Christmas is really all about family, as is this week’s column

For those little ones out there that have been waiting somewhat impatiently for the big day, Christmas is tomorrow. It’s also tomorrow for the adults who have been only slightly more patient.

Christmas is all about family for me. This past week I have talked to several people who informed me that the whole family was going to be home for the holidays. They did so with a smile on their face. Like me, they know the importance of family.

When I was bowling I had a “family” of sorts with both teammates and opponents. Bowling night was a family affair and I have decided to use the word to describe what I’m talking about. So with a nod to Sue Grafton, here we go.

F is for Fill Ball. Bowlers know this term. When one converts a spare in the 10th frame, he gets one more shot. This final shot is the fill ball as the bowler will get anywhere from none to 10 pins to produce his final score.

Since a lot of focus was put on converting the spare, some bowlers lose a little concentration on that last ball even though it could be quite important for the team. My teammates decided that one should get at least eight pins on the fill ball and if you didn’t, it would cost you a dime in the kitty.

Supposedly the idea was to help our focus, but my teammates enjoyed seeing one get less than eight pins. Then they would gleefully shout out — fill ball, fill ball — and point to the kitty. I think they just enjoyed the other guy’s discomfort.

Hey, there are families and then there are families!

A is for Attaboy. This is a term that all bowlers want to hear from their teammates. Throw a turkey, pick up a difficult split or come through late in a game and you hear “attaboy”.

I had one teammate who would pat himself on the back when he did one of the above. “Attaboying” yourself is not recommended.

M is for Mother-In-Law. This really is a bowling term. It refers to the 8 pin when left with the 4, or the 9 pin left with the 6. I suppose it could also refer to the 5 pin if it remains with the head pin.

Also knows as double wood or a sleeper, the term’s origin seems to be steeped in mystery. One might assume that a mother-in-law sometimes lurks in the background helping to make “family” decisions.

When the term is used, some bowlers turn to see if indeed their spouse’s mom is in the house. They do so with a hangdog look on their face as if they don’t want to be caught … bowling? I’m kidding, of course, but I do think the mother-in-law is getting a bad rap here.

I is for I-I-I! Speaking of bad raps, my teammates made fun of me for being able to tell how my night went shot by shot. I’ve always done this and could probably replay their games — frame by frame — as well, but my teammates think I only think of me. Thus I once was a captain for the Fort Wayne Fling and my team’s golf shirts read Team I-I-I-I-I.

At least I have never attaboyed myself!

Y is for Yahtzee. Bowlers use this term for when one gets five consecutive strikes. I can count on one hand the times the term Yahtzee was shouted at me.

On the other hand, the term Yikes was used to describe any number of my shots where I left many pins standing all over the place.

So there you have it. My version of Christmas, family and bowling! If you are so inclined, Heritage Lanes opens at 5 p.m. Christmas and you can even enjoy glow bowling at 10 p.m.

After all, is there a more wholesome family activity than bowling?

Allen Eiry: Robin Brownell 338, Bob Reinhart 311, Jim Donaldson 308, Ed Wise 297, Phil Miller 292, Sandy Smith 286, Harry Smith 279, Sally VanBuskirk 269, Brenda Cardenas 254, Donna Smith 254, Jeannette Lynch 253, Jean Wolfe 252 and Paul Fey 246.

Rocket: Mike Distel 636, Tyson Shope 618, Roger Coppus 573, Tom Tiell 573 and John Klingshirn 558.

55 Plus: Bob Reinhart 611, Jim Ruess 581, Dick Gabel 530, Jim Donaldson 496, Paul Gosche 489, Al Thomas 468, Jerry Coleman 461, John Ferstler 459, Jim Ferstler 442, Paul Fey 439 and Dave Everhart 420.

Wednesday Morning: Doug Chester 666, Ken Lofton 637, Tyson Shope 601, Dustin Fitch 598, John Tyree 589, Roger Kramer 589, Stephanie Lance 500, Dianne Smith 474 and Deb Phillips 441.

Lady Knights: Carol Burmeister 477, Marilyn Gangluff 437 and Deb Hoerig 410.

Alley Cats: Monica Musgrave 594, Crystal Butler 590, Justine Farris 580, Wendy Krupp 538, Heather Butler 511 and Lorrie Williams 506.

Imperial-Majorette-Sportsman: Aaron Kidwell 683, Benji Hoyda 681, Rich Yates Jr. 656, Jim Mason 652, Ben Hoyda 647, Shawn Fitch Jr. 643, Bill Fleming 641, Kyle Musa 630, Chris Johnson 607, Deb Nominee 518, Meg Pifer 458, Dodi Gaietto 428 and Miriam Fankhauser 415.

Al Stephenson is The A-T’s bowling columnist for The Advertiser-Tribune.

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