For Christmas, I got my daughter a bowling ball. No coddling—the 14 pounder. It’s a gorgeous purple. It came in a box, so unlike Darren McGavin in A Christmas Story, she was really surprised as she unwrapped it.

She couldn’t wait, so the next day we were at the pro shop getting it drilled.  Forty dollars later, the correct parts of the ball were removed so that my left-hander no longer had to contort around a right-handed alley ball and wing it somehow down the lane.

Her first ball, she threw a strike.

I had considered getting her a double bowling bag and two bowling balls, since she discovered that she’s able to bowl right-handed, too. I thought of a scenario where she could pick up her spares right-handed. But since then, I had occasion to mention this to a pro bowler, who told me that in league play it isn’t permitted. You have to bowl with the same hand. Pro bowlers, she said, are allowed to change. Kind of hard to get to that point if you can’t league bowl ambidextrously, but I guess that’s the law of the lanes.

With a couple of games with her new ball under her belt, we decided to go back to our Sunday morning $5 all-you-can-bowl sessions as much as possible, only to find out that what we’d been calling Atheist Bowling had been discontinued. I guess a lot of our congregation had been sleeping in, and this is what happens. Way to go, brethren. I can’t afford $5 a game.

I found a New Year’s Day special for $2 games, with the threat on their website that their overall rates will go up on January 2. The cheaper bowling alley nearer to us has been out of business for almost a year. This affordable recreation is becoming expensive.

Will they be trying to lure us back when the weather gets nicer? Because I have bocce, and I’m not afraid to use it.