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Tag Archives: pool

I had a good time today watching my 10-year-old bowl with her friends and classmates

NB – This post was written using Dave Winer’s “Little Facebook Editor”, which currently posts to both Facebook and WordPress. It also allows for editing and updating to both sites, concurrently. If I continue using it, I’m hopeful I can remember it uses the entire first paragraph for the title. He’s trying to get Facebook to allow for some kind of textual formatting, which would then provide headline capability within Facebook as well. I edited this one to be only the first sentence.


Kid Bowling

Assuming the Position!

One of the boys in her class was celebrating his 10th birthday at a local bowling alley. I think this was the first time I’ve been to one where the entire building was given over to birthday parties for kids.

This is a large building, by the way. I didn’t count the lanes, but I did count (well, almost to the end) the large-screen TVs that were lined, almost end-to-end, from the first to the last lane and there were no less than fifty. Content was staggered, as you moved down the line, from one screen showing a music video, then two screens for keeping score of the games, then one screen showing a sporting event, and two screens for scoring again . . . rinse and repeat.

When we arrived, I had to check out the bowling balls. They couldn’t have weighed more than 6 pounds, which works really good for the kids. Might be the perfect weight for adults to bowl . . . overhand. When the kids are bowling – at least the younger ones – there are no gutter balls, because the gutters are filled with lane-length bumpers. Without them, the vast majority of balls would end up in the gutters. That’s not a lot of fun for the kids.

Watching the balls bounce off the bumpers, I envisioned a scaled-up version of a pool table, with the balls being the same size as bowling balls, and imagined playing pool or billiards in the same manner one bowls, the rules following those of standard billiards or pool games. I just did some quick research and calculate the playing field/table would be 34′ x 17′. It would appear such a game would include a de facto dodge ball component.

They had three breaks for the kids to dance, all managed by the man behind the curtain and facilitated by the servers/party guides. The dances included the Chicken dance, YMCA, and the Hokey Pokey, plus some Cha Cha line dance I can’t recall the name of. The organization and precision of the whole thing was simultaneously admirable and eerie. There was an assembly line, automaton feel to some of it.

There were soft drinks and the kind of pizza that kids will devour with no complaint, while adults would likely find fault with. I had three pieces. I was told they close down the bar, so I wasn’t able to quaff a brew or two.

Toward the end, Alyssa was anxious to get home, but she had one more frame, the tenth, to complete. I told her she had to finish, as she was on a team and her teammates were depending on her. She bowled the first strike of her short life, without using the bumpers, then went on to knock down nine pins and pick up the spare. She was so excited she forgot she wanted to leave and joined in on another game.

However, as I said, the precision of the event(s) was near perfect and, precisely at 1:30 (it began at 11:15) everybody had to leave. No doubt they clean up, then either open up for public bowling or begin the birthday assembly line once again. I’m pretty sure we had a good time.

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Swimming, Floating, and Flying

I came across an interesting post by Justine Musk the other day, courtesy of John Hagel, who I subscribe to on Facebook. In her piece, Justine talks about (among other other things) the “Tetris Effect” that describes the phenomenon whereby playing Tetris leaves people seeing residual moving pieces of the game after they’ve completed playing, usually during periods of rest or prior to falling asleep. I’ve played Tetris in the past and haven’t experienced this, but it did remind me of something I have experienced that I think is related.

Flying by Wire

To Float; Perchance to Dream

I was fortunate enough to have a swimming pool at home from the time I was 9 years old. We had just moved back to the San Fernando Valley, from West Los Angeles, after an ill-fated attempt by my father to work in a partnership with his brother. My parents purchased a new tract home on the border between North Hollywood and Sun Valley and they decided a pool was a good idea. This was Southern California, after all!

During the warm months of late spring and throughout the summer, I used to spend as much as eight hours in that pool. This was before the advent – to my knowledge – of sunscreen and is no doubt a direct contributor to my having a Melanoma surgically removed a couple of years ago. My parents use to call me a fish because of the inordinate amount of time I spent in the pool. Later on I swam competitively in High School, earning a school letter and several medal and trophies in free style and butterfly.

Many times, at night, I would have these vivid dreams that I could simply float and swim through the air, casually treading or stroking my way above the trees and houses in my neighborhood. These dreams were powerful and clear and I could feel the movement as I ascended and moved down the street. I remember well how I would have to keep treading if I wanted to hover over a neighbor’s house and how I could ease myself back down to the ground by merely slowing the speed with which I was treading. It was exhilarating.

Later on, when I was old enough to drive, I used to go surfing in the morning and return in the afternoon to go swimming in our pool. For a while, I could feel the waves in the pool, though they obviously weren’t really there. It was an interesting feeling that I remember quite fondly. I’m sure many others have experienced this “Tetris Effect” from things they’ve done in their lives. How about you?


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