A few days ago, in a fit of New Year’s optimism and a feeling of an immediate and pressing need to get out of the house, I agreed to join a bowling team.

The team had just lost its sole girl member, and needed a lady bowler so as not to forfeit in their mixed league.

See what I just said there?  “Mixed league?”  That should have been a clue.

I’ve been in a bowling league before, once.  It was in law school, and we all formed teams and drank a lot of beer and made tshirts (one team even made actual bowling shirts!) with funny nicknames and clever team names.  We all rented shoes and used house balls and got really drunk and the music was too loud, and to my surprise I didn’t totally suck at bowling.  I was thinking this would be a good chance to recapture that fun.  That was called a rec. league.

As it turns out, rec league ≠ mixed league.

I got to the bowling alley 5 minutes into the practice period and was the absolute last person to arrive.  I found my team, introduced myself, and asked where the shoe rental place was.

My new team captain looked stricken.  “You have to rent shoes?” He said.  I looked down.  He had his own bowling shoes.  In fact, every other person in the mother-loving league had their own shoes.

To his credit, he recovered quickly, pointed me in the direction of the shoe place, and we were on our merry way.

As I sat awaiting my turn, team captain turned to me.

“This is a really nice league, I think you’ll really like it,” he said.  “Except, there’s one team?  See them down at the end?  The ones with the bowling shirts?”

“Fun!” I thought.  “Bowling shirts!”

“Yeah,” he continued, “they are so ridiculous.  They pretend they’re all into it with their stupid bowling shirts, but they all use house balls.  Can you believe that?!  House balls!”

I looked down sheepishly at my house ball, nestled among all the custom, fancy, glittery balls of the people I was playing with and realized:  I am in so over my head here.

I proceeded to bowl the worst game I have ever bowled in my ENTIRE LIFE (69, a score which made me giggle – I even cracked a small joke and my team all just looked at me grimly and didn’t even seem to get why that could be funny).  I then bowled a 105, and they all started to look hopeful, before it all fell apart and I closed out the evening with a 78.

During the games, some incredibly large and intimidating man with a serious halitosis problem decided to take me under his wing and teach me the ropes of bowling, which apparently involves some sort of salve that you put on your hands, and nail polish that you paint on the area between your thumb and your forefinger?  (I might have this wrong, I was focused so hard on not visibly grimacing that I didn’t really hear what he was saying.)

Oh! And then the guy from 2 lanes down yelled at me for not following bowling etiquette!  I’d been looking to my left and right and making sure no one in an adjacent lane was about to bowl before I threw my ball, but apparently you’re supposed to look two lanes to the left and right, and I was “totally screwing him up” by not waiting for him to finish bowling.  To which I wanted to say “sir, perhaps I can buy you a beer to help you RELAX AND GET OVER YOURSELF OH MY GOD.”

And!  And!  There was NO BEER.  Or fries.  Or pizza.  There were no snacks at all.  Three hours of bowling and not a single person on my team or the team we were playing against had anything to eat or drink, except one guy on my team who ate a POWER BAR.

So, in short, I’ve decided that I need to break up with my bowling team.  I’m thinking I’ll go short, sweet, and classic:

Dear Bowling Team:  You deserve someone so much better.  It’s not you, it’s me.  I’m just not that into you.