Thursday, January 01, 2009

Return Duckpin Bowling for the Department's Anniversary

It was January of last year when I joined fellow members of the New Worlds Alliance (NWA) in weekly bowling (ten pin) at Farmer’s Plaza. The group then had a bowling craze which ended somewhere in the second quarter of 2008.

What I had hoped besides having fun with fellow fans of geeky shows was to ready myself for the office’s anniversary season; duckpin bowling in particular. I was a player for the yellow team in 2007 which collapsed in the championships. I wanted to get back and get some satisfaction.

In the end all I got for my games with NWA was having the greatest leg exercises of my life for over a three month period. The hastily organized anniversary did not have duckpin bowling in its line-up. For 2009 I hope that it will no longer be the case.

2008 saw only two sports for the Department’s sports fest, basketball and volleyball, including some parlor games. Participation was marginal especially with one man sports like chess, badminton, and darts also out of the table.

If anyone would just consider the demographic: age, physical factors, and desire, not everyone can play volleyball or basketball. There was not much hope for audience participation either because of the fact that the opposing team is formidable; or in basketball practically unbeatable.

In bowling everything levels out. For maximum participation everyone is organized into teams of ten players each; if it will be a repeat of 2007 that’s ten players a building. There’s no size or stamina factored in the play just the five players who are active at each set, the ball, and the lane.

What makes it fun is what the five in waiting can do before they get their turn. They can eat, sing, drink, or practice with friends from the opposing teams while waiting. Often in these establishments there’d be billiard tables too but I’d focus on just one type of ball per game day.

You can change tables, share tables, jeer or cheer for whomever you wish. In bowling everyone can play, everyone can watch, everyone can party.

In basketball and volleyball, the outdoors gets in the way; plus the fact that a sports fest starts often along with the summer season can really make it a problem. Even if you can get past the heat you’d be insane setting up tables and food with balls flying around. Furthermore watching only one team getting cherry red asses from all the kicking tends to get boring after the first few years.

Chess and darts are a little slow. They are not the games people can get into for cheering and shouting unless maybe it’s the finals...just maybe. Does anybody shout in chess anyway? Badminton on the other hand is exciting but because it’s either doubles or singles there may not be enough audiences for a festive atmosphere. Everyone could be playing.

Schools sometimes make it a policy to move heaven and earth to get audiences in competitions. I got an attendance credit after watching a few times. If the department can arrange something similar then we may have something with badminton.

Nothing really competes with bowling. I only mentioned duckpin because it’s cheaper and that is what my office prefers. Whether tenpin or duckpin, any bowling establishment is rigged up to be a restaurant with games. You have food, drinks, and the maximum opportunity to participate in cheering, playing, and enjoying.

It may even be better than anniversary night. By then everything hinges on the performer and the raffle; great if the two pull it off. Loose interest in both then your only choice would be seeing the stash of food in your office, and that just misses the point of having a Department Anniversary.

Often bowling and badminton find themselves in the chopping board at prep meetings because of the need to go outside the office, rent an establishment; spend for shuttles and gas. It is not inconceivable that the more serious of us may cry out for legal basis; say that the amount of work prevents us from parties; or use the economic turmoil threatening our shores to limit or control the expense and effort for the anniversary. And lets be honest they have some legitimate points.

But anniversaries are not supposed to be just numbers on a calendar celebrated by token activities just so we can say we ran through a list. Anniversaries as they say are a time for reflection. No other time of the year when the Department can have the excuse to think for its own, spend for its own, care for its own. Sometimes what other people say is not as important as employees saying ‘I enjoyed my Department’s anniversary’.

I wrote this in part for the bowling which I hope to practice in some shape or form this January until April.

I am in it for that once in a year opportunity to hang out in a loose and festive manner with co-employees, not people from the other bureau or the other building, but employees of one Department which will be celebrating its anniversary this April.