fun, and I kicked ass on the lanes. Where everyone else was struggling to get over 100, I easily sailed past 150 during the first game and our team won 6 out of the 7 points available. And then during the second game against a different team (moved lanes), we easily kicked ass, again winning 6 out of the 7 points.
And I bowled a 202 game, and that was with me fucking up the last 2 or 3 frames (I was trying too hard at that point).
Oh, and did I mention we were all drinking during this as well? I wasn’t anywhere near drunk, but I was feeling pretty good after 2 pints and 2 large bottles of cider (about 1.5 pints per bottle). I’d had loads of practice way back when drinking and bowling, and not getting so pissed I couldn’t bowl.
Anyway, throughout the night I got to know the team members, including an older gay couple (Rob & Ricky), who were both very touchy-feely but not in a pervy sort of way. The rest of the team (other than Andrew) were lesbians who were quite sweet and friendly.
And by the end of the night, all of them told me I HAD to come back next month and keep coming back. In fact, Jane even went so far as to say she’d become a non-bowling team captain if it meant I could bowl in her stead.
In other words, I’ve been drafted in the London Raiders Bowling League. Exactly what I was hoping for, and I can’t wait to go again!