Cleaning out the garage last weekend, I found my first pair of golf shoes (obviously long forgotten) and then I uncovered my twins' first ten pin bowling set. We would set it up in the living room and bowl our hearts out. We'd get down on our knees, to kids' height, and nudge that plastic ball down the makeshift lane to the perfectly arranged pins.
The kids would practice stretching those little fingers across the holes to grip the ball and try so hard to get a strike! And then one day it was time to graduate out of the lounge room and take them to see how the game was really played at a real bowling centre. They loved it - the noise of the pins tumbling over, the rumble of the balls as they rolled down the lanes, all that colour and movement. We always had such a great time at the lanes, we decided it would be the perfect birthday party
MINIATURE CHAMPIONS IN THE MAKING
They were turning six. They had about four weeks of bowling practice leading up to the big day and they were ready. This would be a fantastic birthday. We taught the kids some techniques of the game, set the muscle memory for the hand grip, and helped them aim their shots. Yep, these miniature champions in the making were focused, they were ready. They were cool.
The boys were playing host to ten other boys and girls and naturally, they wouldn't want to miss a moment. Only two teams and every minute counts. The bowling centre's two teenage attendants were amazing with the children. They handled the disagreements over shoe colour and getting just the right size with a sense of fun and urgency that got the kids believing they were about to tackle the big league. I have to admit, those teens got me going too. I wanted to kit up again and play myself!
How could we have overlooked the fact that our boys would actually be playing against each other? Oh, potential disaster. Imagine dealing with the fallout of that? Well, we consoled ourselves with the fact they were about to discover the nail-biting triumph and heartbreak of competition, a good life lesson.
We were worried, but you know what - kids just wanna have fun. We could barely stop ourselves laughing as we watched the serious looks on their little faces as they stepped up to the ball rack, selecting their very own ball which looked about as big as they were! It was one of the most fun afternoons for the kids and us that I can recall.
WHO SAYS GIRLS AREN'T COMPETITIVE?!
The AMF bowling centres do it all for you really and you have to love that. The nibbles, the cake, the drinks are all there for you. All we had to worry about was team work, temper tantrums, a bit of gloating when they hit a strike for the third time running (how do kids manage to do that?!) and the battle of the sexes from a six year old perspective. Who says girls aren't competitive?!
And, one last tip - you can't take your eyes off the kids for a second. "Do NOT stick your head down the shoot looking for your ball to come up," I was heard to yell in panic as I grabbed the ankles of a would be miniature Bear Grylls. Phew!!
It's been too long. Now the kids are growing up, we're looking for ideas for teenage birthday parties
and a school holiday
activity. Bowling, here we come!