As most of Americans frantically scheduled fantasy football drafts and tried to determine if Tim Tebow’s biceps or Brady Quinn’s locks would get snaps with the first unit in Denver this weekend when training camps open, a group of men – who haven’t had Quinn’s locks since the 1980s and who biceps sag so much they look like well-toned triceps – let out a collective F&%^ and then returned to their double chili cheeseburger at the 11th Frame Bar & Grill.

Monday, July 25 was the marketing surge that never was, the hot girlfriend from tenth grade they let get away. Those bowlers were so close. The PBA would have blown up like Bud heavy sales at Daytona if Kasey Kahne was leading with 10 laps to go. If only the NFL and the NFL Players Association hadn’t decided that it was better to both eat the pie, get fat off the pie, and order more pie than to sit around staring at the pie and bickering over how to split the pie.

Imagine every Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. as Chris Berman signs off on NFL Countdown with a little tease of Pete Weber rolling a strike and then celebrating by aiming his crotch right into your living room, or Mika Koivuniemi rolling two balls down the lane toward a 7-10 split. (Would Chris Berman still go on for two hours each Sunday morning, complaining about Keyshawn Johnson’s ridiculously large knot in his tie during an NFL Lockout? Of course not. But I need you to play along for sarcastic blog purposes.)

Instead of switching over to CBS or FOX to watch NFL football (or suffer through the 1 p.m. local blackout that could be a 6-pack of Cheers reruns – pretty sweet – or Throw Momma From the Train – insert your own critique of Sly’s performance here), we would stay on ESPN, glued to every headpin and messenger pin. We would care more about the pick-up than 22-year-old guys at the Cubby Bear on a Friday night after the Cubs took the first game of a weekend series against the Cardinals.

With that marquee timeslot, competing only against tape-delayed BMX racing and infomercials on dustbusters with such power that they can physically pull the carpet from your floor, we each would have gotten consumed by the game of slick heavy balls. We would flock to bowling alleys for $1 draft beer specials and $18 nachos. We would run – just fast enough not to tug at the rolling bag of wrist protectors and borrowed socks that we pulled along – to get there early before the damn hooligans showed up for their cosmic bowling with the loud music and neon lights. We would all pause for the Cha Cha Slide and celebrate Billy at Lane 47’s eighth birthday in unison.

We would buy shortsleeve button-up shirts with our names stitched in cursive on the back. Button-up trumps jersey and cursive dominates the regular print that is found throughout NFL stadiums. An entire nation would embrace the philosophy of sharing shoes. Imagine a partisan debate on the debt ceiling where old white men are yelling at one another that “you’ve never walked a mile in my shoes.” Now imagine that conversation ending with one old white man actually handing the other old white man a pair of neon green, long-laced, no traction shoes to walk in for the rest of the day.

Bowling would have solved all our problems. Bowling’s only problem was the NFL solved its own.

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