The bocce team decided that we were so successful at bocce (we actually WON a game....OK, admittedly it was because the other team forfeited...but still!....) we would try our hand at another sport. Bowling.
Our bocce captain is a life-long bowling freak. He has a bowling ball named the "Black Widow" with fingertip holes, a fancy bowling brace, and a 165 pin average.
The rest of us - well, one of us is OK (I think he's averaging 111 right now). The rest of us are happy to keep the ball out of the gutter.
Much to our chagrin... we are in first place after 6 weeks. By a LOT!!!!
This is a game where it helps to be a noob - most of us have ridiculous handicaps. The big advantage to this - if you have even a remotely good game (say, 10 pins over average) - you can wipe good bowlers out. It's incredibly satisfying to beat bowlers with their custom bowling balls, pretty shoes and fancy throws...
My average is currently 89. So they give me 111 pins per game (bowling handicaps are 200 minus the average number of pins)
Last night was one of our best nights ever. I got 118, 141, 118. Considering that over 100 is an incredible game for me, the fact that I got 3 in a row makes me wonder what is in the beer at the Bowl America this week.
Of course, the bummer about doing so well is that my average is slowly increasing. This hurts when your best shot is the gutterball.....
The best part about this experience - the incredible supportiveness. If one of us hits more than 5 pins - we're cheering like jacked-up freaks. If one of us (me) has a gutterball special (or my specialty of 0/10 spares) - we cheer and rib each other mercilessly. I'm suspecting that having played other games together before (and the fact that only one of us takes this at all seriously) is really helping our performance. We know each other's strengths and weaknesses and we also know what it takes to motivate the others.
As I have mentioned before, I am NOT a fan of team sports. Too many bitter experiences with too many hyperactive type A people who forget you are playing a GAME.
The experience with bocce, and now with bowling, makes me realize that team sports (and team endeavors in general) can be positive. A group who understands how to motivate each other, incredible supportiveness, perspective, and a sense of humor seems to make all the difference.