The Elks and Friends bowling league has mercifully come to an end, and none too soon.
The Sav-Mor Foods team on which I bowled finished somewhere down in the backwash of the standings. I would tell you exactly where, but I don't take my reading glasses to the alley and therefore could not read the stats sheet the league put out each week.
Some would say I leave my glasses at home on purpose. To them I say, "Bite me."
Suffice it to say that in a league of about 12 teams, we finished about 10th. Which isn't as bad as it sounds, because there were some high moments for the Sav-Mor team.
Unfortunately, most of those moments involved garlic-stuffed green olives. Sav-Mor, which most of you know as a scratch-and-dent discount grocery, is also noted for its occasionally rare and sometimes exotic foods.
When owners and teammates Susan and Stan Scott ended up with an entire case of garlic-stuffed green olives, they frequently brought a jar to bowling to inspire the team to ever greater heights.
At least that's what they said.
Some of us on the Sav-Mor team suspect that maybe the garlic-stuffed green olives weren't exactly flying off the shelves at Sav-Mor, but we can't prove that.
Anyway, the garlic-stuffed green olives inspired us beyond Susan and Stan's wildest imaginations. Over the course of the season, we came up with some pretty creative ways to consume them, most of which involved beer.
And while they didn't do much for our bowling scores, we do believe they rattled opposing teams into making grievous mistakes such as bowling much faster than normal so they could get away from our collective breaths. Some members of opposing teams even called-in sick with mysterious ailments on the night they were to bowl against us.
Another high moment came at the beginning of the second half of the season. The Elks and for all I know it may be a common practice divide their bowling season in half. After the first half you start all over again with a clean slate.
We had finished the first half way down in the standings. But "hope springs eternal," and we started the second half with renewed vigor.
Lo and behold, we swept our foes on the first night of the second half, and for a few heady weeks, were among the elite teams. But then gravity took over, and we began to sink pathetically to our natural level.
Some other moments of note included:
The night fellow scribe Mike Burkett showed up to do a cover story on bowling for the Rim Review and several bowlers took offense at his popping flash bulbs. It was fun to watch the normally arrogant Burkett retreat with his tail between his legs.
The night Susan Scott's brand-new bowling ball got a scratch on it. "What kind of bowling alley is it that would allow my ball to become scratched?" she asked incredulously. Fortunately after a few minutes of complaining to alley personnel, she got back to the task at hand sending her brand-new ball careening down the alley to smash into another set of pins.
The night another fellow non-Elk bowler pulled me aside and told me a long-lost secret that explains why Elks are such wonderful bowlers. "All Elks do," he said, "is bowl and drink." Reminded me of a line from one of my favorite movies, "Jaws" "All this shark does is swim and eat and make little baby sharks."
The night Stan Scott told me the other long-lost secret that explains why Elks are such wonderful bowlers. "God created the world in seven days," he said with great solemnity. "On the eighth day, he created bowling, and these Elks were the very ones he used."
The best that can be said is that the season ended with the rarest of rare events a harmonic convergence. The seemingly endless supply of garlic-stuffed green olives expired on precisely the night the season ended.
I tell my poetry writing students at Eastern Arizona College to always look for the metaphor the comparison to something simple that makes a difficult concept understandable and meaningful.
The garlic-stuffed green olives will forever serve as the metaphor for the bowling season just ended. Like a bowling ball, they are round with holes in them.
And like the Sav-Mor bowling team, week after relentless week, they stunk up Payson Bowl.