My parents came out the weekend of New Year’s and we took Lucy bowling for the first time. The alley we frequent has bumpers in the gutters that pop up for specific players, so at least that was taken care of, but I was also concerned about how well she would be able to chuck the ball down the lane. I’ve seen 3- and 4-year olds hurl balls down the lane at speeds that come close to outpacing snails. Bumpers or not, that makes for a very slow game.
Luckily, the alley took good care of us. First, the attendant set Lucy up with a 5 pound ball, so she was able to pick it up from the return tray all on her own. In fact, she became very insistent about this step. “Me do!”
And even though after a few frames she started saying “ball heavy” when she picked it up, she never let us touch it. This was HER BALL people! Back off!
Also, in addition to the bumpers, the alley had a mobile ramp that allowed Lucy to place the ball at the top and launch it down the lane. Then, when Lucy’s turn was over we just dragged it out of the way.
The ramp was in the shape of a very cute dragon, and it was the perfect height for Lucy. With the ramp and bumpers, Lucy was almost guaranteed to always get at least a few pins down. The fact that she never got a spare or strike is entirely my fault – it was actually fairly difficult to line the ramp up to shoot the ball to where I wanted it to go. I kept trying as the game progressed, but it was always off by just a little bit. Too bad it didn’t have gunnery sights on it.
At any rate, Lucy took to it very quickly and became very fond of pushing the ball down with a single finger.
The first couple of times she launched the ball down the lane, I did the Daddy-thing by cheering it on. “Come on! Go! Knock those pins down!” Lucy immediately got into the act and started pointing down the lane and yelling “Go!” after every launch.
All in all, it was a great day, and I think Lucy did quite well – I think she ended up clearing 70 for the game. In fact, it wasn’t until frame 9 when I finally started beating her. Oh well, that’s what happens when you only bowl one game about every 18 months.