The best thing for a splitting headache, I learned today, is to chaperone a herd of hyper and loud little kids on a bowling field trip. Okay, I don’t really recommend that as an effective remedy, but I made it through the headache and the bowling trip relatively intact.
Dove, who is now a third grader, waved as soon as she saw Gary and I waiting for her school’s buses at the bowling alley. She introduced us to the little crew who would be bowling with her today, and the girls in her group did the usual “I’m-so-shy” act…for roughly 3 minutes flat. Then they morphed into typical third graders, full of energy, talking and laughing and moving non-stop.
The bowling alley put up bumpers for the kids’ bowling lanes. More than one of them told us they had never bowled before, which surprised me. One of the little girls in Dove’s group bowled for the first time and also got her very first strike, which was cool to watch. She was so excited, I thought she was going to do back flips back to her seat.
At some point, Gary mentioned that rolling two balls down one lane might be fun. Too young to ever suspect that he would steer them wrong, Dove and another little girl decided to try that out, giggling and heaving two bowling balls down one lane at the same time. This trend instantly caught on, and mayhem ensued, with kids rolling two (or more) balls down a lane at once, laughing with delight at this rebellious and unconventional new style of bowling taught to them by Dove’s father, who sat innocently and watched, as if wondering where on earth they got such a hare-brained idea in their young and impressionable minds.
Lunch was pizza that looked like it came directly from the dumpster. Some kids dived into it like it was fine cuisine, while others uttered an unimpressed “Ewwww” after their first bite. Gary and I wisely chose to go hungry and eat somewhere else later.
The time went quickly, and soon the kids were lining up to meander back to the buses. Gary and I walked with Dove back to her bus, where her teacher thanked us for coming and for helping. As much as the kids’ teachers are lied to and told ridiculous stories about us, it meant a lot for her to sincerely thank us.
Going to work after the field trip was difficult. I scrolled through the pictures I took and chuckled at Gary with rabbit ears and moose antlers, courtesy of the kids, and a shot of Dove leaping into the air after her strike.
After each turn bowling, Dove and her buddies raced up to each other and hugged. Gary joked with her, “You know, I think most bowlers just high five.”
She looked at him like that was utterly silly and said, “But Daddy, we’re all friends.”
So next time you go bowling, don’t forget the hugs! And to roll two balls down the lane at the same time.