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Mr. Cope's Cave: Gowlin' Bowlin' 

So sometime last winter, we (the bowling team) were chatting (in between balls) about how the nationals are in Reno this year. That's the United States Bowling Congress Open National Tournament, for those of you who aren't hip to the competitive kegling scene. It is, as the title indicates, open to anyone—though I wouldn't recommend it to those who's idea of bowling is going out with a church youth group on a Saturday night and renting shoes in a joint where it's all black lights and disco music, and you're eating pizza with your hands while you bowl.

No. This event is for serious and semi-serious bowlers. League guys and gals. You go as a team, usually, and since it's a traveling tournament—one year it's in Reno, another year it's in Las Vegas, other years it's in Louisiana or Texas or New York State—you blow a lot of money not with high hopes of winning and being declared the champion bowlers in all of America, but to say you did it and have fun. The closest it ever gets to Meridian is Reno (the one in Nevada—not the other one), and this year that's where it's at.

So sometime last winter (during our regular long, longtime Wednesday league night) we were chatting about how the nationals are in Reno this year, and I said—without enough thought given to the ramifications of what I was saying—that I'd always wanted to go to the nationals before age and increasing incompetence convinced me it was time to give up bowling before I embarrassed myself any further.

Well, before I knew it, Mr. Look-What-I-Can-Do-With-My-iPhone (he's the lead-off bowler; nice guy, but at 40-something, the kid on the team) was signing us up. "When's a good weekend for you, Bill?" he said, and I answered, "Huh!? When's a good wazzit!?"

And that's how the Boise Weekly bowling team got signed up to go to Reno to bowl in the United States Bowling Congress Open National Tournament. Yes, the Boise Weekly bowling team. We have been the Boise Weekly team for 21 years, though I am the only team member (past or present) who has ever had anything to do with Boise Weekly. The fine Sally Freeman (publisher/owner of BW) continued to sponsor us 15 years ago when she bought the paper, after previous owners had done the same for the years before that. We have our own bowling shirts with the words "Boise" and "Weekly" printed on the back, one word stacked atop the other. Like this...

Boise
Weekly

Actually, we got new ones, not three weeks ago. Snazzy new shirts, bright red with a white stripe on the shoulders and the lettering in black and white. (It just hit me... "What's black and white and read [red] all over? "—like the old joke, get it? And now the answer can be either "a newspaper" or "the Boise Weekly bowling teams' shirts". Ha ha!)

Got the new shirts specially to go bowl the nationals, so we don't go down there to Reno looking like a bunch of bums. And we leave tomorrow. One day down, one day there and one day back. All of which means (in terms of this blog) I won't be around to get Monday's "Mr. Cope's Cave" done. So what I'm going to do is forward an album on to my editor to stick into Monday's slot. The whole album. Don't worry, it's a good one.

(For those of you who don't know what an album is, go to your grandparents' house and see if they don't have some black plastic discs tucked away somewhere, housed in skinny, skinny cardboard boxes covered with pictures of people like Frank Sinatra, The Beatles and dust. Then, ask your grandparents what these discs were used for, back once upon a time. I'd do it myself, but I've got a lot to get done before we leave for Reno tomorrow.)

The album I'm sending is Kind of Blue. Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley and one of the tastiest rhythm sections to ever circle around a recording mike. All of your jazz-fan friends will already know this album, believe me. It may well have been the particular item that turned them into jazz fans in the first place, it's that good. I recommend you listen to it all, maybe a couple of times. Maybe while you're preparing dinner or relaxing before you turn in for the night. Maybe even instead of watching the evening news. This album is everything that Donald Trump is not.

Now wish us luck. In Reno, I mean. And who knows?... you may be talking to one of the future champion bowlers in all of America.
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