Well, it was 50-cent night. Looking at the lanes and the line waiting to be checked in, things did not look good. So I hopped in the car, drove down the El Camino to Moonlite Lanes in Santa Clara. Bingo. No line, lots of open lanes, and I got one with nobody on either side of me.
Put on my brand new bowling shoes (I'd bought a pair online after my last outing because my feet are very wide, rental shoes are not), got out the ball and rosin bag, and bowled a strike. But I nearly fell on my face doing it - the shoes were way slippery. Apparently I had not paid for the right-handed shoes, but got the ambidextrous ones. For those not familiar with the finer points of bowling, a right-hander finishes his approach by sliding on the left foot. Pro shoes have a sliding pad on the side opposite the one you hurl the ball with, and a normal gripping pad on the other. My shoes have sliding pads on both shoes.
My second ball was also a strike, and this time I felt like the ball was going to drag me down the lane with it. I managed to stop short of the foul line, but I actually did fall down.
Little by little the shoes picked up some traction, my balance improved and I stopped throwing strikes.
The first two games were erratic, with scores just barely over 100. I kept missing easy spares, and only hitting one pin on the next throw after a spare.
Game 3 was better - 130. I wasn't feeling as wiped out as I did the last time, and remembered to sit down for a little between frames, and it was only 10:30 so I figured what the heck, play one more game. It turned out to be my best - 150. Still nowhere close to my potential, but at least respectable for an old fart.
Also, the small bit of filing and sanding the Homestead pro did really improved the way I released the ball. The rosin bag also helped.
Lots of eye candy at Moonlite, both bowlers and staffers. I'll be going back again.