This was Namine’s first time bowling in a league, but it was also her first time bowling without bumpers. Normally she prefers to throw the ball instead of using a ramp, but she found it hard to keep it from spinning.
Another thing to get used to was switching sides. When you bowl in a league, every other frame you switch over to the other lane. Since the ramp up to the floor was only on one side — not to be confused with the ramp she used to bowl with — she ended up doing a lot of wheeling.
The ramp that the bowling alley had for going up and down the floor was rather steep, actually too steep for Namine to navigate by herself. But that’s why I was there — to help in any way I could, and to cheer her on, of course.
Each tournament session was three games long. At the start of the second game, Namine decided she was going to throw the ball herself. “I’m never going to throw the ball straight if I don’t practice,” she told me. I couldn’t help but agree.
This last bit that I want to mention has a little to do with bowling, but is also influenced by what we’ve been watching lately. (Trust me, it’s relevant.) We’re currently making our way through all three seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender. I’ll warn you that there are slight spoilers ahead for season two, so consider yourself warned.
As Namine finished her first ball in a frame, she headed back to the ball return. She placed her hand right on the metal where the ball would soon come rolling along, happily crushing her fingers — I was sure — when it did. I said as much to Namine, much less calmly than I am now typing this out.
“Dad,” she said, rolling her eyes, “I’m not going to squish my hand. I can feel when the ball is coming, so I can be ready for it.”
She pulled her hand away just as her ball came rolling out, then deftly spun and pulled it out, placing it in her lap. “It’s like how Toph uses her earthbending to see,” she explained. “As the vibrations get stronger, I know when the ball is about to come out.” (Toph is a blind character from Avatar who is able to “see” through vibrations she feels in the earth.)