I love bowling, but when Heather asked me if I wanted to take Annie bowling I wasn’t the most enthusiastic guy in the world. “Take a two-year-old bowling?” I replied. “Do you have a death wish?” Heather was confident Annie could do it, though, so we soon headed off to meet our friends Tara and George and their kids for Annie’s first-ever day at the lanes!

Now don’t get me wrong… taking Annie bowling has been something I’ve looked forward to doing pretty much since the day she was born (yes, I am nerd), but I always pictured her being a lot older when it happened. That’s because, as a veteran of many afternoons of bowling, I’ve seen way too many kids Annie’s age lose it at the alley.

One thing that trips little ones up is the cacophony of noise, but when we walked through the door Annie didn’t seem affected by it in the least.  It helped that she was with Tara’s kids, Reilly and Georgie, because when she’s with them she always tries to act older than she is.

Georgie, Reilly, Annie

A few minutes later I had the pleasure of helping Annie put on a pair of adorably tiny bowling shoes. She didn’t know why she had to put them on, but she loved it. I’ll remind her of this when she’s fifteen and complaining about having to wear stinky bowling alley shoes.

Another problem little ones have is that they can’t throw the ball down the lane hard enough to reach the pins. I was hoping to avoid this problem by having Annie use one of those bowling ball ramps, but the alley only had one and a group of kids were already using it. That meant that Annie was going to have to muscle her ball all the way down the lane or risk forcing the teenager to come out from behind the counter to rescue her ball.

I was pretty nervous when it was Annie’s turn, so I tried to give her some pointers as she shuffled up to the line with her cute little shoes and seven pound ball.

help from daddy

She didn’t need much help, though. The kid really put her all into it!


Her ball rolled…

Annie wills the ball to the right

And rolled…

watching her ball

And, uh, rolled (keep going… don’t stop… you can make it)


…until it knocked ’em all down! (disclosure: by “all” I mean one or two.)

It’s funny… though Annie, Reilly, and Georgie got every ball all the way down the lane, the sometimes glacial rate at which their balls rolled meant that each turn took a fair amount time. Because of this the monitor suddenly flashed: “BOWLING FINISHED” when we were only in the seventh frame. Turns out Heather and Tara had decided to pay the hourly rate and not the per game rate.

So, yeah, we took an hour to bowl six and a half frames.

That’s okay, though. We had a great time, and it taught me an important lesson about parenting. Sometimes kids are ready to do stuff earlier than you think they are. Sure, sometimes they freak out as you worry they might, but most of the time they surprise you with what they can do, and if you wait until you think they’re ready you might miss out on a lot of moments like this:

love this