week 6 continued

Off Constantly 8.5  Dirty Half Dozen 6.5

by Jeltz – DHD

There were no cheering crowds, no frenetic sportswriters, no celebrities in attendance, but the long-awaited rematch of last year’s champion and runner-up was like a classic heavyweight fight. And like a heavyweight fight, it was preceded by an absolute circus: Trying to warmup with the bumpers up, bizarre computer mishaps that saw Oz lose an opening frame strike, the dawning (and hilarious) realization that Team Yankee Lanes had inadvertently erased all the scores for our poor neighboring league in an attempt to appease Hungus. (He did look pissed, but not as pissed as Ol’ Fuss n’ Britches when she marched up to the counter brandishing her scoresheet like a machete. )

And that’s not to mention the ball Number One threw, which hummed into the right gutter, struck a very solid object, flew across the lane, aloft, and rolled all the way back to the foul line in the opposite gutter.

I hereby offer Number One my share of the stimulus money if he can repeat the feat.

The opening game was also surprising. DHD won! (For those of you who weren’t around last year, DHD came up short against Off Constantly twice last year, most notably in the championship game, due to a) Off Constantly’s totally unfair level of talent and b) Jeltz picking the wrong week to dust off his Mitch Williams impression. Not that he’s still pissed about that or anything.)

Aaaaaannyhow, in an extremely close finish, DHD pulled out a 3-2 win with 625 total pins.

Game Two was the heavyweight-fight equivalent of the moment you realize that no one’s pulling off a third-round knockout, and you’re in for a long-drawn out evening of big people getting extremely sweaty, bloody and facially swollen. And it’s about the time you re-assess how much you really like boxing. But it’s also the point at which champions, once tested, prove their mettle. And Off Constantly, refusing to be beaten (off), answered the bell.

In another game that went down to the final frame, OC rebounded, with Oz again leading the charge, and Dick Liquor and Honey Bunny coming up with two vital points. OC claimed the point for total pins by a diabolically narrow margin of 550-546. Riggs wrote the words “10th frame. Game Two.” on an index card, taped it to the cinderblock wall of his run-down gym, and started jumping rope.

Game Three, ah Game Three. This game was close, but OC had the gleam in their eye. Knuffi and Honey Bunny both picked up points. (The ladies of Off Constantly were a perfect 4 for 4 on the evening.)  While Oz was held point-less, he cruised along for another 160+ game, giving OC the total pins lead that would prove decisive.

In bowling, as in certain other human endeavors, it is good to be a little drunk, but not too drunk. Jeltz kept it between the ditches, and picked up a point for DHD. Toonces, who made the leap from “More likely to throw it backwards” to “Solid as a brick in winter” in just a couple of weeks, slid in safely with a 115. Little P, who spent the morning swimming, lunch hour fighting evil-doers in outer space, and the afternoon singlehandedly rescuing the American auto industry, ran out of gas and finished with a 73.  Riggs did a lot of clapping, cheering and watching the scoreboard. Pirate and Number One tied at 145, and so only the total points gave OC the victory.

Not a knockout, but a victory nonetheless. And amidst the sweat, the yelling, and the overly large commemorative belts, a champion, knocked down once, rose again.

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