Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Donnie, you're out of your element

I have been a busy bastard these last few days as our newspaper's preview coverage of the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games has kicked off. I leave for Puerto Rico next week for 12 days of sun, fun and ... more fun.

How do I make this simple for you? Basically, an athlete has to do well at the CAC Games in order to qualify for the Pan American Games. If they do well there, then the Olympics are next. Pretty basic stuff.

Unfortunately, the USVI athletes have not fared well at any of these sporty parties, which I'm quickly finding out as I make calls and drop in on our territory's finest athletes.

Now I have to be brief here but a funny thing happened when I drove over to the St. Thomas Bowling Center to talk with the USVI's national bowling team.

First of all, I didn't know we had a bowling alley on the island. It's only six lanes and open on the weekends but a score, none the less.

In between gripping questions like "What's your most inspirational moment inside a bowling alley?" and "How much do you bench?" I decided to throw the three local bowlers a curve ball question.

V.I. journalist: So I can only assume you guys have seen The Big Lebowski, what do you think of that movie?

Older female bowler: You talking about Kingpin?

VIJ: No, but that's another fantastic movie about bowling. Some believe it is also where I got my nickname but let's not go down that road.

Younger male bowler: I've heard about it but never seen it. Woody Harelson, right?

VIJ: No, again. Are you telling me that I have to lecture you guys, the best bowlers on the island, on the differences between these two legendary flicks?

Both the bowlers chuckled politely but they abruptly stopped when they saw the seriousness in my eyes.

You got to be kidding me? That's why the USVI has not won a single bowling medal at the CAC Games since 1966 (the year we started sending "athletes" there).

I asked both of the bowlers, and their coach, to screen the movie before their next practice. Then I asked them to call me so they can tell me how much it changed their lives.

The bowling preview ran in Tuesday's edition and I just checked...

No missed calls.

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