Through a series of unusual coincidences ( I'm starting to wonder if there are such things), anyway, found myself sitting in the midway hotel tavern.
The midway, with the exception of adding Ozzy's " I'm Coming Home" to the jukebox, hasn't changed one thing since 1978 including the patrons who seem permanently affixed to their stools, sipping cans of Old Milwaukee and staring blankly at bowling memorabilia
I walked in during the second frame of the Professional BowlersAssociation Tournament of Champions, championship match which pitted top PBA bowler Chris Barnes against Kelly Kulick. This match creating history with the first woman ever to make it to a final of a PBA tournament...and doing so at the televised finals of the games major championship.
It was as if, in order for the event to truly have happened, that an outside observer (me) needed to lay witness to the experience for this elephant graveyard of bowling enthusiasts as they found themselves challenged with social-sexual implication of the match juxtaposed against the " take on all comers", "roll 'em and count 'em up" and dare I say "mano-a-mano" concepts that form the cornerstones of their Midway existence.
I started to mention the whole Schrodinger's cat idea to them, but then figured having your mind totally fucking blown once on a Sunday afternoon was enough, plus as Kelly rolled strike after strike I wondered if perhaps the situation would turn volatile and, as an outsider, I was very much a likely target.
As it turned out, the opposite was true. Kulick didn't just win the match, she dominated it. Perhaps it was the space, the company or the $3 Trogges, but after the 4th strike in a row I started picking up the strong scent of fate. Except for a hiccup of an open frame in the middle she just rolled strike after strike after strike, each one touching the sporting sensibilities of the crowd at the midway, and winning over their support. By the 8th frame she had the thing won. Undeterred she struck the 8th, the 9th, and the went strike, strike, 9 in the final frame with the last standing pin seeming almost appropriate....as in...." keep watching because you know I can get even better".
The win give Kulick a two year automatic exemption on the Pro Bowlers Tour, and I suspect we're going to starting hearing a little more about bowling over the coming months. But her impact is already felt, at least along a small stretch of Columbia Ave. As I hustled out of there, late to pick up the boy, I heard one of the old timers say to the bartender, "can you turn the TV up ? I want to hear what she has to say "